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The Viphya plateau also known as the Viphya Mountains is a beautiful haven that is located in Malawi and a perfect get away for all tourists that need to get away from the busy life of the city Centres. The Viphya plateau is surrounded by a forest which adds on to the beauty of the plateau. The Viphya plateau is filled with hills, Rivers, valleys and these landscapes add on to the beautiful scenery that the Viphya has.
The Viphya plateau is majorly known for having some of the best trek trails in the country due to its landscape and with the Viphya forest in the same vicinity, the hike becomes more and more exciting which means you need to be ready for the trek. But it is not only trekking that is carried out in the in the Viphya plateau and these include rock climbing, boat rides, horseback riding and many more others.
Hiking through the Viphya Plateau
The Viphya plateau is a dream come true for all tourists who love out-door activities especially when it comes to hiking. There are several hiking routes within the Viphya plateau that you can use but the most commonly used trail is the Luwawa Mountain hiking trail which leads to the Mountain Kawandama. The trail takes three days to complete but even though it is worth it because you get to experience the best of Malawi while on this trail. The hike trail begins from the Kawandama Mountain, goes through the Viphya forest where you get to view the wild life that habitates within the forest, get to see endemic tree species and also camp within the forests before ending the hike at the shores of Lake Malawi at the kande beach.
Visit the locals
Malawi as a country is well known for her unique culture that is practiced in the different parts of the country and there is no better way to learn more about the culture that is practiced in the country other than by taking a walk through the villages and visiting the locals. The locals who live near the Viphya plateau are so welcoming in that you will have no problem with talking to them and finding out about their traditions. And you might also be treated to traditional dances by the local women and get to taste good local food.
Take walks through the Viphya forest and plateau
The guided walks through the plateau and forest at Viphya are what will make your trip worthwhile in Malawi. The different routes that can be used when it comes to walking through the plateau can be a bit confusing for a first timer and even when some are clearly marked, you might end up walking in circles and that is why it is advisable that when head out for the walks, you should go with a tour guide as they know all the routes and they will also help in explaining the animal and plant species that you will see as you walk through the plateau.
Birding in the Viphya plateau
The Viphya plateau is filled with different bird species most of which can mostly be seen during the wet season. These can be viewed from the different habitats that they live in and some of the bird species found in the Viphya plateau include eagle owls, the wattled crane, Denham’s bustard, the African pied wagtail, the secretary bird, the long crested eagle, starred robin, the cinnamon dove the olive wood pecker, the red faced crimson wing and the scaly falcon, and many more others. You will need to dress appropriately while heading out for birding and do not forget to also carry some food and water with you because there are no shops in the plateau.
Enjoy horse riding within the plateau
The plateau has horse trails that were put in place so that tourists can enjoy the cool breeze that the plateau has to offer while on a horse back. The horse trails run for about 75 kilometers and there is a provision of cabins where you can rest fro after a long horseback riding session. All the equipment that is needed to have a successful horse-back riding experience are provided and if you do not have prior experience in the field, there are several trainers who will help you learn the basics and you will also have a tour guide with you throughout the riding on the 75 kilometer horse-back trail.
Go for Mountain biking
Due to the hilly nature of the Viphya plateau and not forgetting that it is also called the Viphya Mountain, the landscape that makes up the plateau is perfect for Mountain biking. There are bikes that are provided to tourists and all the protective gears and the only way you can enjoy this is by following a map of the biking trails provided and the tour guide who will be with you. Mountain biking at the Viphya plateau will give you a chance to explore the unseen and un- reachable parts of the plateau while enjoying the nature and wild life that you see along the way.
There is also a marathon that is prepared every year for all the mountain bikers and all the money that is collected goes to charity and it is held in the months of June. The charity marathon begins at the kasito lodge and ends at the Luwawa lodge after riding on the trails for over 53 kilometers.
Explore the Luwawa Dam
The Luwawa dam is found near the Luwawa forest lodge and it is one of the top tourist attractions in the Viphya plateau and many tourists trek to the dam just to get a closer look at the water falls at the dam. It is a good place to relax from especially if you have been trekking and the waterfalls provide a good backdrop for photographs. The dam is also a perfect place for fishing due to the presence of various fish species in the water.
Animal viewing in the Viphya plateau
The Viphya plateau is also a known habitat for some wild animals that can be seen moving around the vast scenic plains within the plateau. Some of the animals that can be seen in the plateau include the bush duiker, leopards, a few monkeys jumping from one tree to the next, the yellow baboon, bush pig, warthogs and many more others. The best time for one to go for a game drive through the Viphya is during the dry season and this is because animals move around easily during the dry season in search of water and food unlike the rainy season and it is also easier to drive through the Viphya plateau in the dry season unlike the rainy season.
Accommodation facilities in Viphya plateau
There are several accommodation facilities that are within and near the Viphya plateau and you can get to rest from anywhere you want for as long as you want depending on your budget and some of these include:
The Viphya lodge
The Viphya lodge is a bit far away from the city Centre but it is one of the best accommodation facilities in the Viphya lodge. They have self-contained rooms which offer you all the privacy that you need and a view of the beach and they also offer in house catering service whereby you can enjoy your food at the balcony and they also have a private parking lot.
The Luwawa forest reserve
The Luwawa forest reserve is a very popular place when it comes to accommodation and it is especially good for tourists who come in groups. They have nice self-contained rooms and they provide good food both local and international cuisines. The forest reserve also provides their guests with many activities to keep them busy like the horse riding, team building seminars and many more others and the beauty about staying here is that it is strategically located meaning you get to see the various attractions around including a few animals.
When to visit the Viphya plateau
The best time for one to visit the Viphya plateau normally depends on the activities that you want to carry out on your visit. The dry season is the best time to visit the plateau for all those that want to for animal viewing, trekking, Mountain biking and hiking and this runs from May to October. The wet season is a good time for all those going for birding to visit the Viphya and this runs from November to April.
Getting to the Viphya plateau has been made easy but it depend on which direction you are coming from. The best and shortest route is from Lilongwe and this takes about three to four hours to get to your final destination and it is also advisable that you use private means when it comes to travelling to the plateau and make sure you use a 4by4 car especially during the wet season.