We stayed three nights and loved the place. We were lucky enough to stay in the Chapel, but were reliably informed that all rooms are good.
I am a long-established drinker of Malawian premium teas, especially the white teas, through Nothing But Tea. Still, I didn't realise when we booked here that we were staying at the very tea estate that produces the tea I have been drinking for years; Satemwa. If you are unable to visit the estate, I strongly recommend that you at least buy and try some of the Satemwa premium tea.
The walks around the gardens and the estate are magnificent. We also enjoyed the tea tasting (naturally). The coffee here (Satemwa also produce some of that) is also very good. Huntingdon is a great place from which to explore Mulanje mountain - we enjoyed a very special day exploring town and mountain. Real trekkers can spend a few days up the mountain.
The staff are delightful, stewarded by the slightly eccentric but delightful Anette, a former trans-African biker-chick (I kid you not), now married into the estate's Kay family, although husband Alex hid away at the tea factory. Indeed, eccentricity is part of the deal here and you are likely to meet the family patriarch, Chip, who is a cross between unreconstructed colonial relic and enlightened self-interest guru. This tea estate was the first in Africa to achieve Fairtrade certification and with good reason when you learn of all their community programmes and good employment practices.
The food at Huntingdon was mostly excellent and always very good.
Overall, lasting impression is of a truly rare and beautiful place, managed with care and love - a delightful few days which we recommend highly.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Arguably the most scenically beautiful region of Malawi, The Thyolo district forms the heart of Malawi's tea producing region with rolling hills of immaculately cultivated, emerald green plantations and some of the oldest estates in the country. With magnificent views of Mount Mulanje and the Lower Shire valley to the west, Satemwa enjoys a temperate climate of the Shire Highlands and relaxed ambiance of a by-gone era. Visitors to this corner of Malawi cannot but help to be caught up in the colonial magic of the area and diverse scenery which ranges from tropical evergreen forests to riverine thickets and rolling hills. Huntingdon House was built in the 1920's and the estate has been in the Cathcart Kay family for generations with members of the family still running the tea and coffee production of the estate. The grand old colonial style house has been tastefully restored as a joint venture between the Satemwa Tea Estate and the Ulendo Travel Group. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Huntingdon House Malawi/Thyolo