The small town of Mulanje in the south of Malawi is the centre of Malawi’s tea growing industry. The main attraction in the town is Mount Mulanje. Mulanje is a spectacular 650km2 granite inselberg that rises in dramatic isolation above the Phalombe Plains southeast of Blantyre. The massif consists of a plateau of rolling grassland set at an average elevation of 2,000m, but this is incised by several thickly wooded ravines, and studded with 20 peaks of 2,500m or higher, including Sapitwa, the highest point in central Africa at 3,002m. The structure and altitude of the mountain have led to the development of a unique climate for the area, which is charaterised by high rainfalls from November to April. This climate favours the development of unique ecology of rare and endemic life forms which contribute to the massif’s high biodiversity. The high rainfall, deep ravine and dense vegetation have favoured the birth of many rivers which supply reliable clean water to thousands of households in the surrounding plains.
credit: David Davies