Rising nearly 1800m behind Zomba town, and carpeted in thick stands of pine, the Zomba Plateau is beguilingly pretty. As you ascend the snaking road past wildflowers, stoic locals heaving huge burdens of timber, and roadside strawberry vendors, the place almost feels like alpine France; then a vervet monkey jumps out, a pocket of blue mist envelops your car, and you remember you're in Africa. This gorgeous highland paradise, replete with streams, lakes and tumbling waterfalls, is home to monkeys, bushbucks, and birds including mountain wagtails and Bertram’s weavers.
The plateau can be covered on foot, mountain bike or car (4WD only on the back roads), with myriad winding trails that ring and cross the mountain. It's divided in two by the Domasi Valley. The southern half has a tarred road to the top, a hotel, several picnic places, waterfalls and viewpoints, and a network of driveable tracks and hiking paths.