As much or as little as you want...
Zomba was the old capital of Malawi (it even once won the prize for being the prettiest capital in British Colonial Africa) and although it has lost some of its grandeur, it really is a pleasure to explore. And Zomba Plateau is literally right on its doorstep so there is plenty to do around here.
The lodge lies in 20 acres of mixed woodland, varying from indigenous rainforest in the valley by the stream, to pine on the slopes and giant eucalyptus trees overhanging the garden and there are lots of little trails meandering through, perfect for those after a little wander.
If you are after some more serious hiking, there are a number of trails from the lodge, including a couple that will take you up to the Plateau itself but be prepared, getting up there alone, will take you 1.5 hours :)
There is also an immense variety of birds, including the rare white winged apalis, the crimson wing and the double-coloured forest sunbird feeding from the flowers mere inches from the veranda, a real treat for the eyes. For bird enthusiasts, there are plenty to keep you busy!
And then, during the rainy season, we also have lots of orchids so why not come on an orchid hunt and see how many you can find?
For those who are interested, we are more than happy to talk about and show you around our TREEZ conservation project :)
And if you don't want to go out alone, why not go on a dog walk with Petal and our always happy hounds?!
Only 25 minutes drive away, the city’s laid back atmosphere makes it perfect for those wanting to wonder around and there is plenty to see here as well: visit the botanical gardens and wander the tree-lined avenues dotted with old colonial houses, visit the colourful market and the War Memorial to name but a few.
On the Plateau:
25 minutes drive up the mountain, the Plateau offers plenty of hiking trails including to the 'bottomless' Chingwe's Hole, to Mulunguzi Dam, William’s Falls, Ku Chawe for a drink or two, and many others. We are sorry but the Plateau Stables are no longer open. If you are interested in riding, it is still possible but not on the Plateau - Just ask us for details :)
For hiking, we highly recommend taking a guide for the following reasons:
- He will delight in sharing his local knowledge about the Plateau
- He will enable you not to get lost (definite bonus)
- You will be putting money into the local economy - income generation and job creation are some of the best things that you can do if you want to help the country :)
We have helped set up the Zomba Tour Guide Association and its' members all have ID cards so when choosing a guide, please make sure he is a member. For a list of the tour guides, please click here, - if you would like to know what they look like, you can click here :)
In the vicinity:
Liwonde National Park is only an hour up the road and the Southern Lakeshore is super close as well so you could do some hiking, some elephant watching and then a well-deserved dip in the lake, all in a matter of days!
In the other direction, Mulanje is only a couple of hours away, as are the tea estates and another couple of hours to get to Majete Wildlife Reserve!
Closer to home:
Chikala Pillars: Chikala Pillars are a natural sandstone feature unlike anything else in Malawi. To find them ask Tom or Petal as it is not easy. You will definitely need a 4x4
The Magic Tree: Also known as the Chilema Tree. It is a fig tree that covers about an acre beyond St Lukes in Malosa at the Chilema Ecumenical Centre. To view it, the centre charges 1$ per person and is well worth it - a bit like something from Lord of the Rings :)
Lake Chilwa: It was named in 1997 as a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site and a Wetland of International Importance as the lake and its associated wetlands are home to over 160 species of birds!
Sadly, the number of birds have been declining due to over fishing and degradation of the surrounding areas. It remains however a very beautiful location.
Guests can drive there and hire a guide and a boat to take them out on to the lake although we recommend hiring a guide from Zomba who can then do the haggling for you once there :) Make sure to ask the boatman to take you to the floating islands - homes to numerous fishermen.