Mountain Mulanje is one of the top most tourist attractions in Malawi and not because it is the highest peak in central Africa but because of the beautiful scenery surrounding it and the challenge that it gives to all those that love hiking. Mountain Mulanje is located in the Southern part of Malawi right next to the border of Mozambique and it rises up to a height of over 3000 meters above sea level with its highest peak being known as the peak Sapita.
The Mountain Mulanje has two major peaks that is the Sapita peak, the Chambe peak located in the western part of Malawi and it is known to be the toughest hike trail on the continent of Africa. A brief history about the Mulanje Mountain is that it was formed over 100 million years ago and it was discovered by the explorer David Livingstone although as you hike up the Mountain you will find paintings on the rocks which prove that there was an early settlement of the locals before David Livingstone discovered it.
Before you go for hiking on the Mountain Mulanje, you need to pack appropriate clothes that is warm clothes for the ever changing weather that is experienced both at the base of the Mountain and at the top of the Mountain.
The best time to go and explore the Mulanje Mountain is when the temperatures are not too hot and not too cold and this is usually experienced between the months of April and August. If you can bear with the heat while hiking then you can still go between the months of September and October although you will need a lot of water during your hike in this period. The hike up mountain Mulanje does not discriminate in age for as long as you are capable of hiking and have no health issues but not that you will not be allowed to access all the hike routes up the Mountain if you do not have a tour guide with you.
Hiking up the Mulanje Mountain
Before you hike up the Mulanje Mountain you will need to first get a permit at the offices that are found at the base pf the mountain. There are several hike routes that have been clearly marked and all the routes differ with some being much easier to tackle than the rest.
When it comes to trekking, Mountain Mulanje has about six routes that you can use like the route from Minunu hut to Lujeri tea estate, the route from Thuchila hut to Lukulezi mission, the Sombani but to Fort Lister Gap route and the Lichenya path. The three major routes that are commonly used include the skyline path, the Chambe path and the Chapaluka path.
While you go for hiking, you will need to go with porters and even though they are not necessary, they will make your hiking quite easy. These porters carry all kinds of luggage but the largest they can take is 18 kilograms therefore you should walk with some extra money to give to the porters while trekking.
Exploring the Sapitwa peak
The Sapitwa peak is the highest peak of the Mulanje Mountain and it is the most used trek on the Mountain due to the challenge that it gives to all those that take it. Some of the things that you can pack on your trip to the Sapitwa peak include the following:
- Good hiking shoes or if not you can get boots because you might come across some slippery trek trails and therefore you will need good shoes.
- Food and water, make sure that you have a lot of water and food on you because most of as you hike up the mountain you will not find anywhere with shops.
- Carry as little luggage as possible because the hike up the mountain will not be easy and therefore you should only carry those things that are essential to you.
- Some of the essentials that you can carry when heading out for the trek on Mountain Mulanje include a torch, bathroom essentials like a sponge, soap, towels.
- Carry insect repellent to avoid insect bites.
Mountain bike riding
There are several routes that have been marked for Mountain bike riding all the way from. The base of Mountain to the top. You will need a permit before you access them and you will also be provided with a map showing you the different routes that you can use and not forgetting that you will need a tour guide as well before embarking on the Mountain biking process around the Mount Mulanje.
Rock climbing on Mountain Mulanje
The Mountain Mulanje offers tourists a chance to go rock climbing which is not an easy task and is only taken on by those that are physically fit. Rock climbing is usually done on the Chebe side which rises up to about 1700 meters high. It is a vertical wall and there are climbing equipment that are provided but you need to check them and see whether they are safe before going for the climb. You will also need a tour guide before you climb and lots of water since rock climbing at the Mount Mulanje is normally done during the set season.
Relax at the spring
There is a spring which runs down the Mulanje Mountain and it is a favorite stop for most tourist hikers. It is located almost half way the trek trail and with the cool water that it has, you can take some water to quench your thirst and to also refresh before continuing with your hike but you will need to first ask permission from your tour guide before drinking the water from the spring.
Visit the locals
There are villages surrounding the Mulanje Mountain and the only way you can get to meet the locals is by taking a walk to the villages. These locals have lived in the area for a long time and a visit to them will give you more insight into their traditions, customs and what they do to earn a living. There are also many volunteer programs that you can join in because these help in improving on the standards of living of people.
Explore the vegetation
Mountain Mulanje is considered to have one of the best montane vegetation in Malawi and acts as a fine tourist destination for all botanist but even if you are not a botanist, the uniqueness of the vegetation that is located on and around the Mountain will blow your mind away. It will give you an amazon experience due to the endemic trees that can be seen.
Birding around mountain Mulanje
Birding on Mountain Mulanje can easily be done as you hike up the mountain and this is due to the presence of some montane birds that habitate on the Mountain. Therefore as you go out, make sure that you carry a camera so that you can enjoy the birdlife that habitates around and on the Mulanje Mountain.
Some other guidelines that you need to follow when going for a hike on Mountain Mulanje include:
Follow the tour guide and do whatever he tells you to do because that will be the only way you will enjoy your hike. The tour guide know more about the hike trails and that is why you need to listen to them in order to avoid accidents while hiking up the Mulanje Mountain and there are several tour guides who are always available to help you out just make sure that you get a professional one.
- Since the hike cannot be completed in one day, you need to fully prepare yourself so that you enjoy your hike without worrying. This means that you will need to pack appropriately especially clothes.
- You will also need a porter to help you carry some of luggage and although they are not necessary, you will still need them so that your hike up the Mountain becomes smooth. The porters can be paid at the end of the hike but since they cater for their own food and accommodation, it is better to pay half of the money at the beginning of the trip and pay the balance after the trip.
There are also several accommodation facilities where you can rest while hiking on the Mountain and most of these are huts that were constructed along the mountain and tourists can rest from here before continuing on their journey. These are more convenient although you can also book a room in the many accommodation facilities that are found in the nearby Blantyre or if not you can also camp at the base of the Mountain.
And finally make sure you enjoy your hike to the fullest, reach both peaks and take as many photos as you can because at the end of the day, the adventure will calm your mind and you will also get to see numerous wonderful site while on your hike.