This is a quick post about a Mbiya Pools day hike from the Lujeri Tea Estates. I provide details that include maps, costs, logistical requirements and facts as well as links to additional details, photos and videos. This is a self-guided adventure on a shoestring. Follow the links to dig deeper into the adventure.
The Lujeri Tea Estates are pretty enough to be the objective of a day walk, but the Mbiya Pools are close and lovely, so consider them a bonus.
The Mbiya Pools Day Hike
We set out from Blantyre (M3) late in the morning and stopped at the Art Cafe (just past the Likhibula turnoff) for a late morning breakfast and coffee. We then continued through Mulanje town, then Mini Mini and then turned off the main road at the Lujeri Tea Estates entrance (after the police check post). All GPS tracks and waypoints can be downloaded at the end of this post. Note that there is a second entrance to the estates near the Africa Wild Truck Lodge further along M3.
All the Lujeri Tea Estates roads are dirt, but mostly in good repair and usable by even my little 2WD Nissan March. It is a 7.5 km winding road (with unmarked turns) to reach the estate guard post. Simply smile and they let you in. No fees to enter the estate.
From the gate you need to drive an additional distance to reach Shed 3 where we parked. This spot is technically not a valid parking spot since the new hydro project began (2018-2019) but we asked the security guard if we could park and he agreed. There is an expected car watching fee paid to security guards (1000 Mk for overnight or 500 Mk for the day) in Malawi.
Total distance to Hut 3 from the main road (M3) is 12.41 km. Note that a new road from the Ndiza River crossing now leads past the pools and up the mountain. Pools are about 500 m from this new road. The new road parallels the new water pipes carrying water to the new hydro plant. So you can drive further than Hut 3 and park about 1 km before of the pools if you wish.
We opted to park at Hut 3 because we enjoy walking in the tea estate and were not in a hurry.
Mbiya Pools Day Hike from Hut 3
From Hut 3 we followed the dirt roads on foot to reach the Ndiza River bridge and new road, pipes and hydro station. After crossing the river bridge we continued to follow the old dirt road around a bend and then cut right on the new straight road (following the pipes) up the valley towards the mountains for about 3 km. Again, this is a new dirt road and was under construction in April 2019. There is a cleared spot about 2 km further that has an old man sitting on a stone with a notepad, presumably to watch vehicles.
The pipeline is exposed at two points (raised above the road to cross streams). Follow the path off the road to the right at the second raised pipe area. This is the crossing point for one of the old trails on the Mulanje maps. (see gps files below).
Leave the new road and follow the footpath through the sparse fields towards a clump of trees (about 200m). The trees mark the large pool built by the contractors from concrete pool adelaide below the cascades of the Ndiza River.
This is a lovely pick-nick and swimming area that is suggested in this page which is surrounded by high cliffs on three sides and the rich green tea estate open to the south.
The return route may be varied endlessly if you have the MCM Mulanje topo trekking map which shows the local official hiking trails. Plus all the cultivated fields have walking paths between them. These paths do make it confusing at times, but you can always see your destination in the valley below.
Need a Guide? Goster is my recommendation.
Download Mbiya_Pools_gps files here.
Checkout Mulanje Maps & Facts for more logistical details.
Visit Malawi Outdoors on a Shoestring for more adventures
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