Join Chef Mary and Pastry Chef Jordan on a Cooking Safari!
Come along with Chef Mary and Chef Jordan on an African Cooking Safari with Orbis Expeditions who has hands on experience in Malawi! You can tag along for 10 days (see details below) on this adventure, sign up today!
Trip cost is $4500. This cost includes all meals, accommodation, national park fees, drivers, guides, vehicles. It does NOT include international airfare, beverages, laundry service, and tipping.
No sleeping on the ground on this trip. Everyone will have hot and cold running water, flush toilets, showers, and intermittent electricity. Weather should be pleasant, temperate, even cool at night. Also, many people speak English, as Malawi was once a British Colony. Note that use of the word “camp” in the itinerary is not camping as Americans know it.
Arrive at Chileka International Airport, in Blantyre, Malawi (BLZ Airport Code). After a 1.5 hour drive to Game Haven, everyone will have the remainder of the day to relax after the flights. This family owned property has eland, zebras, giraffe, and other animals roaming freely. Accommodations are safe, clean, and have character. This is a fun place and the first three nights are here. There are plenty of activities available if you prefer to opt out of the official itinerary and hang out at the lodge instead. On-site activities include: mountain biking, birding, wildlife viewing, and guided walks.
Game Haven: https://www.gamehavenmw.com/gallery/
After breakfast, the group will visit a traditional outdoor market for an immersive and interactive cooking-themed challenge. Guests will divide into smaller groups, each with a guide and local currency, the Malawi Kwacha. Their assignment: to walk the market, observe what’s available, then create an American recipe and buy 100% of the ingredients in the market. No supplementing from back home or grocery stores. Before the market challenge begins, you’ll also inform them that on day #3, they’ll use the ingredients they purchase to teach the kids at Jacaranda whatever American recipes they whip up. In Malawi, grocery stores are for the elite, whereas most of the country shops at markets like the one you’ll experience. Through only using outdoor market-based ingredients, the students will be able to replicate the recipes later for their friends.
After the outdoor market experience, your group will head to Satemwa Tea Estate (a family owned farm), for a delicious lunch of farm fresh food —surrounded by 2,000 acres of tea. After lunch, you’ll receive a full sensory experience in the tea fields and cupping room to taste various teas and learn how they are made. The property is perhaps the most exclusive in the country and their tea is in Michelin starred restaurants in the U.K.
A full day visit to Jacaranda Foundation. The foundation and Marie da Silva has accomplished spectacular things for Malawi’s orphans and vulnerable children. You’ll visit her school and receive an introduction to their programming. Most programs of this nature are overwhelmingly vocational. Not Jacaranda. They teach art, music, community building—along with skills trainings.
You’ll receive a tour of the school, which is a VIP treat. Here, you will do two culinary activities. First, the students will teach you how to prepare a number of traditional Malawian recipes. Most tourists in Malawi are immersed in British/European food. When the children at Jacaranda see how excited you are to learn about their indigenous traditions, they’ll be very excited! Definitely a reassurance that their culinary heritage is worth something. It will be a new experience when they hear that Americans have crossed the earth to learn from them—boosting their pride of local accessible food.
Part two is your guests turn to shine — they’ll teach the students how to make American recipes from the food which was purchased in the market. There will be a kitchen— no campfires or anything along those lines.
Jacaranda Foundation: http://www.jacarandafoundation.org
Midmorning, you’ll head north, up the escarpment, past Blantyre, the Zomba Plateau, and 6,800’ Mount Malosa. When you reach Liwonde National Park, you’ll enter the main gate and observe wildlife in forested woodlands and wide open savanna-like plains before reaching Mvuu Camp.
There is a wealth of wildlife to be seen in Liwonde, and sightings here feel very genuine, wild and pristine. Dominated by the sluggish Shire River and its lush fringing vegetation, this national park evokes every romantic notion of wild Africa, especially at night, when the air resonates with the uninhibited chirruping of frogs and grunting of hippos. It offers the best wildlife viewing and birdwatching in Malawi, and its aesthetic merits – this is the quintessential African river scene – elevate it close to being one of Africa’s truly great game reserves.
Liwonde is also home to Malawi’s largest elephant, black rhino, cheetah and herbivore populations. Your itinerary each day will vary—depending on the movement of wildlife in the park—but two daily activities are included. This includes a boat safari, and late-afternoon/evening game drive.
Cooking fun at Mvuu Camp will include bread baking and another activity. Mvuu is perfectly sited alongside the Shire River and is family owned. The camp lies in an immense group of baobab trees, facing a dense reed bed on the opposite side of the river. Borassus palm forests and fever trees rise above the greenery.
Not much has changed since Dr. David Livingstone camped here 160 years ago. Local wildlife including birds, vervet monkeys, and warthogs mingle throughout the safari during the day and nocturnal hippo venture onto the grounds at night to graze on the grass. An impressive thatched dining room and bar offer spectacular views over the river.
Mvuu Camp (not camping!): https://cawsmw.com/mvuu-camp
After four nights at Mvuu Camp, you’ll head south to the old colonial capital of Zomba. A paved road zigzags through the hills and up to the top. Your home the next two nights is Ku Chawe Inn. Situated on the rim of the forested Zomba Plateau, surrounded by a gorgeous landscape and terraced gardens, your room will have panoramic views. While gazing at the distant horizon from top of the plateau, Queen Elizabeth said, “It offers the best view in the whole of the British Empire.”
We can set up an afternoon hike with a guide or guests can relax. The plateau is a unique environment and typically not what people expect. It will be chilly w/ humidity, Galveston style.
Ku Chawe Inn: https://www.sunbirdmalawi.com/hotels/sunbird-ku-chawe
On this last full day in Malawi, Jordan Downbush, a Canadian Missionary whose lived in Malawi over twenty years, will be your guide to cast iron cooking. This activity will occur in a forest reserve, so no big cats or elephants to think about while tending the fire! Jordan is going to develop a few cast iron cooking recipes to teach the group.