Monday, 19 March 2012

Luwawa Forest, Mzimba

Our Duke of Edinburgh award took us to the Northern region of Malawi for a weekend. With our maps, compasses, tents and packed rucksacks we were prepared for anything. Our destination was Luwawa, more specifically Luwawa forest lodge camping site.

Luwawa Forest Reserve is nestled in the Viphya Mountains in Mzimba district in northern Malawi, at 5500 ft. above sea level. One of the most peaceful, beautiful and scenic locations in Northern Malawi. And Luwawa Forest Lodge is only 8 km east of the main M1 road in the Luwawa Forest Reserve. The Viphya Plateau, with hundreds of kilometres of forest tracks and trails, provides an amazing location for adventurers to experience true freedom over the terrain. The forest reserve is a splendid man-made pine jungle with pines that soar as far as 75 feet into the air. One of the largest man-made forests in Africa, and it is truly a sight to see. As we left the main road and entered the forest, we drove east in the direction of the lodge. The lodge is well placed in the beautiful and tranquil Luwawa Valley overlooking Luwawa Dam.

After arriving and settling down at the camp site, we had our dinner and prepared for the next day. We  woke up the next day and started getting ready, packed up our tents at the break of dawn as we split up into groups and followed our compass bearings with our compass and maps. Our journey took us to some of the most beautiful places in Malawi.

Malawi is mountainous with high plateau’s, lakes and flood plains, these features give it its physical character, it forms the southern end of the African rift lake valley. And the rolling hills which where always in sight where thick with pine trees and the scent of pine was ever present. We explored the beautiful woodland, highland plateau trails. We came to a clearing where we set up camp. We wandered about, until we came to some beautiful waterfalls and pools.

Certain cycling trails lead to Lake Malawi and these are great ways to get to the beach, one gets to sample different natural environments from the forested areas in the Luwawa Forest to the breath-taking palm fringed beaches of Lake Malawi. The combination of mountainous landscapes and lakes merged with the colours and scenery of Africa make Malawi a wonderful holiday experience. Time did not allow us to do so, but it’s definitely on my to-do list.

After we settled and cooked our dinner, we slept. The next day was the longest of them all as we made our way to the main road, the M1. The scenery was still amazing; I definitely don’t recall any dull scenery. Pine trees literally carpeted the region. It was a relief to eventually reach the main road, all in all, it was an amazing adventure.