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THE WARM HEART OF AFRICA
You won’t see this place on our destinations list, but it’s not because it doesn’t deserve to be there. It’s because it is a hidden gem on the African continent, an off-the-beaten-track country with beautiful beaches, wonderful wildlife and an incredible atmosphere.
Malawi is a small country surrounded by Africa’s safari giants – Zambia and Tanzania, and beach getaway – Mozambique. It flies under the radar, but it has a lot to offer. In fact, it is one of Africa’s safest countries and combines the safari and tropical beaches of its surrounding countries. Discover why Malawi should be your next must-visit destination.
1. Lake Malawi
Lake Malawi is Africa’s third largest lake and covers 30% of Malawi. It is a shimmering surface of clear water, lined with peaceful, golden beaches and home to hundreds of colourful fish. It also attracts a number of animals like the hippo, warthog, baboon and occasional elephant. Birdwatchers are also likely to spot some incredible species, like the endemic Thyolo Alethe.
2. Island Living
Following the mention of beaches, comes talk about the island escape that Malawi offers. With kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving and sailing, it is a tropical beach holiday in the heart of a landlocked country. Nkatha Bay mimics the Caribbean with its laidback atmosphere, pristine beaches and delicious local cuisine. Mumbo Island, a private island, is an idyllic tropical getaway. Kande Beach is the perfect spot to take a stroll along the white sand or swim in the blue waters. It’s worth staying until after sunset when the beach comes alive with live music.
3. Friendly Faces
Malawi is known as “The Warm Heart of Africa”. As we mentioned, it is one of Africa’s safest countries and throughout you’re trip you’ll soon discover why. The locals are filled with warmth, friendliness and genuine hospitality. It is as simple as saying hello (‘moni’- mo-nee) or thank you (‘zikomo’) in their native tongue to guarantee a smile.
4. A Safari Experience
No trip to Africa is complete without a safari experience. Malawi won’t deny you this experience either. It’s no Maasai Mara or Serengeti but it is home to nine national parks with wonderful game viewing opportunities. Majete Wildlife Reserve is the place to go for spotting the Big Five. Liwonde is dubbed the premier park of the country with large numbers of hippos, elephants, zebra, antelope, leopards, hyenas and even crocodiles. Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve is Malawi’s smallest reserve and has a wonderful sense of being untouched. You can opt for a game drive or a walking safari and experience habitats not seen in the larger parks.
5. Vibrant Markets
Whether you’re looking to buy souvenirs or fresh fruits, Malawi is bustling with colourful open-air markets. Lizulu Markets is the biggest and busiest. Found in the heart of the country’s capital city, Lilognwe, it is divided by the Lilongwe River. On one side, take you’re pick of fresh fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, herbs and spices. Cross over a bamboo footbridge and stroll through stalls selling clothing, fabrics and other knickknacks.
6. Incredible Scenery
Malawi has spectacular and diverse scenery. Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve splits its terrain between dense forest and marshland. It is a must-visit for avid birdwatchers. If you’re a fan of hiking, Mulanje Mountain is worth the trip. Covered in the evergreen Mulanje Cyprus tree, it gives way to fantastic views of the green landscape below. Another great hiking spot is Ntchisi Forest Reserve. It is lush, misty rainforest in the Ntchisi Mountains that promises peace and tranquillity. Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is characterised by its rushing rivers and woodland terrain. It’s the perfect spot for walking safaris, birdwatching or canoeing down the Bua River.