Climbing Mt. Sapitwa, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Ready to tackle Mt. Sapitwa, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Ready to tackle Mt. Sapitwa, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

It wasn’t as cold as expected overnight. There was no frost on the ground and I was feeling quite hot in my sleeping bag. The fire burning for a while last night helped too.

Chisepo Hut with Mountain backdrop, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Chisepo Hut with Mountain backdrop, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

It was a fairly overcast morning, the clouds were up high in the sky. The peak of Mt. Sapitwa wasn’t covered in clouds, a good sign. I was probably pushing my luck with the weather gods, being lucky with weather conditions so many times on my travels.

X-ray sunrise, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

X-ray sunrise, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

And I was lucky this time too. This was an even more spectacular sight.

Life on mars?, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Life on Mars?, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

The sun pierced through the clouds on to the valley below north of us, trailing clear visible rays. This sure was an awesome sight. The valley itself appeared a bit misty, the holes in the clouds allowed sun rays to pinpoint certain areas.

Sun rays over the valleys, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Sun rays over the valleys, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

There was a science fiction feel to it, like aliens beaming up or down.

Splendid view over Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Splendid view over Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

The 4 Belgians enjoyed the view too. Nenani and I were the last ones to leave. No rush today as we are returning to the same hut for another night.

Chisepo Hut disappears in the distance, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Chisepo Hut disappears in the distance, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

This hike turned in to one of the toughest mountain climbs I have done for a very long time. It goes up, and straight up. Walking on steep granite slopes isn’t easy in dry conditions, and dangerous in wet.

Scrambling to the top, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Scrambling to the top, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

In sheer rock climbing fashion with center of body mass shifting or gripping on to tiny ledges with your fingertips, to squeezing through little caves, this hike had it all.

Dramatic view all around Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Dramatic view all around Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

As the hut disappeared smaller on our dial, the view becomes further and farther ahead. The cloud cover changed, which showed the piercing rays for a few more hours.

Moss covered granite boulders, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Moss covered granite boulders, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Boulders were covered in moss,

Nenani in lush green alpine tropics, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Nenani in lush green alpine tropics, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

changed to green mossy shady pockets,

Fascinating mossy alpine forrest, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Fascinating mossy alpine Forrest, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

a sub-tropical alpine area appeared,

Huge granite wall, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Huge granite wall, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

only to become another labyrinth of granite boulders.

Alpine Nature display, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Alpine Nature display, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Colourful vegetation seems to thrive here,

On top of Mount Sapitwa, Malawi

On top of Mount Sapitwa, Malawi

Low clouds moved in eventually but stayed clear for a while once we reached the summit, at long last. The view over the valleys and mountains near and far was breathtaking, so was the air at 3002 m elevation. 

In style with magic stick, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

In style with magic stick, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

One of the Belgian girls took a few photos of me with my magic walking stick I never use. I bought the stick from local a craftsmen as a reminder of the Mulanje Mountains. The engraving shows where and when. I wanted to take a photo with Nenani and myself, but he disappeared for a good while. Shame, a photo together on top of Mt. Sapitwa would have been nice. Probably better phone reception over there.

Nenani with magic stick, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Nenani with magic stick, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

We had our clear view for a little but were covered in clouds soon enough. It has gotten noticeably colder and windier quickly. We descended this challenging track down, which isn’t any easier. If you have short legs or problems with knees or ankles, then think twice to tackle this track. This hiking trail is hard to follow and one could easily lose track of the track, paying more attention to getting up the boulders and losing a sense of orientation. That happened last in 2008 when a Brazilian fellow was found frozen to death halfway of the mark. 

An attempted smile from Nenani?, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

An attempted smile from Nenani?, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

‘Sapitwa’ in local Chichewa language means as much as ‘don’t go there’. An ancient story of old tells about a man climbing up the mountain and found to his surprise some food, which he ate. He told his friends about that phenomenon, but as soon as he did, he disappeared without a trace. Climbing down really was just as challenging as going up, paying attention to right footing with tired legs. The view was still spectacular, even with clouds all around. I was exhausted from getting back to the hut and happy to take my hiking boots off to relax. My knees felt a bit sore and swollen, but not too bad in comparison to the beating they’ve taken. I just finished lunch, as a young Scottish party of six arrived. I met them in Blantyre at the same Backpackers too. A really small world. They’re doing the same trip as me, up to the hut today and climbing Mt. Sapitwa tomorrow.

Creek and Mulanje Mountains in Black and white, Malawi

Creek and Mulanje Mountains in Black and white, Malawi

The sky cleared up late afternoon and I decided to follow the neighbouring creek, gently flowing down the slopes.

Creek flow from Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Creek flow from Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Looking up, towards the mountains gave a splendid view.

Three sisters?, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Three sisters? Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Surrounding mountains reflected in clear waters.

Creek and valley below, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Creek and valley below, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Looking north and over the valley below was just as stunning. Calm waters provided reflections of native plants around. What a place to be. The sun disappeared behind the mountains and it got cooler immediately. Still manageable though, it could always be much colder. The Scotts brought some ‘Malawian Gold ‘chamba’ and we shared a few rounds and chats together. One of the girls asked if I live up here, as I seem to feel very homey here. Yes, I do, but no I don’t.

Southern Cross over Mt. Sapitwa, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Southern Cross over Mt. Sapitwa, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

The evening sky cleared up, a star shredded sky appeared. Clearly seen is the Southern Cross over Mt. Sapitwa.

Southern Cross over Chisepo Hut, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Southern Cross over Chisepo Hut, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

What a way to finish the day. After a cuppa tea in front of the warming fire, it was time to sneak into my sleeping bag. I laid in a slight angle to the fireplace, smoldering away and fiery colours. A teapot in front added plenty to the spectrum. I just couldn’t close my eyes, quite amazing.

To pretty to fall asleep, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

To pretty to fall asleep, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

The movement of the fire changed the shadows of the teapot, almost looking like an animated movie ‘The beauty and the Beast’. Only beauty up here though.

Tea pot Shadows, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

Teapot Shadows, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

That is why I think that this photo is one of the best I have taken so far.

2 thoughts on “Climbing Mt. Sapitwa, Mulanje Mountains, Malawi

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