Officially known as the Republic of Malawi, Malawi is a landlocked country located in southeast Africa that was once referred to as ‘Nyasaland’. In the northwest it is bordered by Zambia, to the northeast by Tanzania, and on the east, south and west by Mozambique. The region is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by the magnificent Lake Malawi
. The country covers more than 188,000 square kilometres with a population of almost 15 million. The capital of Malawi is Lilongwe, which is also the country’s biggest city, with the second and third largest being Blantyre and Mzuzu respectively. ‘Malawi’ is derived from the Maravi, an old name for the Nyanja folk who dwell in this region. The country is also known as ‘the warm heart of Africa’.
With Malawi being among some of the least developed countries in the world, its economy is based strongly on agriculture and majority of its population is rural. The country has tackled several big challenges, such as building and expanding the economy, improving education and healthcare, upping environmental protection and becoming financially independent. Since 2005, Malawi has had numerous programmes implemented that confront these issues. The quest to improve life in Malawi seems to be successful thus far, with many improvements in economic development, education and healthcare.
Malawi’s flag consists of three equal horizontal lines of black, red, and green with a red sunrise over the middle of the black stripe. The black is meant to signify the people of Africa, the red signifies the blood shed by those who fought for freedom in Africa, and the green signifies the lush green landscapes, whilst the sun represents the dawn of new freedoms and hopes for the continent. The sun was replaced by a complete white sun in the centre in 2010, as a symbol of Malawi’s economic growth, but was switched back to the rising sun in 2012.
Malawi has a very interesting culture, in which the art of dance plays a large part. Traditional music and dances can be witnessed during initiation rites, rituals, marriage ceremonies and celebrations. The indigenous ethnic groups of the country have a solid tradition of basketry and mask carving, some goods of which are utilised in cultural ceremonies performed by the natives. Wood carving and oil painting are popular in more metropolitan areas, with plenty of the stunning handmade goods being sold to tourists.
The people of Malawi are very well-known for being extremely friendly, hospitable, colourful and lively. Meeting with these folk is always a highlight for anyone paying a visit to the country. Therefore, there are now plenty of chances for tourists to spend time in genuine villages (including staying overnight) in order to gain first-hand experiences of the cultures, traditions and lifestyle.
The landscapes of the country are exquisitely beautiful and diverse. