Exploring Tourism in Malawi
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Satemwa Tea Estate

Satemwa Tea Estate, Malawi

In south Malawi, between Blantyre and Mount Mulanje are the Thyolo (pronounced “Cho’lo”) tea estates. Tea has been grown here since 1908 and the primly trimmed bushes (strictly, trees) give the whole area the appearance of a neatly kept but vast garden. Scenically beautiful, the estates are overlooked by the impressive Mount Mulanje to the east and itself overlooks the Lower Shire Valley which descends to the west.

The Satemwa Tea Estate is probably the most popular to visit, with an intriguing history dating back a century. Run by the Cathcart-Kay family, the land was first purchased in the 1920’s by Scot Maclean Kay from a tobacco farmer. Scot’s son Robert, who is known as ‘Chip’ soon took over the estate and developed into what it is today. Now in his 90’s, Chip is still around and a very entertaining storyteller. The estate has now developed an industrial output of Fair Trade tea on an international scale, providing tea across the world.

As well as plenty of opportunities for walks and hikes around the scenic estate, Satemwa offer tea tasting sessions where guests can visit the factory to learn how the tea is grown, dried and prepared ready to sip, followed by a wonderful display of a variety teas and pleasing aromas.

The Thyolo Tea Estates don’t stop at Satemwa. There are a number of other estates that produce tea for all over the world. The Thyolo Forest Reserve also offers a haven for walkers and birdwatchers and offers a fantastic terrain for those wishing to pedal around on bicycles.

Accommodation is available within the Satemwa Tea Estate Hantingdon House originally the colonial family home of the Maclean Kay family, built in 1928. Alternatively, their self-catering option of Chawani Bangalow is also on site. Also close by, between the tea estates and Blantyre, is the Chimwenya Game Park a private wildlife reserve teeming with wildlife and also home to a beautiful golf course and the impressive Game Haven Lodge.

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