A walking tour – Malawi walking in the heart of Africa
WHAT WE WILL SEE

A walking tour – Malawi walking in the heart of Africa. A walking route to reconnect with nature between the villages of Lake Malawi and mountain trails, the walking safari in Liwonde National Park and the first capital of the country, Zomba.

A journey on foot, in the heart of Africa, walking slowly and with the rhythms and culture of the place you are visiting is an authentic and immersive experience. An adventure that will engage all your senses.

Have you always wanted to go on a journey on foot? Forget noisy roads and long drives off-road? We believe that exploring a destination and join a walking trip is a great way to discover culture and the beauty of that land. At every step you discover new details, you grab something about the world and about yourselves. In peace and tranquility.

A walking tour in Malawi to reconnect with nature between villages on Lake Malawi, mountain trails that will allow us a different point of view. A small town where people move still often on foot, or by bicycle. This journey will bring us closer not only to the Rift valley views between plateaus, mountains, waterfalls, lakes and wildlife where the first explorers like David Livingstone moved often by only traveling on foot.

This journey on foot will usher us into the villages, among the people to discover the secrets of local culture and traditions. In the oldest tea plantations of the whole country, overlooking Mount Mulanje, the highest mountain in Southern Africa, the first in Zomba capital of the country with its plateaus and its heart, the market. We will face the walking safari in Liwonde National Park in search of the rare black rhino, we will dive into Lake Malawi, walking between the villages and without fail to visit social projects. In the heart of Africa for a trip on foot, including history, culture, safaris and unique natural scenery.

DURATION

14 days. Possible extensions in the unspoilt Majete Wildlife Reserve.

 

TRAVEL

The TRAVEL: Walking tour – Malawi walking in the Warm Heart of Africa.

About sixty kilometers from the city of Blantyre in southern Malawi, stands solitary massive Mulanje, called in Chichewa Island in the Sky, a large and spectacular granite of about 650km2.

The average altitude is about 2000 meters and at least a dozen peaks above 2500 meters populate this giant who has the distinction of being the highest mountain in Southern Africa, coming, with the peak of Sapitwa, at 3002m altitude.

Mount Mulanje, protected within the Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve at the base, is located at an average altitude of about 650m and is an area completely covered by a green mantle of tea and bamboo forests or unique plants found only here ( there are about 500).  The precious and famous and vulnerable Mulanje cedar, Widdringtonia whytei and endemic plants that grow here are preserved as part of the highest biodiversity of the entire Malawi plants. The diversity of ferns is amazing with over 100 recorded species in the forest and new species that have yet to be classified. Also endemic is the chameleon (Chamaeleo mlanjensis), two species of gecko (Lygodactylus rex) and L. bonsi and other frogs. Among the mammals are 66 species, including baboons, monkeys and small antelopes, hyenas, leopards, although difficult to see. It is the only place in Malawi where there is the rodent aethomys namaquensis. Mount Mulanje is also important for butterflies: we can count 233 species. 22 of the 56 species of birds found in the African archipelago mountain system, breed on Mount Mulanje.

Do not forget that tea and tobacco are key resources for Malawi, whose economy depends almost entirely on the cultivation of these two products. The first tea plantations in Africa were introduced in the late nineteenth century precisely in Malawi: the views open up spectacularly in huge and rolling hills covered by a spotless green mantle  and tea. Walking through the immense spaces of the plantations we meet the tea workers who patiently pluck the young leaves at the top of the plants, leaf by leaf, to fill the huge baskets on their backs.

Liwonde National Park, in the south of Malawi needs no introduction. It is certainly the most famous park in the country and in the interior, along the Shire River, abound many elephants and antelope such as Lichtenstein’s hartebeest  (Alcelaphus lichtensteini) and the  Sable antelope (Hippotragus niger), buffalo, zebras, hyenas, warthogs, baboons, hippos and crocodiles; hundreds of species of birds inhabit the park which is a real ornithological paradise. The vegetation is very diverse, ranging from forests of mopane, the palm trees, the grassland, the acacias, while the hills dominate the forests of miombo. For this the Liwonde is the only place in Malawi, where the inseparable Lilian Lovebird (Agapornis lilianaeis) nests. The park is also an IBA (Important Bird Area) recognized internationally with significant populations of rare or endangered species. Visit Zomba, the first capital of Malawi, with its colonial architecture, the old covered market and the legendary Zomba Plateau from where Livingstone spent to explore Lake Malawi and start to end slavery!

