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Michiru Mountain

 
 
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yamiko enjoying his hike
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

Do you live in Malawi’s busy commercial city, Blantyre? Ever got bored and wondered about the nearest places you could go to and feel miles away from the commotion?

 

Well, I faced similar thoughts; tired of the traffic, hooting of vehicles, people shouting and hustling for a sale. After looking around I found the answers and they have always been there. I could go hiking. Blantyre lies in a hilly area, full of mountains. There is Ndirande, Chiradzulu, Soche and Michiru mountains. All that was left was to choose which one to go to.


Michiru Mountain came up first because I remembered reading so much about its beautiful views of Blantyre city from the summit and variety of bird life.  I decided to try it out. Michiru Mountain stands at 1470m and 46 km². It was established as a conservation area in 1975. It is dominated by brachystegia woodland.


I invited Mayamiko Kakhobwe who has always been interested to try out hiking. He had not done this before and I thought it would be a good experience for him.

 

On the Sunday morning we started off from town taking the Glyn Jones Road, turning right by St Paul’s Church (Adventist Hospital turn) on Kabula Hill, then took the first left. After few minutes we arrived at a small trading centre with few shops before we got to a bridge. The tarmac road ends after the bridge. We carried on with the dirty road for about 5.5 km. The road is well marked with signs to the forestry offices.
By 7am we had arrived at the forestry offices. There was no one and we thought we were too early. For safety reasons, it is always advisable to sign in the visitor’s book and let the officers know what your plans are before you start hiking.

 

 

There were few contact numbers on one of the boards within the car park and Mayamiko tried calling them but did not manage to speak to anyone. We waited for few more minutes while deciding which route to take.

 

The car park has a map of the reserve with a number of marked routes. Route one is ideal for bird watchers and is only a 30mins walk into the reserve. Route two is good for recreation and takes you to the picnic site. For those looking for a challenge, route three and four would be ideal. They are very steep, good for exercise and take you to the summit (1473m). Some of the things you are bound to see will be monkeys, baboons, buck and hyenas (if lucky, in the evening times), as well as a wide variety of birds.

 

We decided to take the more direct route to the peak, route 4.  

 

We started off at around 7:20am. The first parts of the walk were gentle, clear and marked.

 
     


After half an hour’s walk the path became narrow and they divert in all sorts of directions, so I would advise taking a guide or someone who knows the area pretty well. Mayamiko was doing very well and enjoying every part of it.

 

 

As we got to higher ground stunning views started appearing. Just one glance and we knew the view was going to get even better the higher we went. We battled with some areas that were steep and enjoyed the others that were gentle and easy. At times we needed support from the trees for grip not to slide backwards.

 

 

Soon we could see Ndirande, Soche, Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Zomba Mountains and places like Chirimba, Nthawila, the Shire valley, Chileka and even had a chance to see few planes land and take off at Chileka airport.

 

 

After two hours we were right on the summit and all the sweating had paid off. The sight that greeted our eyes was nothing less than stunning. Every effort repaid twice over such a view which can only truly be experienced on the summit. We could see the whole mountain chain and was so amazing and breathe taking. It was peaceful and quite. It felt like we were miles away from the busy city life and yet within. The weather was clear and that gave us a chance to see the views much clearly. This was just like a movie scene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayamiko and I on the summit

 

 

 

However, care needs to be taken as some of the mountain’s sides are very steep and rocky and the peak is near vertical cliff on one side.

 

After admiring the views, we had our snack and started off coming down. Mayamiko was so over whelmed and excited that he had done it.

However, I had earlier warned him about the difficulties he could face when coming down. Barely after few minutes, he started complaining about his legs. All in all, we took it easy feeling great that we had done it, great exercise and felt like an out of town activity.

 

Upon reaching the bottom once again we were overcome with the feeling that we were with nature and understood our place in the world and we were both already itching to do it again.

     

 

It only took us an hour; we signed the visitor’s book before we started off back to town.


We were happy that we had done it quicker and faster than the estimated times.


A big thumb up to the Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi for keeping the area conserved and protected. They still need the support. For more details please call the Blantyre branch on +265 (0) 1 669 249 or email: wesm@africa-online.net

 

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