It makes sound sense that landlocked Malawi is called the “Warm Heart of Africa” in the native language. Genuine friendliness is reflected in the cheerful waves and broad smiles of the locals. The country is touted for its incredible wildlife and desolate beaches, offering some of the continent’s most diverse landscapes. Savor pristine views of the vast, blue Lake Malawi – the jewel in the crown, the lifeblood, and the ninth largest lake in the world!
- Liwonde National Park is undoubtedly Malawi’s most spectacular wildlife viewing destination, with its beautiful riverine setting and teeming wildlife, viewed by 4WD, on foot, and by boat.
- Experience the warmth of the people through genuine cultural experiences outside the parks and along the lake.
- A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lake Malawi’s golden sand beaches and crystal, clear waters, offer relaxation, water sports, exceptional diving and freshwater snorkeling.
- Drive to the top of the table-like, Zomba Plateau to explore the forested interior and take in the stunning views from the sheer scarp-like edges.
- The great Mount Mulanje, at over 9850 feet, is one of the highest mountains in central Africa – a massif of peaks and basins, accessible only on foot.
With a population in excess of half a million, Blantyre is the largest urban area in Malawi and the country’s commercial capital. Founded in 1876 by Scottish Missionaries, and named after explorer David Livingstone’s birthplace in Scotland, Blantyre is one of the country’s oldest cities. Of the buildings steeped in history, the most impressive is St Michael and All Angels Church. Others include the original town hall (Old Boma) and Malawi’s first two-story building, Mandala House. The Museum of Malawi and Carlsberg Brewery are also interesting stops, as well as a good range of shops and markets.
Surrounded by crystal clear waters, sandy beaches, and an abundance of cichlids on the northeastern side of Lake Malawi, lies the tiny island of Likoma. You will be surprised to find Central Africa’s third-largest cathedral – St Peter’s Cathedral – on this tiny island of only 6.5 square miles. There is a small town and a few bustling local communities and can be reached by boat or aircraft.
Once a small fishing village on the banks of the Lilongwe River, Lilongwe has evolved into Malawi’s bustling capital and home to more than one million people. Old Town is based around the old fishing village and is home to many of the city’s top restaurants, cafes, malls, and markets. The New Town is where one finds the government ministries and business offices.
LIWONDE NATIONAL PARK
Liwonde National Park lies on the east bank of the Shire River in southern Malawi. Untouched with scenic views and a hippo-filled river running through it, the park is a true reflection of beautiful African safari land. Venture out in 4WD vehicle, on foot or by boat to view the wildlife, including elephant, lion, leopard, warthog, greater kudu, Vervet monkey, baboon, impala, waterbuck, bushbuck, mongoose, crocodile and Monitor lizard. Through conservation efforts, the black rhino has been introduced and the population has now grown to 10, but it can be a challenge to spot them in the brush. The park is ideal for birdwatchers, and photographic opportunities of the gorgeous orchids and lilies in full bloom just after the rains.
Known locally as ‘chilumba mu mlengalenga’ (‘island in the sky’), Mount Mulanje is located in the south-eastern corner of Malawi with spectacular views of the tea plantations stretching as far as Mozambique. The locals believe that spirits control life on the mountain. It has a fascinating ecosystem with as many as 500 unique species of animals and plants found here. One of the mountain’s most popular attractions is the beautiful Likhubula Waterfalls and pools, accessed only on foot. Hiking to Mount Mulanje is an exceptional experience, and visitors can choose from a gentle trek to a serious climb.
A pristine and deserted tropical island on the southern end of Lake Malawi, Mumbo Island lies in the clear blue water amidst a maze of massive underwater boulders and innumerable species of colorful cichlid fish, offering some of the best freshwater snorkeling and SCUBA diving in the world.
The Zomba Plateau forms part of the Shire Highlands beyond the southern end of Lake Malombe. With its own micro-climate, dense forests, and farmlands, Zomba offers a combination of rare plants and spectacular views. Formerly Malawi’s capital, Zomba town on the plateau can be accessed by road, or one can opt for a scenic walk with a series of spectacular waterfalls and lookout points providing spectacular vistas of southern Malawi and the landscape all the way to Mozambique. Visitors also have an opportunity to climb to the top of Chawe Mountain, famed for its delicious wild raspberries and gooseberries.