Driving Directions to our Little Bit of Paradise...
One of the many great things about Zomba is its location. It is only an hour and a bit from Blantyre, 2 from Mulanje, 1 and a bit from Liwonde, 2 and a half from the southern lakeshore, and only 4 and something from Lilongwe so nowhere is very far... And what a great stop-off Zomba is! And we are just 30 min up the mountain :)
Here is how to get to us:
The following directions are from when you have reached Zomba:
From Blantyre, drive past the hospital on your right, and the prison on your left, past 1 Total filling station your left and 2 Total Filling stations on your right and until you reach a major junction to the left with Chipiku/District Council. Take the left turn here.
From Lilongwe/ Liwonde, drive past the turn off on left for Chancellor College and past Standard Bank and National Bank also on your left, and First Capital Bank on your right. Just after First Capital Bank, take the right turn at the Chipiku/District Council junction.
From here, follow the signs for Sunbird KuChawe up to a Forestry Department barrier/road block, which is about 5km up the road. Pay attention as the boom gate is most often up and therefore easy to miss. The boom gate is flanked by a brick and wood shack on the left and 2 beat-up metal drums, so in case you miss the boom gate, you might see the metal drums! Just after it there are some fruit and veg stalls on the left. And if in doubt here, ask for "Mr Tom's house" (not for Mrs Petal's!)
Just after the barrier, go straight on, not right, or left. The tar road here gets worse and in places is very bad so please drive slowly (we fill as many potholes as possible...but trucks destroy it all the time!!)
The road continues to twist and turn for 1.5km; there is a cement sign-post for ‘SJ Carr’: DON’T FOLLOW IT!
Continue around the next bend and you will come to a collection of terraced brick houses on your left. The road here bends to the right and our turn off is just after it on the left hand side. The dirt road is on the left, just after a dliappidated brick house. There is a ZFL sign (Zomba Forest Lodge) on the only tree stump still standing indicating the turn to the left. Take this dirt/gravel track, which starts off running parallel to the tar.
Again, please pay attention: the dirt road starts before the sign post and the sign post is about 20m along that dirt track.
(DO NOT CONTINUE ON THE TAR – the tar road looks deceptively good but it runs out and you won’t be able to turn around - We tried putting a ‘Danger NO CARS’ sign up to avoid people taking this road …but it has been defaced and vandalised!)
Once on the track, follow the road as it bends sharply around to the left. Continue on this road for roughly 3.5km. It feels a lot longer as you can’t go very fast but bear with it - Again, it twists and turns a lot so please go slowly. When you reach an old wooden fence, you are practically there. After 400m or so, you will see the entrance.
PRINT DIRECTIONS: Here
BE CAREFUL: Please be sure to reach us before dark as our road is quite tricky at night.
A little note: Please take the dirt track slowly as it is bumpy and sometimes a little slippery when it has rained. During all seasons saloon cars can, and do, make it up here. Ground clearance is more important than 4 wheel drive.
In the rainy season, we clear channels all the way along the road so that the track never floods and cars are able to pass easily ; however, if you are driving up in a heavy rain storm, we recommend that you stop and wait for the rain to abate :)
If you have a GPS:
Don't blindly trust it!! It thinks it knows better than us humans, and sometimes it does but in this case it does not. It may take you in unwanted directions but you will get there in the end. Having said that, if you want an idea of where we are, our co-ordinates are the following:
If you are using a GPS, make sure that the directions it gives you correspond to those we have given above. There is no real alternative to reaching us so if the GPS shows a different route, please ignore it and use our directions.
Google Maps: DON'T USE IT! Google for some reason does not know the right way up the mountain so please disregard their directions and take the advice of people who really know (Us) :)
Maps.Me: This does work and the directions are accurate.
If you are adventurous, then the Google directions will reach us ... but it is VERY bumpy and not for the faint hearted - we advise not to and to follow our directions instead.
If you haven’t got your own car: Don’t worry, where there is a will, there is a way!
There are minibuses and buses running to Zomba from both Blantyre and Lilongwe but be aware that minibuses especially, tend to leave when they are full. Also, if you chose the minibus option, it may take you considerably longer as they are constantly stopping and dropping off /picking up people.
Buses are more reliable generally and if you are lucky, you may even have a seat to yourself!!
Once in Zomba, taxis will take you up here for between $15 and $20 one way (not per person). They sometimes know us as Kachere House as this was the original name of the house so ask for Zomba Forest Lodge and if they look blank, try asking for Kachere House - Do specify that it is on the mountain :)
The Map below shows the tricky bits (in case our directions are not clear enough)
- After the barrier, take the Old Up Road - The Down Road goes up to Ku Chawe
- Follow the Old up road until the ZFL turn off - take the turn off, then follow the dirt track until you reach us :)