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The spectacular view from the Zomba Plateau © Malawi Tourism
With an extensive network of paths winding their way through the plateau’s forests, Zomba is a haven for hikers and ramblers.
Rising to the immediate northeast of the eponymous town, the Zomba Plateau is an isolated syenite protrusion that extends over around 130km² and reaches an altitude of 2,087m at Malumbe Peak in the southwest. The plateau’s northwest rim forms the southern escarpment of the Upper Shire Valley, and is characterised by sheer drops of up to 1,200m, offering spectacular views over the plains below. Much of the plateau is protected in Malawi’s oldest forest reserve (gazetted in 1913), and while much of the indigenous vegetation has made way for pine plantations, it also supports significant patches of indigenous riverine and montane forest, as well as areas of tangled scrub and Brachystegia woodland. A large dam was constructed in 1999 in the bowl of the mountain, but this does little to interrupt the natural feel.