Dangers & Annoyances
Some of the hiking routes are impassable or otherwise dangerous. The route from Madzeka Hut to Lujeri Tea Estate is very steep, for example, as are the Boma Path and the path from Lichenya Hut to Nessa on the southwestern side of Mulanje.
Open fires are not allowed – this is especially important during the latter part of the dry season when there is a serious fire risk. The collecting of plants and animals is also forbidden.
Hikers should remember that Mulanje is a big mountain with notoriously unpredictable weather. After periods of heavy rain, streams can become swollen and impassable – do not try to cross them! Wait until the flood subsides or adjust your route to cross in safety further upstream. Also, be aware that much of the mountain’s granite surface can become very slippery and dangerous when wet. Even during the dry season, it’s not uncommon to get rain, cold winds and thick mists, which make it easy to get lost.
Between May and August, periods of low cloud and drizzle (called chiperone) can last several days, and temperatures drop below freezing. Always carry a map, a compass and warm and waterproof clothing should the weather change, or you risk suffering from severe exposure. Never set out on a climb alone and always tell someone where you’re going and when you plan to return.
The Guide to Mulanje Massif, by Frank Eastwood, has information on ascent routes and main peaks plus a large section on rock climbing, but nothing on the routes between huts.
If you need detailed maps, the Department of Surveys prints a map of the mountain at 1:40,000, which shows most of the paths and huts. The 1:30,000 Tourist Map of Mulanje covers a similar area, overprinted with extra information for hikers. Both should be available from the Department of Surveys Map Sales Offices in Lilongwe and Blantyre, but stocks often run dry.