+265 888 91 4991 dean@cyclemalawi.org

Cycle through indigenous woodlands in Zomba’s Forest Plateau

With breath taking views of mountains, streams &  forests wood plains cycling above the heavens. Zomba Plateau offers a pleasant variety of trails through forest woodlands beside streams or across open grasslands amidst vistas’ of breath taking scenery. Many of the trails are fairly short and can be done in half a day or if time permits opportunities for longer scenic trails can be enjoyed. Due to the high altitude the Plateau often feels pleasantly cool compared to other parts of the country. With dense vegetation and high soaring trees the Plateau offers a wonderful immersion of natural beauty and peaceful sightseeing…

Clouds from Ku Chawe Inn Zomba Plateau
Clouds from Ku Chawe Inn Zomba Plateau

Rising up above the mist, the 2085-meter high Zomba Plateau overlooks the historic town of Zomba, Malawi’s former capital city. The road up to the plateau itself is a spiral with some breath taking views. The entire plateau is a tranquil forest reserve renowned for its temperate climate, natural splendour and magnificent views.

The Plateau has been formed by an intrusion of molten rock into the overlying metamorphic rock. Over time, the softer metamorphic rock has been eroded from over and around the intrusion and this has left the harder igneous rocks, which form the plateau, raised above the surrounding plains.

Zomba before the rain
Zomba before the rain

Most of the Plateau is under management of the Department of Forestry. They have left some of the natural flora along the streams and under the Chiradzulu Peak, an important contribution to environmental protection.

A variety of soft woods are being grown on the plateau, the main ones being Mexican Pine (Pinus patula) and Cypress ( Cupressus luscitanica) These are ready to harvest after 25 to 30 years.  Mulanje Cedar. (Widdringtonia nodiflora) has been planted, but this is a much slower growing softwood, taking over 60 years before being harvested. Indigenous trees have recently been planted along the banks of the Mulungunzi stream and tributaries to the protect the catchment and a buffer zone defined along the streams where cutting of trees is prohibited.

A variety of birds are seen on the plateau. The most commonly seen is the White Necked Raven, which soon becomes a spectator at any picnic. The harsh croaking call often heard while walking is likely to belong to Livingstone’s Lourie which is sometimes seen as a larger bird moving about the branches of a tree, but is most easily seen when flying as it has a vivid red underwings. Larger animals are sometimes seen, baboon and bushbuck being the most common.

Williams Falls, Zomba Patea
Williams Falls, Zomba Plateau


 Places of interest accessible by car

  • Mulunguzi Dam
  • Trout Farm and Picnic Area
  • William’s Falls
  • Chagwa Dam
  • Queens View
  • Emperors View
  • Songani Lookout
  • Chitinji Campsite
  • Chingwe’s Hole


The main access to the plateau is well signposted from the centre of Zomba. This is a beautiful stretch of tarred road to Kuchawe Inn. Cyclists  desiring a different approach can drive to Songani, 10km north of Zomba and take the road signposted to Domasi CCAP Mission (5km), which should be passable to  cars with reasonable ground clearance. It goes on up into the Domasi Valley, and from there a number of paths lead up onto the plateau:some also lead up onto Malosa Mountain, but these tend to be less well defined.

Visit the Zomba Plateau on a mountain bicycle tour and discover this beautiful part of Malawi from the freedom of a bicycle. Enquire today email dean@cyclemalawi.org


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