Mount Mulanje Hiking and Trekking area is a high mountain region of southern Malawi consisting of rocky peaks, high grasslands, deep gorges and fast moving rivers (with swimming holes and waterfalls). The hikes or treks broken down as day hikes or multi-day hikes. The Hiking Guide of Mount Mulanje, by Drew Corbyn is a must (around US$ 10 locally). I will borrow from the guide as inspiration but try to supplement it here with my experiences, maps and facts.
About Mount Mulanje
It is the highest range/massif in South-Central Africa. Sapitwa Peak at 3,002m is the highest of its 20 peaks.
Summary of Mount Mulanje Hiking Trailheads
There are 6 trailheads that tie into the general hiking, trekking or climbing routes.
Mountain Huts on Mount Mulanje
The 10 huts are operated by the Department of Forestry and the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT). The huts are minimal and first come first served (but no-one is turned away). See MCM site for details.
Mount Mulanje Park Fees
The primary entry point is the Ranger Station Gate outside the village of Likhubula. There is a car and per-person fee. The fee doesn’t appear to be a per day fee, just an entry fee.
Car & 2 people 2,500 Mk
To leave your car in one of the two lodges at the Likhubula entrance (secure parking) you must pay a day parking fee (700 Mk per day).
Mulanje Hiking and Trekking Lodges
There are two places to stay (or leave your car) within the Likhubula gate area. Both are very basic but acceptable.
Likhubula Forest Lodge – private rooms, dorm and camping.
Has ok camping area. Small house with comfortable porch area to sit, read and eat. Not for large groups.
CCAP Guesthouse – bungalows, dorms and camping (and river fed pool when water levels are high)
Very spread out with a long buildings of dorm rooms. Camping area small and sometimes full with overland truck people and tents. Run by a church and profits go to charity.
Africa Wild Truck Lodge Alternative
Even though the Africa Wild Truck Lodge was a distance from the Forestry Likhubula trail head, we wanted to spend a night there to enjoy the exceptional Italian food. The location is just of the main road, near Mulanje town, nestled on the edge of a vast tea plantation in a colonial era building. It is however near the Madzeka/ Hut 3/ Hydro plant trail head.
They provide two rooms, dorms and camping and prices are very reasonable. See website for additional details. We camped at US$ 10 pp per night. Excellent facilities and nightly 3 course meals.
Mulanje Hiking and Trekking Guides & Porters
The forestry department has a list of official guides (used primarily for multi-day hikes). The stated rate is US$ 25 per day for guides and $ 20 per day for porters (although prices are negotiable if you hire directly, see my discounted price list below). The department also offers equipment rentals. To find the office from the Likhubula gate, take a right at the split and then the first left driveway. Building is about 100m down the dirt road.
|Entry Fee per visit
Vehicle Entry Fee
Hut Fee per night
Camping Fee per night
Forestry office car park
|K1000 per person
K500 per car (K1000 a day)
K1000 per adult (kids K500)
K500 per adult (kidsK250)
K100 per day
US $ 25 per day
US $ 20 per day
Note that MCM members get 50% on hut, guide and porter fees. Pay guides & porters some money up front so they can buy food for the trip. Also see my tip recommendation below.
To leave your car in one of the two lodges at the Likhubula entrance (secure parking) you must pay a day parking fee (600 – 800 Mk per day).
Hut watchman gets 500 Mk per person per night.
Car watchman gets 1000 Mk per car per night (unless you are paying the lodges directly).
Located at the M3 turn-off to Likhubula, also arranges and provides details. Best source for guides, porters and lodging.
0888 122 645
0999 771 122
For Guides & More call 088 462 4263
Or email: email@example.com
Mulanje Hiking and Trekking Sources
Hiking Guide to Mount Mulanje, by Drew Corbyn.
Available in Blantyre at the Mandala House bookshop, Central Africana Bookshop, Uta Waleza Center and other local bookshops. Also available (at half price) from MCM and its members.
Mount Mulanje Topo Map is a must. Available at bookshops and from the MCM and its members (at a reduced price).
Mountain Club of Malawi Mulanje Info
The MCM provides deep discounts on the guide books, maps, guide and porter rates, keys to the hut cooking and sleeping equipment (so you don’t have to carry your own stuff) and much more. The annual membership fee (2018) was 6000 Mk per year.
But to see what is actually going on you need to join the Facebook page.
Download the Hiking-Guide-to-Mount-Mulanje Guide pdf
Rock Climbing Malawi
Visit the following Rock Climbing MCM page for a large source of local rock climbing guides and pdf documents.
Mulanje Hiking and Trekking Phone Apps
Available from AppStore, GooglePlay
I prefer the Locus app and now use it exclusively. I downloaded the free Malawi and Mozambique maps and they contain all the required & expected details. All my provided GPS routes, tracks and waypoints are created with the Locus app.
Available from AppStore, GooglePlay & Kindle Fire
Contains 18 routes covered in the Hiking Guide above.
Note that I could not download the Viewranger app from Malawi (App is not available in your country message). I had to install a VPN app with a Canada profile on my phone then trick the GooglePlay store into thinking I was in North America. Once the app was downloaded I could download maps and routes normally from within Malawi.
I keep this app on my phone only because of the downloaded MCM routes that I use as reference only.
This used to be my usual go-to for off the grid or in the city free mapping, but I have never figured out how to add waypoints, tracks, etc. So now I only use it as a backup to my backup.
Other Interesting Links
Mulanje Weather on the Mountain site.
See Summit Sapitwa for the summit post.
See Trekking & Hiking in Malawi for the More Adventures.
How to Buy/Sell or Overland with a Car in Malawi (for Expats) page.