For the climber and non-climber alike, Mount Mulanje has an indefinable attraction. It must rank as one of the most majestic sights in Malawi, rising steeply from the rolling, lush green hillsides. These are the renowned tea plantations, covering hill and valley with a glorious even-topped growth, and dotted with shade trees strategically planted to shelter the tea bushes. Colourfully dressed tea pickers with great round baskets walk waist-high along the rows of bushes as they pluck the tender top leaves.

Mount Mulanje rises to 3 OOOm and its many soaring peaks are often capped by cloud, enveloping it in mystery. On its steep slopes grow stands of the unique Mulanje cedar, some of which have been known to exceed two hundred years in age. The massif is broken up by deep gorges, down which rivers with spectacular waterfalls tumble. The lower reaches are accessible by car and swimming in the cold mountain water is exhilarating.

Trout fishing in idyllic surroundings such as these or high on the plateau must be experienced to be believed. For the climber or energetic hill walker there are many steep paths up the mountain, leading to magnificent plateaus, where pine forests and trout streams provide rest and refreshment after the long climb. There are forestry huts which can be used for overnight stays, and a two or three day round trip is recommended. Rock hyrax, klipspringer and the rare blue or Nchima monkey can be seen.

Various species of Erica grow all over the plateau, and iris, proteas and aloes are found in abundance, as are the yellow and white helichrysum, carpeting the ground in spring. On exposed rocky areas, the exotic staghorn lily, Vellozia Splendens, clings tenaciously.

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