Malawi is not always the first place you think of for a safari or holiday in Africa, but it really should be considered as it has so much to offer.
Stunning scenery, a lake so huge it looks like a sea, fascinating local traditions and famously friendly people.
The scenery here is diverse, from the cool northern Nyika plateau to the hot Shire Valley in the south, Africa's Great Rift Valley has created a huge range of habitats and geology in this beautiful country.
Lake Malawi makes up a large portion of the country with many lodges located along its freshwater shoreline. The lake also sustains the majority of Malawi's indigenous people whose villages cluster the lake shores.
Water sports, fishing trips, bird watching and exploring villages are all popular activities on the lake.
Inland, several wildlife parks and reserves, and excellent conservation projects are now proving a success with several parks now being re-stocked with wildlife. Elephant and rhino are now doing well again. Bird watching in Malawi is fabulous and, as well as the parks and reserves, there are many forest reserves and smaller areas which offer a variety of species year round.
Malawi is a popular option for outdoor activites such as hiking, mountain biking, horse riding and trekking. In the south is Mount Mulanje and the Zomba Plateau, to the north, the Viphya Plateau and Nyika offer options for longer treks and hiking in remote areas.
The people of Malawi are a real highlight of any visit here. Although one of the world's poorest countries, the land is rich in friendly smiles and culture.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Lake Malawi has a constant temperature of 27 C. It was called “The Lake of the Stars” by Scottish explorer David Livingstone, because lantern lightsfrom the fishermen’s boats resembled the stars at night.
- Before Malawi was colonised by the British Malawians’ first European contact was with the Portuguese even though Malawi was eventually colonised by the British. They traded ivory, iron and slaves with the Portuguese who in turn brought maize to the region, now a staple in the Malawian diet.
- The most common Malawian last names are Chirwa, Banda, Piri and Manda; 30% of inhabitants have one of these 4 last names.
- In the late 1800s Malawi was the first country in Africa to grow tea on a commercial scale. It is still the continent’s second largest tea producer after Kenya.
- Lake Malawi contains up to 1000 species of freshwater fish - cichlids - the largest number of any lake in the world. 80% of all aquarium fish in Europe and the USA come from here.
- Malawi has Carlsberg’s only brewery in Africa. A bottle of Carlsberg is locally referred to as the “Green”