Magical Mount Mulanje – Every Hiker’s Dream Climb
Mount Mulanje is the most popular climbing and hiking spot in Malawi. Found in the tea-growing district of Mulanje, on a misty day, the Mulanje Massif’s highest peak, Sapitwa, forms an island in the sky as it explodes out of the clouds at 3,002m high.
Unsurprisingly, intrepid climbers regularly grapple the mountain hoping to tame its peaks and claim the magnificent Massif as their conquest.
A typical hike starts in the village with six potential routes to follow and many rest stops along the way. There are clearly marked paths with well-maintained huts on the trail, making Mount Mulanje a pleasant experience for new hikers. Besides the clean air, star gazing from above the clouds and fishing for trout in the streams found on the Chambe and Lichenya plateaus are some of the reasons hikers enjoy the tiring, but well worth the effort, climb.
The Lichenya and Matambale peaks are accessible without the need for any actual climbing gear and are more suitable for beginners, whereas the western face of the mountain, Chambe, offers the longest climb in Africa – 1,700m of sheer cliff – and experience will be a definite benefit.
For those that intend on reaching Sapitwa, it involves arduous trekking over many days but promises magical views of cascading waterfalls, fluffy clouds, and seeing from the peak of one of the largest granite inselbergs in the world.
When climbing the highest peak in South Central Africa, it is advisable to reserve the accompaniment of a certified guide and porter who knows how to navigate the steep terrain. These helpful guides can be arranged at the start of the trail on the day of the hike or in advance via a tour company.
It is also recommended that only experienced hikers attempt the summit, preferably in the dry season between April and November, and never alone.
The Mulanje Massif is a protected site as part of the Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve. The animal and plant species found here are not to be hunted, or harmed in any way. Visitors are advised to be careful not to start any bush fires while using cooking stoves and not to pollute the drinkable spring water.
Wildlife enthusiasts hiking the mountain will not be disappointed, making the entire adventure an absolute dream for any photographer who wishes to take away only memories and leave behind only footprints.