Date 04/27/2016 Categories Travel Blog
Surprising, startling, amazing, magnificent… This is the general reaction when travelers come upon the Anglican Cathedral of St. Peter on the small island of Likoma, one of two islands located in Lake Malawi. The cathedral, which is actually one of the largest churches in Africa, was built primarily with granite from the island and fired brick stones from the mainland. It has a well-kept tin roof, some quite beautiful stained-glass windows and soapstone choir stalls as well as a lovely garden. The foundation stone was laid by Bishop Gerard Trower on January 27, 1903 and the church was consecrated eight years later on November 14, 1911. Considered a feat of engineering due to its location, it was built to serve as a center for the Anglican Church in Central Africa.
Many visitors are taken aback to find this remarkable cathedral on Likoma, which is home to some 9,000 inhabitants who are widely spread out in settlements across the island. Chipyela is the largest town there and is home to the church and a market. Visitors are welcome to attend services in this very active church. Local dance competitions are often held on weekends with participants use traditional instruments and are dressed in colonial costumes, offering a truly original cultural experience. Ironically, the local witchdoctor in town is said to be the most prominent in all of Malawi.
Likoma encompasses rocky slopes, sandy bays, swamps, and crystal-clear blue waters and has views of Mozambique’s wilderness and mountainous terrain. Both Likoma and nearby Chizumulu Island lie just a few miles from Mozambique, and are entirely surrounded by Mozambique’s territorial waters, however, they became part of Malawi because of the presence of British missionaries when national borders in East Africa were established after World War II.
You can incorporate a visit to the cathedral when you travel to Lake Malawi on our new 13-day Zambia & Malawi adventure.