Leisure and Sport
plateau offers a pleasant variety of walks through forest, beside streams or
across open grassland. Many of the walks are fairly short but there are
opportunities for longer walks if time and energy permit. Due to the higher
altitude the plateau often feels pleasantly cool compared to other parts of the
The plateau has been formed by an intrusion of molten rock
into the overlying metamorphic rock. Over time, the softer metamorphic rock has
been eroded from over and around the intrusion and this has left the harder
igneous rocks, which form the plateau, raised above the surrounding plain.
Most of the plateau is under active management by the Department of
Forestry. Thankfully, they have left some of the natural flora along the
streams and under Chiradzulu peak. A variety of soft woods are being grown on
the plateau, the main ones being Mexican Pine (Pinus patula) and Cypress
(Cupressus luscitanica). These are ready to harvest after 25 to 30 years.
Mulanje Cedar (Widdringtonia nodiflora) is also being planted but this is a
much slower growing hardwood, taking over 60 years before being
A variety of birds are seen on the plateau. The most common
bird is the white necked raven which soon becomes a spectator at any picnic.
The croaking call often heard while walking is likely to belong to the green
lourie which is sometimes seen as a larger bird moving about in the branches of
a tree but is most easily seen when flying as it has vivid red underwings.
Larger animals are sometimes seen; baboon and bushbuck being the most common.
Access to the Plateau:-
The main access to the plateau is
well signposted from the centre of Zomba. This is a tarred road to Kuchawe Inn.
It is one way from just beyond Khola forestry village to where it joins the
other roads near Kuchawe inn. Before the down road was built in 1968 movement
of cars was limited on this stretch so that cars were only allowed up between
the hour and quarter past, and down between the half hour and quarter to.
The down road is an unsurfaced road which becomes fairly stony if not
maintained. It is one way from shortly after the road goes off to Mulunguzi
There is a little used road which winds its way up from Old Naisi.
Go straight across the junction at the top of Old Naisi road and right at the T
junction shortly afterwards. The road eventually comes on to the map below
Makawa Spur. The basic surface of the road is usually not too bad but it
becomes very overgrown with grass which makes it difficult to see where to go
Walkers desiring a different approach can drive out to
Songani, north of Zomba, and take the road signposted to Domasi CCAP Mission.
The road is in the process of being upgraded and should be passible to cars
with reasonable ground clearance. It goes up in to Domasi valley and from
there, there are a number of paths leading up on to the plateau and some also
lead up on to Malosa mountain but these tend to be less well defined.
The road running south from junction 13 at the base of Mlumbe can be
rough for private cars at times. Most of the other roads are in reasonable
repair, though this can vary with the time of year and activities of the
Regrettably, cars are occasionally broken into, so
do not leave items visible in your car.
As the water in the Mulunguzi
stream and dam form the water supply for Zomba, swimming is only permitted in
the Chivunde stream.
There are two campsites on
the plateau. The main campsite is the one near the Kuchawe Inn. This is a well
organised campsite with running water and hot showers are usually available. It
is often busy, especially on holiday weekends.
The Chitinii campsite on
the west of the plateau is much less used andismore basic.There is a latrine
provided and water comes from the nearby stream. It is a good site for those
who wish to get away from everything.
Mulunguzi Dam to
the Trout Farm past
Mandala Falls (.jpg 69KB), - a gentle pleasant walk through
original forest beside the stream, (35 minutes). Part of this walk forms the
Mulunguzi Nature Trail.
The Trout Farm to Williams Falls. A gentle,
fairly easy walk through original forest beside the stream, (35 minutes).
Mulunguzi Dam to Chagwa Dam. A gentle climb from the dam wall up
through planted forest to Chagwa Dam, (45 minutes).
Emperor's View to
Songani Lookout. A gentle walk through planted forest on a track, (30 minutes).
Songani Look out toSphinx and Mbuli. An easy walk to Sphinx (30
minutes), slightly more strenous to Mbuli (+ 45 minutes). There are good views
looking out towards Lake Chilwa. The path to Mbuli is faint and is near the
outer lip of the plateau, not on the obvious firebreak further in. The path
continues @Lo Makawa Spur.
Chivunde Village to Chivunde Falls. A
moderate walk in an attractive valley with views towards the Chikala hills.
Take the path which leaves the road a short distance below the village. This
rejoins the road where it crosses the stream at the watersplash. Cross the
stream and go down the road for about half a kilometre. Take the signposted
path to the left. After passing through the trees, the path crosses some rock
slabs and then drops fairly steeply. A faint path which leads to the falls goes
off to the left near the bottom of the slope. The main path rejoins the road
from the watersplash about 50 m below the falls. This offers an alternative
route back, though at times it may be a bit overgrown, (45 minutes).
Kuchawe Inn to Nawimbe Fire Tower and onto Mlumbe Radio Masts. A
moderate climb up to Nawimbe (35 minutes) and then a pleasant ridge walk to
Mlumbe, (+ 70 minutes).
Forestry Offices to Chiradzulu Peak. A good
walk and climb through planted and natural forest. The marked view point gives
one of the best views of the plateau basin. Take the road north from the
offices and turn left on to the first definite path, just before a bridge (90
The Potato Path from just above Zomba to Kuchawe Inn. A good
climb. This is the first part of a path which goes right across the plateau to
Domasi valley and has been used for a long time to bring produce to the market
in Zomba. Follow the path from the signpost on the first bend in the road after
leaving the buildings of Zomba, (45 minutes).
Places of interest
accessible by car:-
Trout Farm (especially of
interest to children)