Welcome to Malawi
A treasure chest of surprises
Malawi is a small landlocked country filled with surprises from the beauty of the lake to mountainous grasslands, forests, riverine systems and a portion of Africa’s Great Rift Valley. All of this is found in just 118,844 square kilometres.
Blessed with one daddy of a Lake and actually the third largest in Africa, Malawi is famous for its remote islands, picturesque shorelines and spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Who would have thought you could experience a beach holiday in a landlocked country?!
If the allure of the lake doesn’t sell Malawi, the fast growing national parks and reserves, unique wildlife, spectacular landscapes and diversity on activities on offer will. Because what you may not know about is Malawi’s impressive wildlife. There are over 850 species of cichlids in Lake Malawi, 600 bird species found in the various national parks and the big five are here.
Each one of the national parks and reserves is unique in landscape, wildlife and activities. It really is one of the continent’s best-kept secrets.
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Malawi at a glance
Malawi was once called Maravi meaning “reflected light” and its thought to reference the sunlight glistening on Lake Malawi. In colonial times, it was ruled by the British. It then became part of the Federation of Rhodesia and was called Nyasaland. It only achieved full independence as Malawi in 1964.
Today Malawi’s population stands just short of 19 million people. This country literally hemmed in by other bigger countries (Mozambique to the east and south, Zambia to the west and Tanzania to the east and north east) is one fifth water. The UNESCO heritage site Lake Malawi is the main reason to visit (thanks to it being home to more species of fish than any other lake on the planet) and Livingstone described it as a “Lake of Stars” referring to the thousands of fishing boats that drift across at night with lanterns glowing and visible from shore.
Malawi is one of the poorest countries on the planet and so it has been greatly impacted by illegal poaching of wild animals. Fortunately, there has been a real focus on returning wilderness areas to their former glory and we’ve seen conservation and management groups set up to protect Majete Wildlife Reserve, Mangochi Forest Reserve, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park.
The best time to go is the drier winter months of early May to late October. This avoids the hot summer with higher rainfall yet still ensures warm sunny and dry days on the lake. Just be mindful it’s a little chilly the higher you go especially to Nyika Plateau.
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