Massive Mount Mulanje and Zomba, Malawi

Mount Mulanje and Zomba

Climb Mount Mulanje if you dare and reach the highest summit in Malawi or hike the Zomba Plateau and explore the oldest forest reserve in the country with Voyage2Africa on one of our top holidays and tours into Africa. We share our best-selling deals for quality mountain accommodation in Zomba lodges and Mulanje camps. We show you what to do and where to stay when you hike, explore and discover these two elevated tourism hotspots in Malawi!

Not only is the Mulanje Massif the highest mountain in Central Africa (3050 m) with the largest rock climb in the world but so too is it the only habitat for the rare Mulanje cedar. Climbers love the challenge of the series of plateaus with about 26 peaks! Mulanje Mountain is only 80 km from Blantyre through endless picturesque tea fields.

The highest peak in the Mount Mulanje range is aptly named Sapitwa or “Don’t go there!” in the local dialect and it was first climbed in 1894. Now it’s the most popular climb on the plateau while the West face of the massif, Chambe Peak, is the longest rock climb in Africa, reaching more than 2 500m. 

The Zomba plateau, meanwhile, is a historic forest reserve further north where hikers love to go, rising 2,000m above sea level and offering spectacular views of Zomba town and Lake Chilwa from Queen’s View or Emperor’s View. Horse riding is also a popular activity here.

Did you know?

The Zomba Plateau is 74 km from Mount Mulanje and both peaks occur in central Africa featuring extraordinary rock faces, rare trees and old forests, some of the most challenging climbing routes in the world and some of the most scenic hikes in Africa.


  • Mulanje is actually a ‘massif’ of syenite and granite covering a massive 650 square km where erosion by rivers has caused deep ravines and extraordinary hollows.
  • Mulanje’s wildlife includes the tiny klipspringer, various other small mammals and diverse birds such as buzzards, the black eagle and countless, white-necked ravens. Fishing for trout is possible in the River Lichenya.
  • Zomba Plateau wildlife includes rare sightings of leopards, giant butterflies and baboons while birdlife includes the long-crested eagle and the augur buzzard; fly-fishing for trout is possible in season and horse riding is popular.
  • Stand under William’s waterfall after an exhilarating hike or bike tour and enjoy the bite of the cold water on your back.

The Best Of The Best Safaris to Mount Mulanje and Zomba

Plan a Malawi tour and safari with Voyage2Africa, the African travel experts, and enjoy signature experiences to premier highland destinations south of the equator. We bring you thrilling adventures in the infinite spaces of the southern mountains to boost your health. Choose diverse accommodation with comfy amenities and get ready to explore more of Malawi soon. We offer you some of the best special packages in the Mount Mulanje and Zomba Region to expand your holiday in true African style. 

More about Mount Mulanje

The Mulanje Massif formed about 130 million years ago when magma intruded into the Earth’s crust – over time, the surrounding rock eroded away leaving behind the solid igneous rock of the Mulanje Massif. It is said that Dr David Livingstone was the first European to report seeing Mount Mulanje in 1859, but archaeological evidence shows that people were coming here since the Stone Age. 

The mountain itself is part of the protected Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve and the last stands of the endemic Mulanje cedar grow here. Proclaimed the National Tree of Malawi in 1984 by the late President Hastings Banda, the species was first described in 1894, is endemic to Mount Mulanje but it is threatened with extinction due to uncontrolled logging. Mulanje cedar is a pioneer species, meaning that it is good at taking advantage of sites that become free of other competing species but it then fails to compete with other trees. 

More about the Zomba Plateau

Are you seeking a mountain retreat? Then make a stop at Zomba Plateau, Malawi’s oldest forest reserve for spectacular views. Overlooking Liwonde and the Shire River Valley, discover untouched waterfalls, trout dams and walking trails intertwined with pine and indigenous montane forests. If you don’t want to climb, rather experience Malawi’s mountains on foot. Catch spectacular views across tea plantations to neighbouring Mozambique. Drink from wonderful waterfalls and pools and ogle the beautiful forest butterflies and dwarf chameleons. 

The Zomba Plateau or Zomba Massif is an enormous cliff in the Shire Highlands reaching more than 2000 m high and boasting forests of cedar, pine and cypress, mixed with wild vegetation. This is a fantastic watershed, the top of the mountain stretching 130 square km and lush with streams, waterfalls and still lakes. Roads lead to outlook points, described by colonialists as “the best views in the British Empire.”

The Zomba forest reserve was established in 1913 and most of the plateau is covered with plantations of Mexican pine trees planted for timber production for the Zomba Sawmill, located on the southern slopes of the mountain. Local people grow fruits like strawberries, yellow-berries and blackberries for their markets.

Come and explore the astonishing Zomba Plateau, the region’s major tourist attraction where you can indulge in satisfying hiking, horse riding, rock climbing, fishing and mountain biking. The road to the plateau is good and there are wonderful accommodation choices in the region ranging from private cottages and rustic eco-lodges to camping grounds and luxury hotels.

Family Holidays to Mount Mulanje and Zomba

Take your family on a challenging hike in the Mount Mulanje area across the peaks and valleys or a more scenic ramble through the Zomba region forests. They can see the majestic cedars, pine plantations and beautiful butterflies and birds. Kids can run free here and enjoy camping out in nature in rustic huts.  They can swim in waterfalls and streams and find fascinating flowers and creatures, hiding places and amazing look out points. 

A few days in the Mount Mulanje and Zomba region are refreshing, educational and active too – quite a thrill for families and friends who want to be out in a high mountain landscape with rivers flowing through it. It’s a photographer’s dream world and all the amazing forest plants worth learning about. 

We show you top-of-the-range mountain lodges, forest cabins and rustic camps in this region where children will feel in awe and want to explore. Try an organised tour with a guide when you book a Voyage2Africa package to make life easier and we will ensure you see the plateaus while enjoying the scenery and many activities along the way.

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