News from Malawi Travel
The 24TH Mount Mulanje Porters Race - July 9, 2022
The Mount Mulanje Porters Race is set for Saturday, July 9 after a two year break due to Covid 19 pandemic. The race is Malawi’s only extreme that attracts runners both male and female, locally and internationally as they run a distance of about 25km up and across the Mulanje Mountain. Through this event Malawi has produced reputable athletes that have put the country on the international map.
The race plays crucial role in assisting in improving sports (athletics) in Malawi, contribute to development of tourism and add a voice in conservation of Mt Mulanje. In addition, the race offers an opportunity for companies to advertise its products/services as the race attracts people’s attention across the country.
Further, the 2022 Mt Mulanje Porters Race will also assist to raise awareness of the importance of mountain areas in recent years hence the declaration of 2022 as the International Year of Mountains (IYM).
Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT) and the Department of tourism through Tourism Association of Mount Mulanje (TAMM) work closely to ensure that the event is successfully carried out.
- Porters Race.
Originally, the Porters Race was a competition limited to porters and guides of Mt Mulanje (people who escort tourists up the mountain). It became an annual event attracting other participants such as local and national athletes. Over the years it has become a big event that attracts hundreds of participants. The previous race in 2019, about 400 runners (men & women) took part in the race, and it attracted over 5000 spectators. Amongst the participants were both national and international participants from South Africa, England, Switzerland, America, Mozambique and some parts of Europe. It also attracts media coverage from reputable media houses in Malawi and beyond.
This year will be the 24th Anniversary, and it will be a huge event since people missed the event for two years due to Covid 19 pandemic. Runners from across the globe are expected to take part in this Africa’s Ultimate Challenge.
The race starts at Likhubula Forest Office, right at the foot of the mountain and the runners trek to Chambe Plateau about 2,500m above sea level then proceed (via the plateau) to Lichenya Plateau and back to Likhubula. Runners could cover a tiring distance of 25km in 2 hrs but a normal walk can cover the same distance in approximately 10 hours.
The race is open to all interested male and female athletes who are fit enough to participate and will join Porters from Likhubula, Lujeri, Fort Lister, Thuchila, Nessa and Mulanje Boma. Men and women will be judged separately, thereby having winners in two categories.
The race is announced and advertised in the newspapers, on Internet, radios and television and interested participants start registering using the provided means. Runners from outside Mulanje will be expected to arrive in Mulanje a day before the race to acclimatise. Those that will travel from other districts shall be accommodated at their own cost.
The event invites the audience of the Minister responsible.
Traditionally, the race takes place second Saturday of July and this year it falls on 9th July 2022, starting from 6:00am and would be expected to finish with Prize Presentation Ceremony at noon and thereafter the finish-line party known as Island in the Sky concert with popular artists.
- Corporate Race
This is a mini 7km race meant for the corporate partners to take place as serious runners are hitting the main race. This race will take runners 3kms uphill then turn to the edge of Dziwe la Nkhalamba down to the starting point Likhubula Forestry Offices. This race will increase number of participants in the race as well as bringing close the corporate world to the race.
- Island in the Sky Concert
This is the after-race music party where a famous artist/band is invited to play for free soon after prize presentation at the race. Since the introduction of Island in the Sky Concerts the number of spectators has increased as others come from very far to party with the winners of the race. This has worked to the advantage of the sponsors who always meet a wide audience at one go.
- About Mt Mulanje
The impressive Mt Mulanje standing at over 3,000 metres above sea level is the highest mountain in tropical southern Africa. The unique ecology of this isolated inselberg has been recognized by its proclamation as one of few International Biosphere Reserves south of the Equator.
Mulanje Mountain is more than barren rock. Covering an area of 640,000 hectares within both Mulanje and Phalombe districts, the reserve has a diverse range of ecological zones from rainforest to alpine, with a very rich range of habitant endemic plant and animal life. Globally it is an ecological site. The famous Mulanje Cedar (Widdringtonia Whytei) dominates the high-altitude forest and is Malawi’s national tree. The forests and woodlands are vital for watershed protection and is the catchment of headwaters for nine strong rivers in the two districts. The mountain also represents an important source of resources like firewood, grass (for thatching), water, timber, animals, and fruits. Close to a million people have their livelihood dependent on resources from the Mountain and the Reserve. To underscore the importance on this resource, the government of Malawi gazetted Mulanje Mountain Forest Reserve as a protected area in 1927.
What is on Mt Mulanje?
Mt Mulanje is scenically spectacular, the vistas of rugged peaks and plunging waterfalls, are complimented by the breathtaking panoramas over the surrounding plains. The great variety of wild flowers makes Mulanje a visual delight anytime of the year. During the rains from December to April, the plateaux are a riot of colour from the abundant orchids everlasting and gladioli among many others.
Animals may also be seen of the mountain, though most are shy and elusive like the rarely seen leopard, klipspringer, bushbuck, and forest duiker. The birdlife of this afro-montane habitat is rich with many specials to be seen from the impressive crowned and black eagles to Malawi’s only endemic, the yellow-throated apalis. There are two dwarf chameleons, several geckos and skinks, which are found on Mulanje and, in the streams, fish have been found that also occur nowhere in Malawi.
For lovers of the outdoors, Mulanje offers spectacular hiking, scenery, bird watching, wild flowers, peaks to climb, fly-fishing, invigorating swimming and for the really adventurous, serious rock climbing – the west face of Chambe peak hosts the highest rock climb in Africa with some 1,700 metres of technical climbing.
Mt Mulanje Porters Race
Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust
+265 888 580 763