General Information

This section of our website contains extracts from the MCM Handbook, which is available to members - please ask a committee member for your copy.

Mulanje is the best known and most popular mountain area in Malawi. The Mulanje Massif covers an area of nearly 650 sq km and rises steeply out of the surrounding plain south east of Blantyre, close to the Mozambique border. The mountain supports a spectacular collection of flora and fauna and provides some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. David Livingstone records seeing Mulanje from Lake Chilwa in 1859, but it was left to later Europeans to explore the area in the late 1800s. By the 1920s, there were regular visitors to the ‘hill station’ of cottages on the Lichenya plateau, glad to escape the heat of the plains below.

Mulanje has 20 peaks of more than 2,500m rising out of the plateau, including Sapitwa which, at 3,002m, is the highest peak in central Africa, and the west face of Chambe offers the longest rock climb in the whole of Africa (1,700m of roped climbing). There are several quite well marked paths up to the plateau and between the Forestry Department huts on it. Most of the routes up can be tackled in between three to five hours in good conditions. The best time to visit Mulanje is between April to December. Excursions during the other four months of the year are also possible, but visitors should beware the flash floods caused by heavy rains and storms at this time. Remember that this is a high, remote area, with tough terrain and rapidly changing weather, especially during the early months of the dry season, from May to July, when thick, wet mists (as below!) can reduce visibility to zero.

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