We will move on the banks of the third largest lake in Africa, in the Lake Malawi National Park, this  is a World Heritage Site, one of the world’s largest water reserves, by the clear waters and golden beaches that that cannot be compared to our Italian coast. It is estimated that the endemic fish that inhabit the waters, cichlids, are around 1000 species. The fishing villages and simplicity of Malawian life, with its rhythms from the lake. Here we surely meet the fishermen of the lake with their fishing canoes who are dedicated to following old traditions. The drying of fish is a ritual and a procedure in which they are involved, and the old women of the village help, while the children and the boys help the fishermen repairing nets. Malawi is indeed a warm and welcoming country. Its people have a warm and hospitable heart that in no other country in Africa we have ever heard. Away from tourism and despite the poignant beauty of its landscape, its hospitable and incredibly friendly people, the kilometers of pristine beaches of golden sand, Malawi is a country not yet discovered by tourism and this makes it even more fascinating.

 

MEANS OF TRANSPORT

The only distances traveled by jeep will be those to and from the airport of Blantyre and 5 hours of transfers in total. For 14 days, we will use only the legs! We will walk in contact with nature, a walking safari on the highest mountain in southern Africa and in the villages on the shores of Lake Malawi. A journey on foot that is still similar to what the explorer David Livingstone did.

GUIDES

The professional guides are selected on the field during our trek and have distinguished themselves for their high training, experience and reliability and are registered as  official guides from the Ministry of Tourism. They are guides that we have carefully chosen following an idea of sustainability of travel and social commitment, to ensure the traveler the most profound experiences that generate benefits for local communities.

ACCOMMODATION

In Zomba and in Liwonde National Park, sleep in eco-friendly lodges in unique positions. In Mulanje, at the base of the mountain, we will spend the nights in a nice colonial house,  where AfricaWildTruck is based, the nights on the mountain will be spent in simple but comfortable mountain huts, equipped with water and firewood. The mountain equipment (mats, tents and field kitchen will always be available).

On Lake Malawi we will spend the night in a colonial house. The facilities have been carefully chosen following an idea of land conservation and sustainability of travel, preferring  positions in close contact with nature. To get the list of lodge and camping write to us!

 

PERIOD/SEASON

Temperatures depend largely on the season, from the latitudes and altitudes. On the right is a table  indicative of average temperatures in the different seasons. The hottest month is November, the coolest month is June / July. The dry season is from April / May to November / December, during which we recommend hiking on the mountain. The wet season is usually from December / January to March / April. Contact us for more information on the current season, they are not all the same all the time!

TRAILS

The difficulties for excursions, ranging from moderate (T2) and possible for intermediate walkers being at  still a moderate altitude and on good trails with a number of ascents and descents quite challenging (T3) for walkers with a little training and on land a little disconnected.

WALKING TOUR GUIDE
Walking tour – For who

For walkers, for those who want to enjoy a bit of adventure and different rhythms of everyday life, for those who want to explore, for those who want to regain their time and shake off all the fears and enjoy unique places and traditions. For those who are fed up to spend time sitting in the car, for those who believe that a trip on foot is our natural means. For those who want to reconnect with nature, with the places and with  knowledge.

For inspired travelers, for those who believe in the values of responsible tourism and for those who think that their legs are the best means of transport.

Walking tour – How

With a small group of people (maximum 8) who think just like you and with local professional guides, qualified, experienced and working in the field, you’ll enjoy a walking trip in the countryside, on mountain trails, walking safaris in national parks, markets and villages you’ll meet on the road, walking on foot as much as possible.

You will have the chance to savor the journey slowly, so most “green,” without a trace. It will be a time of personal growth, you will enjoy the endless moments without having to run from one place to another and the baggage with which to return home will be enriched with new experiences and friendships. All this always in absolute safety.

