South African Airways, KLM and Ethiopian Airlines offer two-stop flights from Washington Dulles to Blantyre. From Blantyre, it’s a $1 bus ride south toward Chitakale, just west of Mulanje town.
WHERE TO STAY
Ten mountain huts scattered across the plateau. Most are near a source of clean water, and all have fires for cooking, but you need to bring all food and cooking utensils with you from the lowlands. Hut fees are around $3 a night per person.
Kara O’Mula Country Lodge
P.O. Box 80095, Chichiri
This century-old former district commissioner’s residence is one of the more salubrious accommodation options at the foot of Mount Mulanje. The chalets boast spectacular views of the mountain. Doubles from $65.
P.O. Box 1744, Blantyre
This small family-run guesthouse is a highly recommended option in Blantyre, with spacious rooms, great hospitality and a quiet location just outside the city center. Doubles from $125.
All arrangements for trekking on Mount Mulanje can be made at the infoMulanje office in Chitakale, which is run by the Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust. You’ll need to have decided on your route so that you can pre-book bunk space in the mountain huts — see maps and route information on the Mountain Club of Malawi Web site (www.mcm.org.mw). Camping is permitted only when the huts are full, and only in areas immediately surrounding the huts. Park entrance fees are around 25 cents a day. You can also hire a guide (around $9 per day) and a porter (around $7 per day) from an official list.