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10 Things to Do Near Livingstonia, Malawi

In this Malawi travel guide, we will go over everything to do near Livingstonia, a funny little town in north Malawi with a very interesting history!


About Livingstonia

Livingstonia is a town perched high in the hills overlooking Lake Malawi and was 'established' by missionaries from the Free Church of Scotland back in 1894.

The story goes that they tried several times to establish missions down on the shore of the lake, but kept losing people to malaria until they finally moved up the escarpment to higher, less mozzie-ridden ground.

It's named after David Livingstone, a Scottish explorer who traversed Africa for 3 decades, beginning his career as a missionary but later using his influence to bring an end to the East African slave trade out of Zanzibar.

"Dr Livingstone, I presume?" Yes, that guy.

We ended up in Livingstonia as we were staying at the magical eco-lodge: Mushroom Farm. We absolutely loved our time here, and this list is everything we got up to in the area.

Vervet and her baby
Hold on to your snacks when these guys are around!


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10 Things to Do Near Livingstonia, Malawi

1. Hike the Nyika Plateau

Hiking the Nyika Plateau is one of the best things to do near Livingstonia. This is a 3-day trek that you can start from Mushroom Farm Eco-lodge - where you can arrange a porter and a guide and begin your amazing adventure through the coffee plantations into the national park.

Walk by day and sleep by starlight, this is a truly unforgettable hike. The 3-day trek finishes with a stay at Chelinda Camp - before you make your way back by 4x4 (or hike in reverse!)

The Nyika National Park is shared by both Malawi and Zambia and while there are many hiking trails, the Livingstonia to Chelinda trek is the most popular.

For hiking, I always wear my Hoka Goatspeed - I love them! They are great for uneven trails and are super lightweight.

The beginning of the Nyika Plateau Trek Livingstonia Malawi
The beginning of the Nyika Plateau Trek


2. Visit the Yewo Collective workshop

The Yewo Collective is an ethical craft and jewellery workshop and community project. You can buy their beautiful products across the globe, but this little workshop near Livingstonia is where it all began.

No appointment is needed to visit the workshop - the staff at the Yewo Collective will happily show you around the site and explain how they design and make their products, and you'll have an opportunity to shop afterwards!

This is a wonderful project aimed at upskilling members of the community and the jewellery is stunning.

The Yewo Collective Workshop Livingstonia Malawi
The Yewo Collective Workshop


3. Indulge in a Massage

The Mushroom Farm has trained some local ladies in the art of massage, and much like the Yewo Collective's mission, this is to upskill and bring a sustainable income to people from the nearby villages.

The massages are decent and you can book your slot the day before, by signing up on the Mushroom Farm's activity board. A one-hour full-body massage is less than $10!


4. Swim at Manchewe Waterfalls

Manchewe Falls is the highest waterfall in Malawi! It is within walking distance of both Mushroom Farm and Livingstonia town, and whilst you don't need a guide, you may need to ask some local kids to show you the way.

Once you reach near to the falls, somebody will run out of a hut and ask you to pay 500 Kwacha and sign a visitor's book, and this is all legit.

The walk to the falls is lovely and there are some safe spaces for swimming too! It's more than 1000m high and is surrounded by lush rainforest. Something interesting we learnt about Manchewe Falls is that back in the day, local villagers hid from slave traders in the caves behind the cascade.

We visited Manchewe Falls more than once as it was one of our favourite things to do near Livingstonia.

For any water-based activities I normally always wear these water shoes - they are not the fanciest but they have a good grip for climbing slippery rocks.

Manchewe Falls
Manchewe Falls


5. Visit Livingstonia Museum

Livingstonia Museum is known as the Stone House Museum and tells the story of the first European missionaries that came to Malawi, back then known as Nyasaland.

The entrance to the museum is 1000 kwacha, and it is open every day from 9 - 4:30pm. If you pick up a guide (many people will offer) - make sure to ask them about the white rocks outside the museum! It's a cool story, thank me later.


Not sure what to pack for your trip to Malawi? Check out my article:


6. Hike to Chombe Plateau

The hike to the Chombe Plateau can begin at The Mushroom Farm or the Manchewe Falls entrance, and it's a 6-hour round trip (with little shade).

It's a moderately challenging hike that weaves through small villages before an easy climb to the top - and on a clear day, you can see both Tanzania and Mozambique from the summit.

Bring a packed lunch and enjoy the view!


7. Tour a local coffee plantation

We toured a local coffee plantation with a guide arranged through Mushroom Farm called Josh. He was fantastic, funny, and knowledgeable and really created a great day for us - this tour was one of our favourite things we did near Livingstonia.

The hike from Mushroom Farm to the coffee farm was 1 hour, where we were shown the coffee fields and the processing station. We then made our own coffee (it was rustic) and were served lunch in the field.

We paid about £15 per person all in - it was totally worth it.

Two boys hand grinding coffee Livingstonia Malawi
Josh and Joe grinding our freshly roasted coffee


8. Learn about permaculture in the veggie gardens of Mushroom farm

The Mushroom Farm host a permaculture course once per year, and we were very lucky that in 2023 it coincided with our visit to Malawi.

Not only that, but because it was aimed at Malawians, being broke backpackers we were able to afford it. It was £225 per person for 7 days, all accommodation, meals, lessons and materials included.

The permaculture course was the best thing I did in Livingstonia, Malawi, and maybe even Africa! Paul, Katlyn and Sutulani were so knowledgeable and we really got a lot of hands-on experience. The food at Mushroom Farm is amazing too so that was an added bonus!

I Dream of Mangoes with permaculture students group Livingstonia Malawi
Our freshly graduated permaculture class!


9. Watch (or join) a local football game

Locals are really into their football and are more than happy to welcome tourists to play in their weekly friendlies.

When we were in Malawi (October 2023) the games were on Sundays at 2:30pm - but it's worth double-checking these timings when you arrive.


10. Catch some live music

Livingstonia's local band The Waterfalls often performs at The Mushroom Farm, where you may also find the occasional open-mic night!

Jacaranda trees in Livingstonia Malawi
One of the many beautiful Jacaranda trees in Livingstonia


We spent 2 weeks staying at The Mushroom Farm in Livingstonia, and we had plenty of things to do for that entire time. Malawi is an amazing place, and a completely underrated travel destination if you ask me.

Thank you for reading about 10 things to do around Livingstonia, North Malawi. If you enjoyed the read, please consider subscribing to my blog where I post articles once every 1-2 weeks about my current travels around the world.

For more information on travelling to Malawi, check out my article: A Backpacker's Guide to North Malawi.

For more Africa inspiration, see my post: Taking the TAZARA train across Tanzania.

Happy Travels




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