Call an Expert on +44 (0) 1722 445 925
Zomba, Mt Mulanje & Majete Reserve

Zomba, Mt Mulanje & Majete Reserve

The Zomba Plateau and the Mulanje Massif are two areas of the Shire Highlands to the south of Lake Malawi.

The Zomba Plateau is very dramatic, rising to an impressive 1800m high with sheer escarpments and table top peaks.  In the valley below is the town of Zomba, the former colonial capital of Malawi, and worth a visit with its lively market and colonial architecture. However it is the Zomba plateau that is the main attraction today. There are driveable tracks at the top, with spectacular views and beautiful walking paths amongst the pine and indigenous montane forests. Streams, waterfalls and lakes add to the varied landscape making this a great destination for hiking, mountain biking, trout fishing and bird watching.

Mount Mulanje is central Africa’s highest peak. It is an impressive massif of granite, rising to almost 3000m covering an area of 600 sq km. It has a varied terrain, with basins and peaks, rolling grasslands, valleys and forests. The mountain is part of the Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve where endemic plant and animal species are now protected.  The contrasting landscape and climate allows for tea growing in the lush valleys and rock climbing in the cooler peaks of the massif. There are numerous peaks to challenge the rock climber including the highest “Sapitwa” whilst the whole massif can be traversed in 3 to 4 days on a great hiking trip.

Majete Game Reserve is Malawi’s only official Big 5 Game Park in Malawi and that makes it a must visit destination for safari travellers!  The Reserve is located in a beautiful corner of southern Malawi where thanks to a ten year African Parks Conservation effort, the 700 sq km landscape is now a thriving Reserve.  It is home to 6000 animals, including lions, leopard, elephant, buffalo, eland, kudu, grysbok and now re-introduced black rhinos which have successfully increased their numbers in the last five years!

 

 

at a glance

Feeling inspired?
get the big 5 experience
Call 01722 445925
or Enquire Now

Introduction

A highlight of Southern Malawi is the recently protected Majete Wildlife Reserve. Spanning 700km², this rugged and hilly region offers an ideal combination of isolation and first class amenities. The converging Shire and the Mkulumandu Rivers are lined by riverine forests, home to over 250 species of bird including Arnot’s Chat, pale-billed hornbills and raptors, including particularly high concentrations of bateleur eagle. On the banks of the rivers, Boehm’s Bee-Eaters and Rock Practincoles feature. Excusive luxury lodges offer laid back safari opportunities for visitors to view recently introduced black rhino, elephant, elusive leopards, nyala and sable. Spotted hyena, civet and serval are best spotted on night drives. This vast and picturesque region of woodlands, granite hills and towering large-leafed African star chestnuts offer a true wilderness yet to be discovered by tourists.

Once regarded as offering some of the most stunning views of the British Empire, the Zomba Plateau is a vibrant location home to colonial architecture, upmarket lodges, first class walking opportunities and memorable panoramic scenery. Criss-crossed by streams and tumbling waterfalls, the plateau is home to vast tracts of cedar, pine and cypress interspersed by dense forests. Despite limited wildlife viewing prospects, long-crested eagle and augur buzzard reside along with the elusive leopard, serval cat, mongoose and various antelope species. This is an ideal location for flyfishing and trout fishing enthusiasts.

Towering 10,000 feet over the surrounding countryside, Mt Mulanje dwarfs all that surrounds it. Regarded as the country’s premier hiking and rock climbing destination and spanning 245 miles², this granite mountain of dense forests was largely cleared for tea cultivation in the early 20th century, the legacy of which is evident in the scenery today. From alpine moorland on the plateau to evergreen woodlands and 40 meter high endemic Mulanje cedars along watercourses, the area supports an array of flowers, birds and wildlife. Various small mammals feature at higher altitudes, notably the klipspringer and other antelope, while vervet and samango monkey reside on the lower slopes. Birdwatchers will enjoy observing buzzards, black eagles and white necked ravens. This geographical landmark shrouded in myth and legend is a spiritual mountain, believed to be the inspiration for aspects of Tolkien’s book The Hobbit.

When To Visit

Southern Malawi has something to offer whatever time of year. The Majete Wildlife Reserve is open throughout the year; however game viewing is superior during the dry season on June to November. Even during the wet season, rains are usually short-lived so do not seriously inhibit the traveller.

January to April – Temperatures slowly begin to fall in April and nights become more pleasant. This marks the end of the rainy season as cooler, dryer conditions prevail until September. Average temperatures are 26°C, however higher altitudes may be cooler and lowlands considerably hotter and more humid.

May to September – Game viewing in the Majete Wildlife Reserve is good during these months are scrub starts to reduce and temperatures fall to around 20°C. During July, the Zomba Plateau can be quite cold at night, while lower altitudes remain water around the Lower Shire Valley. Very little rainfall occurs during these dry months. Humidity is low.

