Malawi is a small Southeast African country and is landlocked bordered by Tanzania in Northeast, Zambia in West and Mozambique in the West, South, and Southwest. Malawi’s topography is characterized by the highlands in divided by the rift valley, Lake Malawi and some savannah grass lands since the country is found in the Sub-Saharan region. The altitude of Malawi varies since the landscapes are different such as the plateaus, forests, mountains, lakes, highlands, and escarpments among others. The country’s climate is sub-tropical type of climate whereby it is strongly seasonal and moderately dry; there is a warm-wet season that starts from November to April and during this period there is 95% of annual rainfall.
Malawi’s capital is Lilongwe and the national language famously spoken is Chichewa and English. The total population is 18.09 million people as per 2016 census of which it could have increased over time. The citizens of Malawi are friendly people and the culture is just beautiful and awesome.
Malawi is famously known for Lake Malawi which dominates the country, Lake Malawi has lots to offer to the tourists such as the spectacular landscapes, rich culture, interesting wildlife; these entirely make Malawi a wonderful and beautiful place to visit.
ATTRACTIONS AND WHAT TO DO-MALAWI
Lake Malawi is the country’s most popular attractions, it is the second deepest and third largest in Africa and the ninth according to size in the world. It is located between Mozambique and Tanzania, and it’s also known as Lago Niassa in Mozambique and Lake Nyasa in Tanzania. Lake Malawi was discovered over 150 years ago by Dr David Livingstone who was a missionary-explorer. Lake Malawi is home to many fish species including over 700 cichlids species, it is a fresh water lake surrounded with golden sand beaches so with this various water sport activities like snorkeling, water skiing, Kayaking, sailing, diving can be done on this lake. The lake is classified into two parts; Lake Malawi (South) and Lake Malawi (North).
Lake Malawi (South) this part of the lake is very famous and it’s near the country’s commercial city, Blantyre. This part is endowed with beautiful scenery and various attractive spots for Malawi tours such as Monkey bay, which also have various accommodation facilities like Campsites, lodges and cottages. Also certain annual festivals like the Lake of stars music festival is carried out at Nkopola Sunbird lodge, also water sports are done in this area. Lake Malawi (North), this part less populated and less developed compared to the Southern part of the lake, there are different historical sites in the towns of Karonga and Livingstonia, and it is advisable to visit this part during the dry season. While here you can stay at Dwangwa, Nkhotakota, Nkhata Bay among others.
Most good lodges are found between Monkey Bay and Mangochi, and Mangochi has the highest number of hotels and lodges. The lake is also endowed with beautiful beaches; swim, chill and relax!
Lake Malawi National park
Lake Malawi National Park is found in the southern part of Malawi just where Lake Malawi ends. It was established in 1980 and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. It is the world’s first freshwater national park and covers an area of 94 km2. The park covers a large scale such as; the Cape Maclear, Marelli Islands and further other Islands on the lake, it was established to protect fish and other aquatic habitats so while here you can see an aquarium of tropical fish which is a very beautiful and colorful display of fish.
The park is also home to different wildlife such as baboons, hyrax and antelopes; birds like hammer cops, fish eagles, and cormorants are not to miss out. There are also various tree species found there such as the large Baobab tree that is believed to have existed for ages is one to see, it is also said that under this tree its where Dr. Livingstone used to give his speeches and sermons together with other missionaries. You can also do activities like yachting, walks and also sail on the lake.
Lodging facilities are very good such as the lodges at Cape Maclear, Norman Carr Cottage is a good accommodation facility, the Blue Zebra Island Lodge among others. Visit Lake Malawi National Park today!
Liwonde National Park
Liwonde National Park is Malawi’s most famous and leading wildlife park covering an area of 580 sq km (220 sq miles). It is situated approximately 160 km north of Blantyre in the southern part of Malawi at the tip of Lake Malombe and along the banks of River Shire. The park was proclaimed in 1973. Liwonde does not have the Big game just it is other African other National parks, but still the wildlife found there is just great.
The park is home to large herds of elephants, other animals are hippos, crocodiles which are found in the floodplain grasslands, and in River Shire, there are also spotted hyenas, zebras, leopards, kudus, waterbucks, warthogs, reedbucks, impalas, vervet monkeys, yellow baboons, visiting lions. Also there are over 400 bird species such as the Fish Eagle, Saddle-billed stork, the Brown-breasted Barber, Pel’s Fishing Owl, and the African Skimmer. The park is also endowed with hills that are covered with mixed woodland and dry deciduous thickets, there are also riverine thickets and seasonal streams; all these provide a beautiful scenery to the park.
The best time to visit the park is in the cooler dry seasons. Activities that visitors can do are boat safaris, game drives, nature walks, and most lodges organize these activities for visitors. Most visitors that visit Liwonde National park, stay at Mvuu lodge (luxury), there are also other affordable lodges and campsites such as Bushmen’s Baobab, Liwonde Safari Camp, Mvuu camp and a campsite among others. In case of need to travel the park with air, you can book a flight since the airstrip is near Mvuu lodge.
Liwonde National Park is an attraction not to leave out especially if one is planning a Safari in Malawi.
