Hiking Zomba Plateau, Malawi

We were at the gorgeous Cape Maclear by Lake Malawi when we couldn’t stop hearing people talking about Zomba. A stay in Zomba town seemed a must do when you are in Malawi. I didn’t really understand why, what is better than staying in Cape Maclear by the lake? Why everybody goes to Zomba? Zomba is almost 3h by car from Cape Maclear and 45min from Blantyre, so not far but not really close either.

We packed the car, prepared Ginger, and went to see for ourselves why Zomba was a must see. I knew it as soon we arrived, one of the reasons? The Zomba Plateau, a beautiful mountain of 1800m a.s.l. that raises up from town! Everywhere you are in town you have the stunning view of the mountain in the clouds. What a surprise! We had to go up there!

We quickly went to buy supplies at Shoprite and Peoples Choice supermarkets, and prepared some things for camping on the Plateau as soon as we saw that beauty! We had to have a good lunch before the camping days as I am not really a good cook, so we went to the beautiful Italian Casa Rossa Restaurant just before heading up. Amazing food! Now we were ready for exploring!

 

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Ging at Williams Falls

 

We started driving up on the 6th of June. We had some troubles finding where we decided to stay, but finally after some questions to the locals (we don’t have GPS hahaha) we found it – The Trout Farm.  Just a big lawn of lush green grass and a place for a bonfire. That was all and perfect, and for just $1.5/day. Totally back to nature just how we like! No showers, no people, nothing, just us, the nature and the stars.

We found out that there are lakes and waterfalls in the Plateau! We hiked for 3 days, going to the waterfalls (Williams Falls) and walking the round track at the top where the views are really stunning. You can even see Mozambique from Queen’s and Emperor’s View. We didn’t get a guide, it is not that difficult at all, but if you want to make it easier for $10/day a local guide will take you to the lookout points.

 

 

 

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Ging and I early in the morning at the Trout Farm

 

Our 4 days camping were absolutely awesome! We really enjoyed the serenity and Ginger had the best time. In fact, it was her first time in a proper forest and she was on fire. She ran and ran, smelling everything, for hours.

Funny thing? There are some free grazing horses at the Farm who eat the grass all day long enjoying the sun and the very big enclosure. Ginger tried to be dominant with one of them, it was, also, her first time to meet a horse, and obviously was a bad idea. The horse charged at her and started charging at me and I didn’t understand why. Why? because she was hiding behind me!! hahaha I wanted to to kill her!

 

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Ginger warming up at night (Trout Farm)

 

The stars at night time are stunning and special.  The Trout Farm is off the normal tourist track as there is normally not more than one other car, but this made it even more perfect to stay.  It was just us! Make sure you bring all the food you need and really warm clothes as there is no where close to buy and it is freezing cold as soon as the sun goes down! 🙂 And if you like strawberries you will find on the drive up to the Plateau the best ones, a big supermarket bag of fresh strawberries for less than $3!! Best thing ever!

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Stars with the light of the fire (Trout Farm)

 

After the 4 days camping we sadly headed down to Zomba town to get ready for our next adventure, and it was going to be a big one: hike MT. MULANJE!! The highest mountain in SE Africa!!

 

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Ging and I having cuddles in the morning in our home (Trout Farm)

 

If you are in Malawi, go to hike Zomba Plateau, it is so worth it! Waterfalls, views, nature, stars,… And if you travel with your dog like me, even more!

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Good to know:

  • Trout Farm: if you like camping or you have an overland truck or campervan I recommend you to stay here on the Zomba Plateau. You are really going to love it! It is a little bit difficult to find, so make sure know how to go or be ready to ask tons of times!
  • Casa Rossa Restaurant: a cute Italian restaurant at the beginning of the Plateau. They have 3 beautiful giant dogs who make the stay extra special. Sadly, Ging had to stay in the car while we were having some lunch as their dogs are very territorial with others, but not a big deal at all. The food was really good, handmade cheese and ice cream, and gorgeous views, maybe the best ones in town. Besides being a restaurant, it is a lodge and a campsite too.  A really lovely couple own Cassa Rossa, they even helped us to start our car when we broke down close to their place 😦
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    Views from our table at Cassa Rossa, in the distance Mt. Mulanje

     

  • Pakachere: the backpackers of Zomba town. Nice and really lovely owners who will help you if you need advice about where to go and things to do. Ginger was treated really great here, she was sleeping on the couches and running free in the yard. Great location right on the base of the Plateau. We had a really lovely stay for 4 days while we were getting ready the next adventure!
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Our Landcruiser at  Packachere’s yard after the camping days

 

  • Chitenges: everybody says Zomba has beautiful, quality, and really cheap fabrics, you can find 4m for less than $3!! Absolutely crazy! (Close to Shoprite and the market). Unfortunately the shop was closed the day we went… oh well next time.

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