October to December – These months see the highest temperatures in the Majete Wildlife Reserve, sometimes peaking at 45°C. Reduced vegetation cover enables more often sightings to animals which congregate at the waterholes. Higher latitudes of Mt. Mulanje and the Zomba Plateau are cooler during the daytime, averaging 28°C. October until March offers the best sightings of blue swallow on the Mt Mulanje plateau. November and December mark the onset of the rainy season, bringing evening storms and moderate humidity.

Temperature & Rainfall

Climate Chart – South Malawi

Zomba, Mt Mulanje & Majete Highlights

Majete Game Reserve

Majete Game Reserve

Majete Game Reserve

Majete Wildlife Reserve in the lower Shire valley in the South West of Malawi is now a Big 5 ...

read more
Majete Game Reserve

Majete Game Reserve

Majete Wildlife Reserve in the lower Shire valley in the South West of Malawi is now a Big 5 location as a result of an amazingly successful conservation programme. The bush is now teeming with waterbuck, eland and impala.

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now
Walking Safari

Walking Safari

Walking Safari

Majete Wildlife Reserve is virtually undiscovered by tourists, so visiting it feels more like an ...

read more
Walking Safari

Walking Safari

Majete Wildlife Reserve is virtually undiscovered by tourists, so visiting it feels more like an expedition; making for a unique and exciting safari. Photo Credit: Dana Allen/Robin Pope Safaris.

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now
Tea Plantations

Tea Plantations

Tea Plantations

Stay on a lush Tea Plantation Estate in the Thyolo Mountain Forest Reserve and enjoy hikes and ...

read more
Tea Plantations

Tea Plantations

Stay on a lush Tea Plantation Estate in the Thyolo Mountain Forest Reserve and enjoy hikes and Estate tours.

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now
Luxury Lodge

Luxury Lodge

Luxury Lodge

Mkulumadzi is named after the river that flows into the Shire at the point where the lodge was ...

read more
Luxury Lodge

Luxury Lodge

Mkulumadzi is named after the river that flows into the Shire at the point where the lodge was built. The lodge is one of the most luxurious in Malawi and has just eight beautiful, spacious chalets, each with a wonderful view over the river and the bush beyond it. These views are given centre stage, with one side of the rooms being completely open, with a large veranda on which to relax and gameview.

Photo credit: Robin Pope

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now
Hiking & Climbing

Hiking & Climbing

Hiking & Climbing

Mount Mulanje is central Africa’s highest peak towering to almost 3000m. Everything from gentle ...

read more
Hiking & Climbing

Hiking & Climbing

Mount Mulanje is central Africa’s highest peak towering to almost 3000m. Everything from gentle walks to serious climbing is possible on this magnificent mountain. The intimidating West face of Chamber Peak is one of Africa’s greatest rock-climbing challenges and rises 1,700 meters (5,500 feet). Those who want to experience the view from the top without the death-defying climb can trek the Skyline Trail, a three-hour hike between Likhubula guest house and Chambe mountain hut.

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now
Nocturnal Sightings

Nocturnal Sightings

Nocturnal Sightings

Day and night game drives are on offer at Mkulumadzi along with walking safaris. Expert guides will ...

read more
Nocturnal Sightings

Nocturnal Sightings

Day and night game drives are on offer at Mkulumadzi along with walking safaris. Expert guides will seek out the nocturnal creatures such as this beautiful genet.

Photo credit: Dana Allen/Robin Pope

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now
Majete Game Drives

Majete Game Drives

Majete Game Drives

Undiscovered by tourists, Majete is a true wilderness where every trip into the bush with a team of ...

read more
Majete Game Drives

Majete Game Drives

Undiscovered by tourists, Majete is a true wilderness where every trip into the bush with a team of experienced guides will feel like an adventure.

Photo credit: Robin Pope

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now
Boat Safari

Boat Safari

Boat Safari

Boat Safaris along the Shire River allowing you to float close to the hundreds of hippos and watch ...

read more
Boat Safari

Boat Safari

Boat Safaris along the Shire River allowing you to float close to the hundreds of hippos and watch the elephants drink just a few metres away.

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now
Black Rhino

Black Rhino

Black Rhino

The Majete Wildlife Reserve, in southern Malawi, is rapidly becoming one of Malawi’s top game ...

read more
Black Rhino

Black Rhino

The Majete Wildlife Reserve, in southern Malawi, is rapidly becoming one of Malawi’s top game parks with an amazingly successful conservation effort has re-established this as a Big 5 reserve.

Feeling inspired?

Enquire now

camps & lodges

Huntingdon House

Huntingdon House

Huntingdon House represents the soul of the Satemwa Tea Estate where guests are invited to experience the re-birth of this historic property as it ... Read More

Mkulumadzi

Mkulumadzi

Surrounded by 7,000 hectares of private concession, Mkulumadzi enjoys an idyllic location at the confluence of the Shire and the Mkulumadzi River ... Read More