At over 2,000 metres above sea level, the Zomba Plateau forms part of the Shire Highlands beyond the southern end of Lake Malombe.
The plateau is a refreshingly cool and tranquil upland area – a pleasant mix of dense forest and farmland that stands proud from the surrounding Phalombe plain. Enjoying its own micro-climate, Zomba offers a combination of rare plants and spectacular views.
Zomba town on the plateau was once, and somewhat improbably, Malawi’s former capital city. A road runs up to Zomba town and many visitors take a taxi up – thus avoiding a six-hour hike – and then opt for a leisurely and scenic walk back.
Focal point of Zomba town is the Sunbird Ku Chawe Inn, a great place to enjoy a drink and a good meal. Visitors planning to venture beyond Zomba and into the surrounding forest, with its dense vegetation, are advised to hire a guide. There is no lack of young locals eager to act as guides.
Once out of Zomba, visitors are presented with a series of spectacular waterfalls, of which the most impressive is Williams Falls. In addition, the lookout points at Queen’s View and Emperor’s View provide a spectacular vista of southern Malawi and the landscape all the way to Mozambique. Visitors also have an opportunity to climb to the top of Chawe Mountain, famed for its delicious wild raspberries and gooseberries.
Accommodation is available at the delightful 37-room Sunbird Ku Chawe Inn, the Zomba Forest Lodge or, for budget travellers, The Trout Farm.