THE ANCIENT PATHWAYS OF AFRICAN ELEPHANTS
After years of human destruction, African elephants are rediscovering their old migratory routes. Here are the best places to witness their movements.
Once the capital of Malawi until the 1970’s, the city of Zomba is a charming market town overshadowed by the colossal escarpment of Zomba Plateau. Occupying a total area of 130 square kilometres, Zomba Plateau forms part of the Shire highlands running from the southern part of Lake Malombe.
Zomba Plateau stands at 1,829 metres and is filled with pine trees, cascading waterfalls, winding streams and freshwater lakes. It’s home to diverse wildlife including baboons, giant butterflies, raptors and the elusive leopard. You can also find rare species of orchids, Mulanje cedar and stag horn lilies with a keen eye.
You’ll discover plenty of trails on top of the plateau that are suitable for adventures by 4x4 vehicle, mountain bike, foot, and even horseback. However you choose to explore the region, you’ll enjoy views overlooking southern Malawi that are so spectacular they were described in colonial times as “the best views in the British Empire”.
The streams and dams of Zomba Plateau are well stocked with rainbow trout and you can enjoy an afternoon of fly fishing. Chikala Pillars and the Chilema Tree in Malosa, just a short drive from Zomba, are hidden gems and well worth a visit.
From the southern side of the plateau, enjoy a hike through the forest, past a trout farm and to Williams Falls where you can cool off with a swim in the mountain cleansed water.
Take in Malumbe Peak, the Plateau’s highest point, and round off the day watching the sun set over Malawi in the western side of the plateau at Chingwe’s Hole. Not only is Zomba’s beauty seemingly endless, but there are also plenty of exciting outdoor activities to reconnect you with nature.
The best time to visit Zomba Plateau is from April to September. Due to the higher altitude, the plateau often feels pleasantly cool and the tree canopy provides a welcome relief from the scorching Malawian sun.
The best time for fishing is from September through to April as stocks are highest. Note that fire season (the burning of agricultural land for cultivation purposes) starts at the beginning of the dry season which can make the views a little hazy, so travel after or before the month of May.