Malawi is one of Africa’s smallest, but most stunning and welcoming countries. It is merely a sliver of land and lake wedged between Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. However, when it comes to exploration and adventure it has a tremendous amount to offer making it one of Africa’s most diverse countries.
This slice of Africa has been sculpted by the Great Rift Valley with lush, fertile grasslands, exquisite forests, towering mountaintops, picturesque, unspoilt wildlife parks and magnificent Lake Malawi at its helm. Consequently this beautiful country boasts an exceptionally wide diversity of wildlife, adventurous and cultural attractions.
Malawi’s parks have an exceptionally exclusive feel to them, especially Majete Wildlife Reserve which boasts an ‘undiscovered’ feel and makes for a very unique safari in search of the Big 5!
Blantyre boasts stunning mountains adorned by tea and tobacco plantations.
Liwonde National Park is arguably the country’s finest and most important wildlife reserve with a wide range of habitat from open savannah to richly vegetated marshes and lagoons. A boat safari here on the Shire River enables you to get close to the wildlife and offers some of the most spectacular birdwatching in southern Africa.
Nyika Plateau is a wild and remote high altitude area of rolling grassland and mountain forest and is the only big game Afro-montane area in south Central Africa. It is a spectacularly scenic wilderness looking out as far as the plains of Zambia and even distant mountains of Tanzania.
For me Malawi’s greatest riches are in its people. I absolutely loved witnessing the colour and vibrancy of Malawian life as I travelled throughout the country. Roadsides are ablaze with flame trees, frangipani and bougainvillea and busy with people bicycling balancing bundles of wood, driving ox and cart, selling meticulous piles of fruit and vegetables, sitting on ground sheets picking through cotton. Villages are quaint and archetypically traditional Africa with ochre roads, traditional thatched roofs, women walking balancing bundles on their heads, men returning from the fields armed with rustic tools, children playing with toys made from junk and pigs, cows and foul free-range. Cars are a rarity and therefore attract much attention with children tumbling out from everywhere clambering to have a photo taken and hold your hand! The thrill they receive from seeing a picture of themselves on the camera is enchanting. Everyone is so friendly beaming with big white smiles.
Lake Malawi is spectacular and its diverse aquatic life and crystal-clear water make it an adventure playground extraordinaire with every conceivable type of water sport on offer from snorkelling and scuba-diving to kayaking, sailing, swimming and fishing. Tiny, lazy communities on the shores of the lake bustle with action as fishermen go about their daily lives, mending nets, building boats, selling their daily catch and fishing in dugout canoes. Everywhere you hear children’s laughter as they frolic in the water on perfect white sand beaches and mothers sing as they go about their daily chores. One evening we ate a scrumptious supper on the shores of the lake of grilled chambo fish and delicious local potatoes with a crackling fire while being serenaded by ‘Jesus’ and his laments of childhood, God and love! He became my husband’s pen-pal and they wrote for quite some time!
Malawi is the ‘warm heart of Africa’ and definitely one of Africa’s best kept secrets.