Hiking to Sapitwa from Thuchila (Mount Mulanje)
About Sapitwa Peak, the highest mountain in Malawi
Hiking Difficulty Scale:
Estimated Hiking Time: 3days / 2nights (About 24km round trip)
Best Season to Hike: May – Early September (Cool and dry)
Sapitwa is the highest mountain in the Mulanje range at 3,002m.
This 3 day circular route is the second most popular alternative to the normal route from Likhubula.
It does not pass through popular places such as Likhubula Falls and Chapaluka Pools, but is a great natural route, crossing beautiful open plateaus and several rivers.
Starting from Thuchila, it is the quickest way to Chisepo hut and Sapitwa.
This is a good option for those who have already visited Mulanje and seen the Likhubula Falls or want to keep the walking distance as short as possible.
It covers about 24 km in three days, so it is advisable to wear suitable trekking shoes and to bring buy walking sticks at the entrance to Thuchila.
Depending on the season, it can be quite hot during the day but freezing cold at night.
Bring warm, suitable hiking clothes.
You will need to prepare your own food.
You can buy some fruits and vegetables in Mulanje town, but it is recommended that you buy seasonings, coffee, tea, bread and pasta in Blantyre before you arrive in Mulanje.
Water is available and safe to drink at all the water sources and huts throughout the mountain.
On the first day you will walk from Thuchila Tourist Lodge to Chisepo Hut at the foot of Sapitwa.
This is a long hike of 5-6 hours in total, but it gives you plenty of time to prepare for summiting the next day.
Day 2 is a round trip to Sapitwa (5-6 hours) and a trek to Thuchila Hut (2-3 hours).
The weather in the mountains can be changeable, but the mornings are often relatively clear, so summiting in the morning will give you the best chance of a spectacular view from the top.
Sapitwa is a strenuous hike with some decent rock climbs and steep hills, but it is not impossible for a fit adult.
It can be slippery and dangerous at times.
Please follow your guide’s advice.
On the last day you will return from Thuchila Hut to Thuchila Tourist Lodge, a 4-5 hour walk.
The legs are tired and sore from the previous days, but the views across the valley are fantastic.
Route to the Summit
Day1: From Thuchila Tourist Lodge to Chisepo Hut
1. Gate at Thuchila Tourist Lodge
2. Thuchila Tourist Lodge which you can stay and park your car.
3. The hiking begins. Chisepo Hut is about 5-6 hours away.
4. A walk through the majestic plateau.
5. Arrive at Chisepo Hut with Sapitwa in the background.
Inside the Chisepo Hut
There is no electricity and the mobile signal is very weak at the Hut. Hot water for the showers is provided by helpers in a bucket.
Day2: Chisepo Hut – Sapitwa – Chambe Hut
6. It takes about 2 hours and half to reach the top of Sapitwa.
7. A long and steep ascent, the most difficult point on the way to the summit of Sapitwa.
8. After a long gradient, the Sapitwa comes into view.
9. You see rocks that look like rabbit ears.
10. At the end of this big rock is the summit.
11. Goal!!!!! This is the highest point in Malawi!
View from the Summit
12. Turn back the way you came and head for Thuchila Hut.
The return journey to Chisepo Hut also takes 2.5 hours and the journey from Chisepo Hut to Thuchila Hut takes another 2-3 hours.
13. Refill your bottles at the waterfall. The water is cold and clean.
14. Arrive at Thuchila Hut.
Inside the Thuchila Hut
There is no electricity, but enough signal to communicate. Hot water for the showers is provided by helpers in a bucket.
Sunset from Elephant Head near Thuchila Hut.
Day3: Thuchila Hut to Thuchila Tourist Lodge
15. Depart from Thuchila Hut to Thuchila, a 4-5 hour walk.
16. The legs are tired and sore from the previous days, but the views from the top of the hill is fantastic.
22. Arrive at Likhubula!