With an abundance of places to see and things to do, Malawi should definitely be on your list of countries to visit on the African continent.
Named one of the top 10 places to go in 2014 by Lonely Planet, Malawi is one of the lesser-known destinations on the travel guide’s annual list. The country is touted for its wildlife and beaches, with a magnificent lake stretching through its eastern border. Friendly and welcoming people open their hearts and land to tourists.
Malawi is known for its friendly inhabitants. Called the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ in the native language, it is quite normal for strangers to wave and greet visitors as if they know them. And it’s easy to make them smile with a ‘moni’ (pronounced mo-nee, not money), which means hello in Chichewa, the local language, and ‘Zikomo’ (thank you). The people are genuinely happy to meet you and there is no ulterior motive.
You Have Space
You will get into any hotel, restaurant or game park and be able to take in the pristine views of massive Lake Malawi. Known locally as Lake Nyasa, it’s the ninth largest lake in the world, with no crowds. There are few cars and you can walk to places without feeling overwhelmed or fearful of being run over. The country’s commercial capital of Blantyre is much busier, however.
Magnificent Lake Malawi
Although Malawi is landlocked, its giant, freshwater lake is its lifeblood. The sunny beaches of Lake Malawi are golden and the waters are nearly deserted, except for a few boats. Lake Malawi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s home to the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world, thought to be between 500 and 1 000, according to UNESCO. The lake draws in a variety of bird species, as well as hippos, warthogs, baboons and occasional elephants, and is perfect for freshwater snorkelling and diving in clear water.
Rehabilitated game parks and natural reserves
Tour companies offer safaris in parks and reserves that include eco-friendly trips, mountain biking, horseback riding and traditional housing stays. One of the best-known parks is Majete Wildlife Reserve.
Malawi is, in large part, a place of peace and quiet, without the traffic jams and hassles of city life. The country is largely rural; only 15.7 percent of the population lives in urban areas. Clear skies and bright stars make it thrilling for stargazers. The trend is toward self-drive holidays – visitors rent cars and drive themselves through the country.