The whole trip will be approached on foot, on paths and variable distances, but always comfortable and relaxing rhythms to allow rest any time of day. During the entire trip we will use the car for only 5 hours. Yes, that’s right, five hours total on a 15 day trip, to address transfers that walking would be uncomfortable and boring. In addition to the two transfers to and from the airport. The guides, which are present for the entire trip, are not only professionals and experts in nature of the regions we are exploring, but they at home! added value to enjoy the best of nature and of the traditions that make it Malawi unique.

Itinerary

Walking in contact with nature, we will enter in the villages with less pressing rhythms and much more human and discover traditions among the people to as well as the culture and secrets of the Chewa.

We will climb the highest mountain in southern Africa, through the plateau that lie between 2200 and 2500 m for a few days of trekking; starting from an altitude of 800, we will travel a journey that even today is similar to what  the explorer David Livingstone did. The mountain is not just nature. Often encountered along the way are some offerings Malawians give to the spirits of the mountain.

Accompanied by a professional guide, we will explore an area of the forest reserve made up of tracks, smells, endemic plants, birds and mammals such as antelope and small predators and countless suggestions that only nature can offer. It requests a passion for the mountains and a basic training, in addition to the observance of a few simple rules dictated by the peculiarities of the places.

In the highlands of Zomba, while walking at an altitude of 1800-2000 m, the paths will always be in good condition and not too demanding. Your walks in the tea gardens are sweet and quiet as well as the walks in markets and villages of Lake Malawi. The walking safari in Liwonde National Park will be accompanied by a professional guide and an armed ranger.

The hiking on Mount Mulanje is one of the most charming and fascinating experiences that you can do in Malawi and Africa in general.

Mount Mulanje is a mountain that offers mountain lovers the excitement of an ancient path and how it used to be

Photography during the walking tour

Photographers during the journey on foot will always be permitted to bring their own camera equipment. The guides will try to stop when they want and in the best conditions.

To know

Huts on the mountain are basic, with floor mats and without electricity and with a simple yet traditional “bucket shower”, hot shower with the bucket, like 100 years ago, when they were built. There is a magical atmosphere around the fire. The shelters apart  from the CCAP hut, are managed by the Malawian government, with a guardian within that will offer fire and hot shower. Consider also good hiking boots, a warm sleeping bag, binoculars, a head torch, sunscreen, hiking clothes and raincoats.  It is highly recommended to get a porter. Lunches are packed, while dinners and breakfasts are in self catering. The water is potable on the mountain. Africa Wild Truck only uses the services of certified guides and porters authorized by the Government of Malawi. In parks or in the reserves, you will be made to sign a discharge of responsibility required to access given the nature of the place.

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DAY 1 BLANTYRE, Malawi - MULANJE 80 km. Arrive in Blantyre, Malawi, welcoming and warm country: its people have a warm and hospitable heart that in no other country in Africa we have ever heard. Meeting with the staff of Africa Wild Truck and transfer to Mulanje, in one of the oldest colonial houses, situated in a lovely green setting. Full board

DAY 2 MULANJE. Day entirely dedicated to the journey on foot in the tea plantations before embarking on the climb and plan some details in order to customize the most of the hiking. Mulanje offers incredible views at the foot of the mountain, views of the hills and tea with endless expanses and bright green leaves and with room only to the red of the labyrinthine routes through the plantations, where you can meet the real Malawian life. Overnight stay in the ancient colonial house. Full board

DAY 3  MULANJE. On foot we will immerse ourselves in the lives of Malawi to visit one of the centers called Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO) that contributes positively to the creation of a solid foundation for primary education. Then on our way back we stop at the colorful market of Mulanje and have a feel the life of this small border village. (Short transfer 1 hour drive) Overnight in old colonial house. Full board

DAY 4  MULANJE - MADZEKA HUT. Departing at dawn to walk to the base of the massif of Mulanje which is 10 km about to take the path through primary forests, waterfalls and almost alpine lakes will lead to simple Madzeka hut. Spectacular scenery will open behind us before we get to the refuge, one of the smallest and cozy, where we would see the rare and endemic Mulanje cedar .Overnight in the refuge. Full board

