Malawi

Promoted as the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’, Malawi is a long, thin country renowned for the friendliness of its people, unspoiled national parks and wildlife reserves, and the beaches and tropical fish population of Lake Malawi.

Known as the ‘Land of the Lake’, Malawi is dominated by a vast expanse of water. Lake Malawi stretches 500 kilometres along the eastern border with Mozambique, taking up one fifth of the country’s entire surface area. Home to the world’s first freshwater National Park, Lake Malawi has an active fishing industry, emanating from the small and picturesque villages dotted along the shore. The golden sandy beaches fringing the lake offer the perfect opportunity to soak up the sun and try a range of water sports. The freshwater diving here is world renowned; there are over 600 species of fish residing in the clear waters. In fact, more indigenous species can be found here than in any other lake on earth.

The majority of Malawi lies within the Great Rift Valley, a trough-like depression running through the country from North to South. This geographical feature is the reason for Malawi’s spectacular contrasting scenery. Escarpments and dramatic peaks are found mostly in the North, giving way to forest covered plateaus and rolling grasslands, savannahs and floodplains.

The lesser known northern area of Malawi can only be described as ‘unspoilt Africa’, consisting of highlands teeming with an incredible abundance of flora and fauna. Malawi’s famous numerous species of orchid can also be found here. The Nyika Plateau, with several peaks over 2000m, dominates this cooler climate. Hiking or biking amongst the dramatic landscape is an excellent way to get the best views and spot some of the 400 bird species. South Malawi gives way to plains, valleys and the River Shire. Central Africa’s tallest peak, Mount Mulanje, can also be found in this part of the country. At 3000m this mountain is a great place for the intrepid explorer to trek and camp.

No trip to Malawi would be complete without a safari element, be it walking, horse riding, travelling by boat or 4×4. Situated at the southern tip of Lake Malawi with the River Shire flowing along its western border, Liwonde National Park constitutes an excellent environment in which to view hippos, crocodiles and the abundant birdlife. Spot plenty of elephants, impala and baboons and the less common kudu and bushback, as well as black rhinos which have recently been reintroduced. Take a night drive to find some leopards. Aside from Liwonde, there are eight other national parks and wildlife reserves in Malawi offering a diverse range of game viewing in differing terrains. Additionally, just over the border into Zambia and easily accessible from Malawi, is the South Luangwa National Park, one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world.

The diversity of Malawi’s landscape makes it a particularly appealing and beautiful country to visit. There are not many places where you can scuba dive one day, trek across a high plateau the next and track rhinos in a secluded national park the following. What really sets Malawi apart is the welcoming smiles, kind nature, desire to assist and genuine friendliness of the local people. There is no doubt that Malawi is fully deserving of its reputation as ‘the warm heart of Africa’

Unspoiled national parks and wildlife reserves, and the beaches and tropical fish population of Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa.

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