The longest vertical rock wall in Africa is found on Mount Mulanje – Chambe’s 1700m West Face. And you don’t have to travel far in Malawi to find yourself passing a cliff or boulder – the landscape is dotted with granite spires (known as inselbergs). Blantyre and the Midima Hills, Mulanje, Zomba, the Dedza mountains and the lakeshore are amongst the places with rock climbing on offer. There has been little known recent exploration, with existing guides dating back to the 1980s and certainly potential for developing new routes.
Most of the rock is a uniform granite, and in the absence of frost shattering, there are few cracks to place protection. Between good climbing in the larger crack and chimney systems with adequate protection, blank sections are encountered with only grass tufts for holds or running belays. A good number of bolted routes exist (though bolts were placed in the 80s).
Frank Eastwood’s Guide to the Mulanje Massif contains rock climbing routes on the Mulanje peaks of Chambe, Manga and the Lichenya face. Two other rock climbing guides from the 1980s have also recently been found in a Mountain Club Member’s attic. The guides describe many areas and hundreds of routes in the Southern and Central region.
More recent Chambe climbing routes:
- Guide to climb chambe west face lower slabs PDF download credit to Vincent Barbier
- Passion and Pain Route https://www.mountainproject.com/route/116154667/passion-and-pain
There have recently been some keen boulderers in the Blantyre area and they have developed some excellent materials for Mt Soche (see below). There is also a fantastic bouldering wall at St Andrews International High School in Blantyre. Further details can be found on the Blantyre Climbing Wall Facebook group – there is be an open evening on Tuesdays. Anyone is welcome to join – there is a short training and a disclaimer required.
If anyone has any more information about climbing clubs or new and updated routes in Malawi please contact MCM webmaster so we can share it here.
A (probable) new route up Beacon Point on Mount Soche, overlooking Blantyre
Mt Soche Bouldering Guide
Many thanks to Jes Bates and Matt Fitton for preparing this material and allowing the MCM to share it. Either see below or click to download the full pdf document as well as a google map or a KMZ file for GPS locations of all these sites.