DAY 5  MADZEKA - SOMBANI HUT. The journey is not as long and very flat in the typical vegetation of this African mountain massif. During the trek we will stop to admire the particular vegetation, to discover traces of the mammals that inhabit the plateau and discover the birds with binoculars. The panoramic views will be taken on the entire plateau, before reaching the Sombani  simple hut, where we will tell you the legends of the mountain! Overnight in the refuge. Full board

DAY 6  SOMBANI HUT - CCAP Hut. From Sombani hut, we will face a long road to traverse the entire mountain between streams that form beautiful swimming pools; the valley offers unique scenery to pretty ancient  CCAP Hut where the stars there will never seem so close. Overnight in the refuge. Full board

DAY 7  CCAP Hut - Likubula Forest Lodge. Last day of trekking to go down and leave behind the highest mountain in southern Africa. We will walk up to Likhubula forest lodge at the foot of Mulanje, awesome with a swim in the cool pools at the edge of the lodge. Brief visit to the local craft market. Overnight at the lodge. Full board

DAY 8  Likubula F.l. - ZOMBA PLATEAU. We will reach the dirt road in the first capital of Malawi, Zomba, where we will spend a pleasant day immersed in the local life of the city, in the colorful market, and on the Zomba Plateau, an area of 1800 meters boasting a remarkable forest extension, and numerous species of animals and plants unique to the world; the atmosphere of the ancient capital is still preserved in some historic buildings. (Short car transfer 2 hours). Overnight at the eco-lodge. Half board

DAY 9 zomba PLATEAU. The top of the Zomba Plateau is 1800 m and it offers an incredible view over the Rift Valley and the legendary Shire River. full day excursion to climb to the plateau, including a lush forest, streams, dams and waterfalls. You can decide whether to reach the Queen's View and the 'Emperor's View that are vantage points from which you can enjoy a top view of the Rift valley. With a little luck you can spot the shy Livingstone turaco, many vervet monkeys and enjoy the delicious berries. Possibility of pleasant excursions on horseback. Overnight at the eco-lodge. Half board.

DAY 10  Zomba - Liwonde national park. We will move into the village of Ulongwe where we will begin our journey towards the bank of the legendary Shire River. Cross walk the villages and markets before arriving at the gate of Liwonde National Park which is 14 km away where we will visit an interesting school project. We cross the river Shire, richly populated with crocodiles, hippos and elephants to reach the lodge. Accommodation in the middle of the park, in one of the most beautiful lodges / Malawi camps, overlooking the Shire River. (Short car transfer 1 hour) Full board.

DAY 11  Liwonde national park. In the morning wake up at dawn to face a walking safari in search of wild animals and the black rhino with the possibility of sighting of numerous antelopes, elephants and especially birdlife of the park. In the afternoon we will organize the famous boat safari to better spot and photograph the many elephants, hippos and crocodiles! The chances of sighting elephants are unique and often swim in front of us, across the river in search of food. Accommodation in the middle of the park, in one of the most beautiful lodges / Malawi camps, overlooking the Shire River. Full board.

DAY 12  Liwonde np - Lake Malawi national park. We will move on Lake Malawi National Park, heading for a bay where we will find a relaxing afternoon of fishing eagles and fishing villages with their canoes braving the waters of the third largest lake in Africa, one of the largest freshwater bodies in the world; it is estimated that the endemic fish that inhabit the waters, cichlids, are around 1000 species. (Short transfer 1 hour drive). Overnight in the lodge or colonial house on the lake. Full board

DAY 13 Lake Malawi national park. The fishing villages are many, and in the morning it is easy to meet the fishermen in their canoes while returning from a night of fishing. Lake Malawi in this area is close to the Lake Malawi National Park: a real sea and provides livelihood to all villages settled on the banks of the lake. From here we can walk in the local life, the fishing villages or arrange a boat trip to the island of Boadzulu, the lake Malawi National Park where we will be able to fully enjoy the wonder and the transparency of the lake. Women dry out the fish and prepare the stalls for sale. We will spend the day on Lake Malawi and in the villages to devote ourselves to the knowledge of the peoples business. Overnight in the lodge or colonial house on the lake. Full board

DAY 14  Lake malawi - Blantyre airport. Return to Blantyre through the fertile highlands of the Rift Valley; Transfer to airport for international departure flight.

