In September, on route to the Lake of Stars Music festival, we stayed at the absolute gem that is Mushroom Farm Eco Lodge. Here’s the review…
In Northern Malawi, at the top of a steep, narrow, winding track with 18 hair pin bends, down gravel-covered steps and past two slobbering black dogs is cliff side eco-lodge Mushroom Farm. I visited in September 2015, on the way from Nairobi to Malawi for a 2400km road trip to the Lake of Stars music festival. Couldn’t have been happier with my stay at this little haven on the hill!
We arrived at night time and were directed to our safari tents to drop our bags before dinner was served. There’s a number of options for where to sleep depending on your budget: from built chalets to the safari tents, camping spots and a dorm. We had very low expectations of our sleeping quarters – we were so exhausted from the 15 hour drive the day previously that we hadn’t had any time to build up hopes. We would just be glad to lay down our heads…
So you can imagine our delight when the safari tents were spacious, homely and private. Ours had a double bed (which was extremely comfy and adorned with a throw and some pretty cushions), bedside tables, lamps and a place to put your bag. Outside, we even had a little deck with two chairs and a table. Delightful! But the best part was waking up to the view right down to the gigantic Lake Malawi over the escarpment the next morning.
So the tents were great, but the main lodge area was even better! The owners (Maddy and Cameron – American, siblings) have created a really relaxed, welcoming space with hammocks overlooking the view, bunting hanging between trees, colourful hanging lanterns, fairy lights and comfy, patterned cushions adorning chunky wooden seats. There’s a bar for all day (and night) drinks and they have a little section selling handmade goods from jewellery to cushion covers.
And THE FOOD. The food is entirely vegetarian (apparently they do sometimes have meat, but it’s rare) and entirely delicious. On the breakfast menu was poached eggs on avocado toast, veggie full english, a giant hash brown with beans and eggs, tomato bruschetta and more as well as great coffee, fresh mint tea and a selection of fresh juices. All made with locally-sourced produce.
We lazed in the hammocks, read our books, ate until we could eat no more and played games around the chunky tables overlooking the incredible view. I also spent a fair bit of the morning stroking the dog, who was upside down on my sofa with his tongue sticking spilling of his mouth in delight. Much as we tried to stretch time itself sadly we had to pack up and leave again after just one measly night and get back on the road to make it to the festival in time. Couldn’t recommend this place more.
Details: Mushroom Farm is situated in Livingstone, Northern Malawi. 4×4 essential to make it up the escarpment to the lodge. Accommodation prices range from $40 for a double in the Cob House to $25 for a double safari tent and $5 to camp. Email or call in advance. http://www.themushroomfarmmalawi.com/.