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In the eastern part of Malawi sits the historic town of Zomba. Zomba was the home of Malawi’s parliament up until 1994 and was the town that housed the majority of government ministries before everything moved to the new capital of Lilongwe. Zomba has always been a quiet, sleepy town even in the heyday of British Colonial government and the newly established, energised independent government of Malawi. Even today the Chancellor College campus, as well as other colleges and faculties are found within the town limits, making this a busy and bustling town. But what Zomba is known most for is the plateau that casts it shadow over the town.

A rest boat, ready for its next adventure on Mulunguzi reservoir

The Zomba Plateau rises to over 6,500ft at its highest point. It has a total area of 50 sq miles and is a mix of tropical vegetation of savannah scrub. Over the years the plateau has been explored and developed. I n the old days (pre the late 1990s) there was one road up and one road down. The one-way system was abandoned, with the down road being closed off and traffic now operating both ways on the up road. The road ascending the plateau gives you stunning views of Zomba town and the Domasi valley. On a clear day you can see Mulanje Massif and Blantyre, both 60km away.

The first major site you see on the plateau as you reach the top is Mulunguzi Dam. This dam, built in the late 1990s, supplies the town and surrounding area with a reliable supply of water, being fed from the Mulunguzi river. The river is the heart of the plateau and many of the walks and trails follow the river or cross it at some point. Walking along its bank with the lush vegetation and only meeting the occasional walker makes it a secluded place among the trees.

Zomba Plateau has provided respite for many over the years. With civil servants and diplomats in close proximity in Zomba and in Blantyre, it was a welcome get away from the heat of summer, allowing for cooler nights and fresher days. Both the British and American governments have had cottages on the plateau, as well as a sprinkling of other residences owned by individuals. The Sunbird Ku Chawe Inn is always a welcome stop for refreshing drinks and snacks and is truly a hotel in the clouds!

From fishing to horse riding, mountain biking to hiking, Zomba has so much to offer. Spending a few days at one of the cottages, relaxing on the khonde and taking gentle stroll in the woods refreshes the soul. There have been numerous guides that have tried to capture the essence of the plateau. In their 1975 guide Martin and Kittle Cundy capture their heart appreciation of this wonderful place.

Above all, we praise the Creator who has made Zomba Mountain for us on of those things which we are given richly to enjoy.

A winding path into the heart of the forest

It is truly a rich and wonderful place where the beauty of creation can be fully explored and enjoyed. But for all its beauty it should point to the one who made it. The plateau looks strong and steadfast but the psalmist writes in Psalm 121,

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121: 1-2

If you ever have the chance to visit Zomba and its mountain, stay a while and enjoy its vistas and forests. Sit beside still, glassy lakes and enjoy being in the clouds as they envelope you. But above all, remember the creator who has given such a beautiful place to be enjoyed.

You can download a scanned copy of the Cudy’s book about Zomba Mountain here.

Monday Malawi Memories recaptures memories from over 20 years in Malawi. Photos won’t be in chronological order and can be on the Lilongwe Letters blog, and my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. You can also find them using the hashtag #mondaymalawimemories.

Visit my Instagram page to see the collection of photos memories at You can listen to the sounds of Africa on my playlist. Listen and follow links to music streaming services at

Night fall over Zomba

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