Exploring Tourism in Malawi
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Ntchisi, Malawi

Ntchisi Forest Reserve covers approximately 75 sq km and is surrounded on all sides by rolling hills covered by subsistence farming and dotted with traditional villages. It is an untouched paradise, undiscovered by mass tourism.

Before it became a protected area, the forest was used as a refuge by the local Chewa tribe against attacks by the warring Ngonis in the 19th Century. Because the forest proved so vital as a shelter for people, it largely escaped the deforestation for firewood that has unfortunately decimated so much of Africa’s indigenous woodlands. It later became a designated Forest Reserve.

Ntchisi Forest Reserve contains some of the last remaining indigenous rainforest in Malawi. Some trees tower thirty metres overhead while lianas and strangler figs compete for the sunlight.

The lush vegetation is home to a plethora of orchids, as well as an abundant bird life, troops of samango monkey, baboons, hyenas and the odd bushbuck and bush pig. A black leopard has been sighted on the mountain near the lodge. The rainforest offers finds of strange fruits and colourful seed pods. In the rainy season it provides delicious mushrooms for guests’ dinner and pickles made from wild figs.

Montane forest and grassland provides a contrasting habitat of open forest and bush. It is excellent hiking and mountain biking territory and gives a stunning display of wildflowers each year when the rains start.

Accommodation is available at the Ntchisi Forest Lodge, developed for international visitors and gaining an excellent reputation. The lodge has great connections with the local communities it supports, and offers plenty of opportunities for cultural interaction and volunteering.

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