By Chigomezgo C. Nyirenda- Contributor
Today we bring to you another hidden Malawi’s treasure, Ntchisi Rain Forest in central Malawi. Ntchisi Rain Forest Reserve is one of the last remaining indigenous rain forests in Africa.
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 it proved as 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. It is small at 75 sq km and is characterized by rolling hills cultivated by subsistence farming and dotted with traditional villages and situated on the escarpment of the East African Rift Valley.
The rain forest is some luxuriant, dense forest rich in biodiversity, found typically in tropical areas with consistently heavy rainfall.
There is alot to do in this quaint little spot due to its location, in the Ntchisi Rain Forest Reserve. You can choose to head out on a lovely short stroll into the forest, or hike for a few hours and take a lovely picnic with you and sit near one of the rivers or waterfalls.
Look out for the incredible birdlife around or the gorgeous orchids that continue to pop up along the way. Hard to imagine this is just outside the busy capital city…it is heavenly.
Ntchisi Rain Forest is home to many animals. Especially birds love the variety of trees and the undisrupted ecosystem. They know their home very well and always have an eye on you when walking around in the forest.
If you want to spot them, we recommended taking a local expert with you to show you their homes and explain more to you about their habits.
Ntchisi Rain Forest is the unspoiled area that is yet to be discovered by many. Enjoy the sunny days at the brand new eco pool. Filled with spring water from the mountain, heated by the sun and filtered by Malawi’s first UV-Filtration System.
The rainforest is directly next to the lodge and offers you a wide variety of possibilities. One of the most recommendable activities is to go on walk with a local tour guide. They will take you through the marked and hidden paths of Ntchisi Rain Forest.
Learn about the history and importance of the forest for the surrounding communities, eat local fruits you have never about in your life and take a deep forest bath to recharge your batteries.
And my special request to the authorities is that they should put strict measures to protect it before it is damaged.
You can enjoy the sunny days at lodge’s brand new eco pool. Filled with spring water from the mountain, heated by the sun and filtered by Malawi’s first UV-Filtration System.
How can we protect Ntchisi Rain Forest Reserve?
To successfully protect the rainforest, one has to understand the deep-rooted threats of the rainforest. Poverty is the main driver of deforestation in the region of Ntchisi, Malawi.
People lack other sources of income and go in to the forest to cut down trees to sell it on black markets to have at least some food for their families. Climate change is affecting the way of life of every farmer. Rainfalls do not come that regularly anymore and pests like the armyworm threatening up to 25% of the yearly harvest.
Combined with a big growth of population, the private fields are no longer big enough to feed everyone. So, to stop deforestation one has to create new sources of income.
You can manage a day drive from Lilongwe or at least spend a night at Ntchisi Forest Lodge and lodge offers food from local farmers to reduce CO2-Emissions, guarantee fresh food and create a vital marketplace.