Thyolo is situated about halfway between Blantyre and Mulanje. It is Malawi’s capital of tea, with a climate that provides the ideal growing conditions for it. The first trees were imported from India in the early 1900s, during the days of the colonial rule, and since then, tea has become one of the most important industries in Malawi. There are a number of famous tea growing estates in the area, and some of them are open to the public. Furthermore, the lush green rolling hills see to it that you are in constant awe when driving through what is surely one of the most scenic areas of Malawi.
Where to Stay
We have listed some accommodation places in this area. If these don't suit you, we are more than happy to create your custom tour with your priorities.
The Thyolo House is steeped in history. Once upon a time, it was a farmhouse that was part of the adjoining Conforzi Tea and Tobacco Estates. The original house was built in the first part of the last century. It was expanded and renovated but retains the charm only old buildings can have. Its heritage and culture were carefully maintained and its character is reminiscent of the old farmhouse. Here you will find the ideal place to relax, enjoy your surroundings and let the stress disappear.
With luscious tea gardens on one side and an indigenous forest on the other, the house is approximately 20 minutes from Limbe and very close to the main road. The accommodation is of a high standard, and all rooms have en-suite bathrooms. There are three large suites in the main house and a cottage by the swimming pool, with self-catering, half board, and full board options.
In a separate wing you will find a small restaurant/café with healthy and delicious food. Many ingredients are picked from the chemical-free garden, while the excellent coffee and tea stem from the neighbouring estates.
Thyolo House is a tranquil haven away from the buzz of the city, with easy access to Mount Mulanje and the surrounding tea estates.
Chawani Bungalow offers an informal and family-friendly retreat with an idyllic setting. It’s the perfect base to discover the magical surroundings and history of Satemwa Tea Estate.
Sited on the slopes of Thyolo Mountain, this historic tea planters' bungalow is surrounded by protected subtropical rainforests that are home to a variety of endemic species of birds, making the property an ideal choice for birding enthusiasts.
The house has four bedrooms and sleeps 10 people. Bedroom 1 has a double bed, two single beds, and an ensuite bathroom with a shower and bath. Bedrooms 2 and 4 each have one double bed, while bedroom 3 has two single beds. There are two other bathrooms in the house.
While the house is self-catered, Chawani guests are welcome to spoil themselves and book a meal at Huntingdon House, or relax and allow the staff to assist them in the preparation of their meals.
With its beautiful manicured gardens and panoramic views, Chawani was sensitively maintained to retain the rustic character and charm that have made this property enormously popular with visitors to the highlands for decades. There is also a small swimming pool in the garden.
Chawani Bungalow is located about 3 km from Huntingdon House on a dirt road. A high clearance vehicle is recommended, and there might be a need for a 4WD in the rainy season.
Game Haven Lodge
Game Haven Lodge is located at Chimwenya Private Game Park, Bvumbwe on Thyolo road, 25 km from Blantyre. The family-owned lodge is beautifully designed and built with golden-coloured rocks found on the estate. You will find that it is a fascinating paradise for leisure activities.
Established in 2006, it was the realisation of a dream that started in the 1980s: To create a unique retreat that would combine tourism and wildlife conservation while supporting the surrounding communities in Bvumbwe.
A beautiful golf course features stunning views of the natural landscape. Chimwenya Private Game Park hosts different species of animals and is filled with exciting activities for all ages.
The lodge has a variety of 25 rooms and 3 self-catering guest houses. It tailors to your needs: whether you are looking for a family room, self-catering or spacious and luxurious cottages, you will find it there. All rooms include a parking bay.
Enjoy a delicious made to order breakfast at the Ambrosia Restaurant when you stay in any of the rooms. Room service is available, so you can relax on your veranda during your meal.
Located just 14km from Blantyre on a naturally diverse and beautiful plot, Ecolodgy's executive villas and group accommodation are available for tourism, meetings, and trainings. Immersed in greenery and bordered by a permaculture farm, the space allows you to take a step away from mainstream hospitality and into nature.
Relax amongst crafted and recycled furnishings and on high-quality beds, surrounded by local artwork. Enjoy a shower with natural soaps and geyser-generated water in the earth-constructed villas. The personalised service includes organic farm-to-table menus and a well-stocked bar.
All buildings are nestled into the permaculture gardens with adolescent fruit trees, decorative plants, berry bushes, vines, and wildflowers. Explore the farm or relax in the hammock with a good book from the book exchange. Take a rejuvenating walk and enjoy a beautiful mountain sunset at the end of the day on the sun deck.
Each of the beautiful stone cottages offers two ensuite double-bed rooms with a common living area and a small khonde. The shared kitchenette includes tea and snacking amenities like a fridge, kettle, toaster, and a wash-up sink as well as a set of cutleries and crockery.
The two cosy “living-room-style” dormitories (one for males, one for females) are equipped with comfortable single and bunk beds (4-6 beds per room), a sofa set, and individual shelf space. They have spacious ensuite bathrooms, featuring three showers, two toilets and sinks.
Activities in the Area
Tea Tasting: A must for tea enthusiasts and occasional tea drinkers alike. Head to Huntingdon House on the Satemwa Tea Estate, where your guide will explain the full process from planting to harvesting and production while titillating your taste buds with various teas. Alternatively, you can enjoy a high tea ceremony with fresh scones, cakes, biscuits, sandwiches, and a selection of Satemwa teas.
Coffee Tours: Though Satemwa is primarily a tea-growing estate, they have also grown coffee since the 70s. As part of their ongoing program to make the estate more accessible to visitors, they offer an in-season guided walk through the coffee fields which are wild, open and set in spectacular scenery. The tour highlights all the activities going on at that particular time. The main harvesting season for coffee is between May and late August.
Michiru Mountain is the closest nature reserve to Thyolo and a habitat for wild animals, such as the African python, hyenas, wild dogs, antelopes, monkeys, and different species of birds. There are several hiking routes, the most popular being the ‘Way of the Cross‘. It depicts the events of Jesus’ journey to Golgotha, but you don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy the route. The 3-hour hike to the top will reward you with a beautiful view of Blantyre, as well as pine tree plantations and indigenous trees.
With hundreds of miles of dirt roads, paths and tracks, Satemwa is a fantastic and diverse place to explore on foot. Take a leisurely stroll to one of the streams, meander through the coffee fields or take a hike up to the rock and be awarded with amazing views over the end of the rift valley.
Mountain Biking: You can also explore Satemwa’s dirt roads by bike. Be prepared for lots of uphills and exciting downhills. A selection of mountain bikes is available if you don't have your own.
Game drives: Experience a guided tour at the Chimwenya Private Game Park and get up close and personal with the wildlife.
You can also head out on your own vehicle – the perfect choice for families wishing to go at their own pace.
Guided wildlife walks: Let one of the experienced rangers at Chiwenya Private Game Park guide you through the perfect animal bonding opportunity and explore the forest on foot.
Lake Bvumbwe: Right by the water’s edge of Lake Bvumbwe, there is a gorgeous lounge bar. You can do some fishing or have a braai. Bring your own meat or get some at the bar.
Best Time to Visit
The best months for good weather in Thyolo are from April to November. However, June, July and August are the winter months and it can get a bit cold and rainy. On average, the warmest months are from September to December. January is the rainiest month.