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Chitimba Campsite, Northern Malawi

by Steven L McCuaig

In the northern highlands of Malawi known as the “warm heart of Africa”, lies a haven for backpackers, overlanders and adventurers of all kinds. Nestled just off the climbing and winding M1, hides a campsite that unites travelers, locals and the soothing Lake Malawi in one place: Chitimba Campsite.

Upon arrival, visitors are greeted with a sanctuary of sun, sand, and multiculturalism that can lift spirits after traveling for days over the tumultuous roads and bush of Eastern Africa. Owned and operated by an English ex-patriot who, upon visiting the area years ago, could not tear herself away from the sandy shores of Lake Malawi. From the misty mornings to the picturesque sunsets, she established the campsite to share this visceral experience with the weary travelers who pass through.

During the days, the beach is the main attraction for both residents and visitors. Mountain lush green pressing upon the velvety-smooth beach make the perfect backdrop for anything from Frisbee in the water, beach cricket on land or just sitting back and devouring mangos provided for a small fee by local children. Away from the action, hidden in the crevices of the scenery are quiet areas great for reading, personal time or just a long-needed nap.

The hub of Chitimba at night is situated at the bar/restaurant, where travelers can intermingle with other trekkers to share stories, beers and scars over games of pool on an extremely warped “masi-maara” pool table. The bar itself, forged mostly of old wood and lit dimly from an old generator, encourages both the intimacy to share a quiet drink in the corner or an outlandish party where clothing may become optional, if a wild group of overlanders happen to be passing through.

Chitimba campsite offers brilliant camping accommodation and hospitality, but more importantly it will provide both the vigorous and exhausted voyager with magnificent scenery, stories and drink to relax and recharge oneself before journeying back out for their next African adventure.

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