Ku Chawe

Sandy and his coffee

It has been raining for three straight weeks.  Not just a brief shower in the afternoons, but seriously raining for hours and hours every day.  The roads have huge potholes, the ground, which usually dries out quickly, is soggy, the rocks are slippery, our clothes on the line won’t dry, and everything has that damp, musty smell. 

Rain Clouds

Despite the weather, Sandy planned for us to go to Ku Chawe in Zomba to celebrate my birthday.  Zomba was the capital of Malawi, or Nyasaland, until the 1970’s.  It’s tucked up in the mountains and has some of the finest examples of colonial architecture in all of former British East Africa.  It is also home to Zomba plateau, which rises over 1500 meters. 

We slowly wound our way up the mountain on our way to Ku Chawe, which is perched right on the edge of the plateau escarpment.  We were so thankful to have our Rav-4, as the rain pummeled the windshield.  There were few if any guard rails to protect us as we took hairpin turns, weaving our way upwards.  We couldn’t see anything except for trees around us.  No vista views as we climbed higher into the clouds.

Up the Mountain

After what seems like an hour of driving up the steep, narrow, winding road, Ku Chawe’s welcoming brick facade finally came into view.  We ran into the warm, cozy hotel, ducking large raindrops.  Sandy showed me around, as he’d been there before.  We saw the bar with its large windows overlooking the gardens, and a large brick fireplace that was blazing.  We then wandered into the main dining room where they had set up a beautiful buffet lunch.   We each had five amazing courses – salad and soup, fish, curry, chicken and lamb from bar-b-q, and dessert.  I had two servings of dessert, actually.  We sat inside because of the rain and watched the clouds and mist roll across one of the peaks.

Ku Chawe

Ku Chawe Dining Room

By the time we poured our coffee the clouds had cleared and we went outside to enjoy the amazing view.  We could see all the way to Mount Mulanje, about 150 Kilometers away. We also noticed huge rain storms moving across the fields in the distance.  It is a very magical place – you feel like you’re in another world, enjoying your dessert and coffee thousands of feet above the valley.

Rain Storm

View of the valley

The gardens

Sandy relaxing in the bar


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7 responses to “Ku Chawe

  1. Susan Carter

    You ARE in another world and it is so fabulous! I feel like I have been to Ku Chawe with you two. Was the currry sweet or hot?


  2. Meliss

    “I had two servings of dessert, actually.”

    That’s my girl 🙂

  3. Arline Riley

    Happy Birthday, Kate! What a great way to celebrate.

  4. Barb

    Despite the harrowing drive, it looked like a beautiful setting for your birthday celebration!! You will surely have to go back sometime – how long does this rainy season last????? You both look happy.

  5. Darla Wier

    I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed being able to share your journey. Thank you for the beautiful pictures and the descriptive narrative. What an exciting adventure! I look forward to hearing more.


  6. Hey! This trip sounds so fun – what a fancy looking place. And the rain storm picture is amazing. Love y’all!

  7. ty dahl

    My computer is finally working and this is fabulous — exciting narrative and glorious photos!! I am so glad that I gave you that camera and that you researched it so well. I love the beard! Please send more — so many of us are living your adventure vicariously. I love you both so very much !!

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