As a newcomer to the travel industry, I am still learning so much about what my magnificent continent has to offer. It was actually scary when I realised that there were so many places I had not paid much attention to right here on my doorstep. Of course you’ll never know about Africa’s wonders until you learn and explore, so now that’s what I do when I have a moment to spare and my most recent lesson on Africa was learnt when I attended a travel workshop organised by the Malawian Tourism Board.
Malawi is known as the warm heart of Africa, a landlocked country nestled between Zambia, Tanzania & Mozambique.
- Currency: Kwacha (MWK)
- Malawi time is GMT+2, as with most of southern Africa.
- While English is an official language, and is widely understood, a number of indigenous languages are also spoken. The most common is Chewa (or Chichewa – the language of the Chewa).
Malawi offers a variety of stunning wildlife opportunities, beautiful landscapes, and a beach-fringed lake with an impressively large number of activities on land and in the water.
Although totally landlocked, Malawi is not denied its “inland sea”. Lake Malawi is the country’s biggest attraction and takes up one fifth of the countries size. Nicknamed the ‘Calendar Lake’, Its approximate dimensions are 365 miles north to south and 52 miles broad.
The diversity of the country’s landscape definitely adds to its charm and appeal with
its green, lush country, with highlands, forests, mountains and dramatic river valleys.
Malawi is subdivided into 3 regions:
North Malawi is the least populated of Malawi’s regions but is characterised by unique
highland areas and dramatic lake shorelines. It has one National Park and one Wildlife Reserve.
Highlights/Places to visit: Livingstonia Mission, Nkhata Bay, Manda Wilderness (Mozambique) Karonga and more.
Central Malawi is home to the country’s capital, and most common point of entry, Lilongwe.
Highlights/Places to visit: Chongoni Rock Art, National parks and forest reserves, Marelli Islands and more.
South Malawi is the most populated and developed region. And also holds the countries commercial capital Blantyre.
Highlights/Places to visit: Blantyre, Lake Chilwa, Lake Malawi National Park, Monkey Bay, and more.
Best Time to Travel…
For most people the dry (winter) season is most attractive (i.e. April/May to October/November). The chance of rain is slim, daytime temperatures are generally pleasant (in the 20s Celsius) and the low vegetation and limited availability of water mean that game viewing is at its best.
Rainfall is extremely rare in the dry season and even in the so-called wet season, the rains are usually short-lived storms, as is typical of the tropics, and at no time does the climate seriously inhibit the traveller.
I can’t wait to experience the unrivalled combination of Lake, Landscape, Wildlife & Culture in one of Africa’s most beautiful and compact countries – Malawi. Breathtaking is an understatement… and I haven’t even been there yet!
Junior Consultant, SW Africa Destination Management