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TIKONDANE Visitors' Information


Whether you are considering a trip to Africa or are just an armchair dreamer who has heard about the lure of Africa and/or are concerned with poor people getting poorer all the time - TIKONDANE COMMUNITY CENTRE is the place for you.

TIKONDANE GUEST HOUSE, which is meant as a lifeline for the TIKONDANE EDUCATION CENTRE, is most happy to welcome international visitors. Presently we can accommodate 24 people in singles, doubles, with and without ensuite, and one triple room. If you would like African accommodation in a mud house, it is there waiting for you.

Adults are being trained on the job in the guesthouse, the restaurant, the gardens, orchard and fields, in husbandry and food preservation. There is weaving and knitting and carpentry. One day there will be workshops, but so far there are people working on the lawn, doing tin-smithing and soap-making and any other skill for which there is a skilled worker. For any of those, there is an apprentice. They also go to school in the afternoon, whether learning to write their name or study up to the national grade 9 exams.

In the mornings, there are classes for the 140 children of our community school, age 9 - 18. They pay nothing and get food in the hungry times as well as jerseys in the cold season. As well, teachers go to the 36 villages in our catchment area, and projects from various donors are ongoing. Through us, some 4 villages will be receiving wells, and health education, starting with the advantages of clean water, are part of all activities, including HIV/AIDS programs.

All of these activities cost money, and in 5 years we want to be independent for most of them. For the moment however, we do need your help, and one way of helping is visiting as a tourist, 5 star variety or backpacker - we are ready. One way, of course, is to help us financially, and ways of doing it are listed below. Another is to stay as a volunteer and help with whatever skills you can contribute. If nothing else you can just chat with our staff, who all know some English and love to communicate and share and laugh!

Itineraries and Tours

* An introduction to the work of Tikondane which teaches many skills, including literacy, numeracy, karate, carpentry, arts and crafts, health and nutrition, agriculture and husbandry.
* A visit to the pioneering St Francis Hospital, to learn what is being done to overcome the health problems of Africa.
* Walks to take in the spectacular surrounding scenery or areas of special interest to you.
* A walk to the township centre (3 km) and to the bank (another 6 km!) on very African roads, but with burgeoning cafeterias.
* An evening walk to a Chichewa village to watch dancing, including the men's "Great Dance" of the village spirits to powerful drum music. You will also enjoy a delicious meal with fresh local fish.
* A personal invitation to the palace of the local chief, to learn of the important role tribal life plays in Africa.
* Visit the Cathedral at Msoro, the Anglican "Cathedral in the Middle of Nowhere", where the first missionaries went from Malawi.
* A three-day excursion to the SOUTH LUANGWA game park, a jewel of Africa, African style: on the back of a truck, with a number of our people who have never seen an elephant or a hippo in their life!!! Their happiness is just so infectious! In this unspoiled paradise you can meet not only elephants and hippos, but also giraffes, lions, buffalo and perhaps even a leopard!

Another incomparable experience is going to one of our villages and seeing the women dance. Although this is women's business, Muzungu or overseas visitors are treated as honorary women, and so may see the initiation ceremony dance, the Cinamwale. That will be followed by a dinner with all the vegetables you can imagine, and in the dark you will be able to observe the ghost dancers jump in the flickering light of the fire - a shower will run down your spine, because you are given a slice of life in the Middle Ages.

With two months' notice we can organize a number of villages to dance the Zulu warrior dance, and you will never forget that experience!

Here are our prices:
For two people, 5 nights with 4 cultural safaris: US $450 per person, single supplement US $400. Or (for two people):
8 nights, including the very special trip to the GAME PARK, US $724 per person, single supplement US $643.

The single supplements may sound excessive, but it is the transport which is so inordinately costly in Zambia: petrol is double the price of that in the US, roads are pot-holed, cars don't last long and spare parts are few and far between. Even if TIKONDANE had a car of its own, which it does not, it could not offer cheaper rates. Of course, the more people you can organize to come on the trip, the cheaper per person.

All group and single prices:
2 people, 5 nights, 4 tours, without gamepark:
US $450 per person; single supplement US $400
2 people, 8 nights, 4 tours with gamepark:
US $724 per person; single supplement US $643
3 people, US $524 per person with game park, $397 without
4/5 people, US $464 pP with gamepark, or $297 without
6/7 people, US $420 pP with gamepark, or $270 without
8/9 people, US $309 pP with, or $240 without
10-12 people, US $246 pP with, or $198 without

These prices include our collecting you at Lilongwe airport and bringing you to TIKONDANE by taxi (options by minibus not advisable because of luggage and bus from Lilongwe a) rare and b) standing in the sun in Chipata for some 2 hours, testing the most determined traveller). We could ask you to fly to Lusaka, but from there the bus takes 8 hours and makes you weary, or if you get up at midnight 6 hours and makes you fear for your life, so, with experience, the taxi from Katete is the most tender introduction to Africa, especially if you have never been and will experience your first culture shock.

Zambia Visitors Fees: US $25 is needed to be paid on entering Zambia, and US $30 to be paid in the airport at Lilongwe to get out of it.

For BACKPACKERS and Budget Travellers, and for short-term Volunteers.
TIKONDANE Community Centre is an ideal stopover venue for cost-conscious visitors.
Inexpensive meals are available, as is a laundry service. If you wish to have a down to earth experience, literally, we can arrange for you to stay in a mud hut for a night, or for your entire stay. Bicycle hire is available. We also welcome volunteer workers on a short-term basis. People with teaching ability are most welcome to help, whether with literacy, numeracy, skills and crafts, with growing crops organically or help with the cooking. Volunteers could go for a day's shopping in Chipata and then spend the next day in the kitchen showing our cooks some dishes from their own countries. As to cost, for volunteer US $6 per day for food only.

How to Find Us
Tikondane Community Centre is the ideal stopping place between the Zambian capital of Lusaka and the Malawi capital of Lilongwe. Either can be reached by regular international air service. If you arrive by bus or car from Lusaka, some 45 minutes after Sinda you will find a large sign from St Francis Hospital on the left. A little further on you will see the Tikondane Guesthouse sign.

Lilongwe Airport is nearer than Lusaka. Given notice we will fetch you for US $220 (for one or two people). If you wish to travel from Lilongwe on your own, Tikondane is some 120 km to the Malawi border, some 30 km further to Chipata and a further 70 km to Katete. A taxi from Lilongwe to the the Zambian border will cost about US $70. From there take a Zambian Taxi, which will cost about the same amount. If there are any difficulties a friend's phone number in Lilongwe is: 715 324. There are buses and minibuses. For minibuses you need to take a taxi from the border bus station to the border and another from the border to Chipata. And to all who visit, we say "ZIKOMO!" Which means "Thank you!"

Travel to Zambia:
There is no danger of disease as long as sensible behaviour is maintained during your stay, and your vaccinations have been completed.
It is recommended that these be commenced two months in advance of your visit: Yellow fever, Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio (by mouth), Hep A, Malaria prophylaxis (by mouth) [Total cost approximately $250, can all be done in one visit.]

Jeff (Sydney, for tickets)
Ph: (02) 9365 0622

Mr Robin Brampton,
Media House Pty Ltd,
P.O. Box 75, Woollahra, NSW 2025
Ph: 02 9326 1257

In Tikondane:
Elke Radcliffe
(known locally as "Sister Elke", as she arrived at St Francis Hospital in 1993 to work as nurse educator.)
Tikondane Community Centre
Ph: (Country code 260)
6- 25 21 22
P.O. Box 550142
Katete, Zambia.
[email protected]



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