An imposing massif of sheer granite cliffs, Mount Mulanje rises 3000m above the surrounding plains below as one of Malawi's most impressive sights. Known as the 'Island in the Sky' by locals, on a hazy day it's easy to see why. As the mist rises it envelops the mountain, leaving only the peak which seemingly floats high above the ground. It's one of the country's more unique sights and a worthy excuse to take out the camera and capture the moment.
With holidays to Mount Mulanje discover dense green forest that carpets the mountain's gaping valleys while the rivers that fall from its cliffs create spectacular waterfalls. Driving around the foot of Mulanje is a good way to take in the massif, which encompasses around 600sq km, although climbing it and hikes through the forests are perhaps the best ways to get in touch with the mountain. While reaching Mulanje's highest point, Sapitwa, may be a challenge to the novice climber, there are plenty of easily reached peaks to attempt that are just as much fun.
The mountain is home to a number of different wildlife species, including the tiny klipspringer antelope and cheeky vervet monkeys. Birding is also prolific with kestrels, white-necked ravens, black eagles and buzzards to be seen.
There's plenty of wildlife on the mountain too - klipspringers, vervet monkeys and rock hyraxes are all seen regularly, and birdlife includes black eagles, buzzards and kestrels. The River Lichenya falls down Mulanje's south-west slopes and is abundant with trout - something visitors can benefit from with fishing on offer.
The hinterland of the mountain is awash with tea estates, an industry which is currently booming in the area. The estates are excellent bases for exploring Mulanje and it can be interesting to stay on one, with the Lujeri Tea Estate and Huntingdon House good options to consider.
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A colonial property in the Shire Highlands, Huntingdon House is found on the Satemwa Tea Estate. Originally built in 1928, this is an option that holds plenty of history and character. From Huntingdon explore Mount Mulanje and the Zomba Plateau.
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