ATTENDANCE FEE: 2350 USD

inclusive of VAT 16,5%, Tourism Levy 1%

PARTICIPANTS: MIN 2, MAX 8

 

DISCOUNTS

The following discounts are possible:

  • discounts for groups with at least 4 persons
  • family discounts: for children and young boys/girls under 12 years
  • 10% for travelers who already took part at least in a travel with AFRICA WILD TRUCK (minum base of 4 persons)

Discounts are subject to variations and can't be combined together.

 

THE FEE INCLUDES

  • Africa Wild Truck assistance 24 h
  • English speaking guides authorized by Forest Department (25 Usd per day)
  • Transfer from Blantyre to AfricaWildTruck base and from Lake Malawi to BlantyreChileka airport (80 km per way total 160 km) and a total of 5 hours of car, excluding from and to airport
  • all entry fees to the Mount Mulanje Forest Reserve and Liwonde national park
  • 2 safari in Liwonde national park and a walking safari
  • all overnights in lodge and basic huts as to program, see page 3
  • all meals where indicated Full board
  • VAT (16.5%), TOURISM LEVY (1%) and government taxes (30%)
  • 50 US dollars that AWT entirely donates to AROUND AWT (see page 11)

 

THE FEE DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • flights
  • Malawi Visa
  • Euroassistance/Globy or similar travel insurance (cancellation, luggage, health insurance highly advisable – it is possible to stipulate it with the above cited agency or online – write to us, we will help you to find the best solution!)
  • optional excursions not mentioned
  • drinks
  • any possible personal expense
  • tips
  • anything not expressely specified under "The fee includes"

 

 

BOOK!

Contact info@africawildtruck.com to book or to ask informations.

HEALTH

No obligation to vaccination. Write to us to have more information! Note that on

the mountain (above 2000 m) is malaria free.

We recommend these vaccines:

  • tetanus
  • typhoid fever
  • hepatitis A and B

Concerning malaria, disease transmitted by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito, its prevention is accomplished, first of all, with a mechanic prevention i.e. avoiding getting stung, following these rules:

  • sleeping under mosquito tents
  • using insecticide to get rid of possible mosquitos
  • after sunset, when mosquitos are more active, avoiding leaving parts of the body uncovered, wearing light-coloured long trousers and long-sleeve shirts, because dark colours attract mosquitos and spraying parts of the body uncovered with Autan Extreme

For the use of any possible antimalarial drugs we suggest that you consult your Public Health Service; health norms change very rapidly.

TRAVEL MEDICAL KIT

We suggest that you take with you a small supply of these medicines:

  • analgesics/fever reducers: acetylsalicylic acid and nimesulide
  • antibiotics like ciproxin or amoxicillin or clavulanic acid
  • antimalarials: anyway carry with you 2 packs of Lariam for emergency cases
  • antidiarrheals: loperamide or kaolin in case of symptoms (to use only if really necessary!)
  • rehydration salts: in case of fluid leaks
  • against car or air sickness: a pack of pills or chewing-gums
  • antihistamines: in case of allergic reactions
  • scissors, tweezers and thermometer
  • suntan cream
  • insecticides (like Autan Extreme)

Required documents and Visa

It is necessary to have a passport valid for at least 6 months after departure date with at least two free pages; for the entry in Malawi the Visa is obtainable under 75 Usd payment. Write us for more informations

CLOTHING

comfortable trekking shoes

technical sandals

easy to dry slippers for the shower

windbreaker

k-way

sweatshirt/pile

cotton/linen long trousers

cotton/linen long sleeve shirts

cotton T-shirts

bathing suit

panty

belly pack for passport

sunglasses

cap

OTHER

sleeping bag that can withstand up to 5 degrees for who is always cold

towel

binoculars

head torch-light

penknife/water bottle

camera/videocamera/spare batteries!!

passport photocopy and 2 passport photos

energy bars may be useful

any other mountain trekking that you might need

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