Nyika National Park
This national park covers an area of 3200 sq km and is the largest national parks in Malawi and practically covers Nyika plateau in North and other areas. The word Nyika means “where the water comes from” other meanings are “short grassland” and “wilderness”. The park has lots to offer such as the beautiful landscape that with grasslands and wildflowers; there are over 400 bird species such as the wattled crane, the red-winged francolin (endemic to Nyika) and the rare Denham’s bustard among others. Other attractions include the Neolithic shelter, waterfalls like the Chisanga falls and trout pools also magic lakes can be seen.
While in the park also explore the Nyika plateau. It is an amazing raised land that ranges between 2,100m and 2,200m in height and its highest point being 2,605m. Mainly Nyika National Park is made up of the Nyika Plateau since it covers about 3,000 sq km; it is comprised of rolling hills, broad valleys, streams, and grasslands which gives it very beautiful scenery. The plateau is a habitat for over 200 Orchid species, there are various animals like Zebras, duikers, leopards, elands, lion antelopes, and there are also very nice butterflies.
Enjoy a number of activities while in the park like trekking, mountain biking (on the Nyika plateau), nature walks among others. About the lodging in the park; the Chelinda Camp was renovated and now provides quality facilities also other lodge. You can access the park by the road or by air.
Lilongwe is Malawi’s largest and capital city. The city is located in centre of Malawi, near the Zambia and Mozambique borders; it is divided into a New and Old city where by the New city has markets, cafes, bus stations, restaurants and more modern buildings and the Former(old) city hosts embassies, governmental institutions, hotels, different offices and it is a much more lively town. The population in Lilongwe is 1 million and more and it is lesser than that in Blantyre (which is the country’s commercial city).
Lilongwe has been in existence for very many years and started as a small fishing village on the banks of Lilongwe River until it went on developing throughout the British colonial rule when it was recognized as a town in 1947, so its name was derived from ‘Lilongwe River’.
Lilongwe lies on an altitude of 1,050m above sea level; this is because it is on the plateau in central Malawi. Lilongwe has two seasons; season that goes through December to March, the long dry season is left for the rest of the year though months June and July are cooler. The city’s temperature is lower due to its altitude. Lilongwe is a good place to visit while on an African safari-you can visit the Lilongwe wildlife centre, visit cultural centers that always have local Art shows, tour the tobacco auctions. There are different restaurants in both the old and new towns and lots of accommodation options.
Tobacco auctions are located 7km north of the Lilongwe city, it is the world’s largest producer of burley tobacco, tobacco auctioning season is mainly between April and September which is the best time for visiting, and it is fun to watch this process where tobacco is bought, sold and bought again to the outside market. The tobacco auctions are held in vast warehouses in Lilongwe and those in Limbe. The industrial area can be accessed by use of various transport means like taxis, mini buses among others.
Mulanje Mountain is a vast granite massif located 65km east of Blantyre in the South of Malawi. The highest point of this mountain is called Sapitwa peak at an altitude of 3,002m. The mountain was first climbed in 1894. The massif is comprised of gently sloping grasslands at altitudes between 1800–2200 m; crossed by deep forested narrow valleys. The Massif is famously known for climbing and hiking, as well as different mountain huts distributed across it; they are managed by the Malawi Forestry Department and Malawi Mountain Club. There are various hiking routes that which give an unforgettable experience. While here enjoy the delicious scent of Mulanje cedar around the fireplace. The starting point of hiking is at Likhubula, the best time to climb Mount Mulanje is between May and October. A night can be spent at Likhubula Forest Lodge which is near the starting point- it is easier to start the hike early.
Likoma Island is in fact located in the waters of Mozambique but still in a Malawian region. On this island you find the cathedral constructed in the early 1900’s. There are various beaches on the island with beautiful resorts such as Kaya Mawa. It is a very nice place for chilling and relaxation, it is less crowded- it is a peaceful area fit for walks, visits to the markets, visits to local villages, also water sports like kayaking can be done. There are scheduled flights to the island from Lilongwe and also Likoma can be accessed by boat or the by MV Ilala which heads to the island once a week, this is a fun experience on the waters.
The Zomba plateau is a vast block rising to around 1800m greatly covered with pines, cedar and cypress. The plateau is a unique and wonderful feature with incredible views- such as beautiful waterfalls, lakes, dams among other amazing features. Zomba plateau is located in the old capital city of Malawi, it is home to various wildlife such as baboons on lower slopes, leopards (but they are rarely seen), it harbors birds like the Augur buzzard and the long-crested eagle, you can’t miss out on seeing beautiful giant butterflies-these are all seen while having walks or driving.
The best way to access Zomba plateau is by using a taxi or car and the high and steep places are accessed by climbing and hiking, this is an amazing experience as you enjoy the cooler conditions and the spectacular views on this plateau. Other activities that can be done in this area are; visiting the old city, cycling, standing under the waterfalls, fishing, mountain biking, and horse riding.
Lodging around the plateau includes the Ku Chawe Inn, found at the edge of the mountain; there is a big camping site for those interested in camping.
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