Mulanje Paragliding: Boma Path
Launching From Chisepo Site, with Sapitwa in the Backdrop.
The Boma path starts from Mulanje Boma (Kara-O-Mula Lodge) and takes you up to the Lichenya Plateau. There is a para launch site about halfway up at 1500m some 2-3h walk from the bottom. The site has a nice stretch of (lumpy) grass of which the center portion has been cleared. It slopes to the south east, which is unusual, as that side of the mountain is generally sloping south-west, but it aligns well with the prevailing south easterly winds. At minimum the site requires a slight breeze for a successful launch. Towards the bottom there are some small plants, with rocks, ending at a cliff face. Favorable winds are mostly found in the mid mornings. In the afternoons gusty cross winds or even a tail winds down from the mountain can occur, making a launch difficult at best. Given the relative easy accessibility of the site and the nice landing area, this can be a nice site for a morning walk. Be ready to wait for some good wind, spend the night on the site or walk back down.
The site is either accessed from the Lichenya Plateau from the head of the Boma path, walking down 1-2h to the site along the boma path. More likely you will start from Kara-O-Mula lodge and walk up the Boma path. The first 30m arre spent walking along the upper edge of chitakale tea estate. The next hour is spent walking through, what used to be an indigenous forest in better days, but is soon to be no more. Currently the last remaining patches of rain forest are being cut down. It is a very steep path and is not for the faint hearted, especially during wet weather. On the plus side, altitude can be gained quickly, even with poor fitness.
The best landing area is the golf course of the Mulanje Golf Club - please make sure you are a member - they also offer day memberships and definitely check in with the staff before attempting to land there. Careful of the power line between the road and club house crossing the gold course. If the kids spot you prior to landing, be ready to be surrounded by hundreds of them shortly after landing. Don't give them sweets, money, pens or anything else as they will only get more excited. Make your way to the club house, where will have some privacy to pack your glider.
There are some alternate landing areas - service roads in the tea fields, Mulanje football stadium, Chitakale Foodball Field, fields and other open areas. Try to avoid the tea itself!
No turbulence was experienced during the launch, but there were no updrafts either. No ridge soaring was possible anywhere and only some occasional lift was found encountered along the way. On the flight day, there was only a slight breeze at launch, but a fairly strong wind away from the mountain and it was not possible to penetrate enough to reach the golf club - a landing was made on a tea field road. Be careful of the tea, it looks deceivingly flat and soft - it is not. Especially the newly pruned tea can have some very sharp pointy bits which can cause some serious injury on landing!
|Landing||Mulanje Golf Club 642m|