Mulanje Mountain

Mulanje Mountain

Malawi is dotted with isolated outcrops of rock, or inselbergs. It is part of the landscape’s charm, and much of the natural diversity of the country is due to these elevated islands offering unusual habitats.

One can think of Mount Mulanje in almost the same way. It is an isolated granite massif, covering over a thousand square kilometres. From a distance, it’s hard to believe that Mulanje is not a range of mountains, it seems long rather than high. Yet it is so tall that it creates its own climate, and is known to be unkind, even lethal to those who dare take the mountain for granted. The summit, the highest in the south-central Africa at 300m, is called Sapitwa, which is said to mean ‘Don’t go there!” The warning challenges the determined climber. Sapitwa does require experience, though often testing endurance rather than technique. The west face of Chambe Peak is a real challenge, offering nearly 1700m of roped climbing and said to be the longest rock climb in Africa.

For the less dedicated, Mulanje offers equally great rewards. Spectacular views across tea plantations to Mozambique, sheer drops down gullies laced with waterfalls; glades shaded by forest trees where purple crested loeries and sun squirrels scuttle along the branches; montane grasslands dotted with ground orchids and gladioli and alive with butterflies; forests of fragrant Mulanje cedar trees.

Text: Tourism Malawi

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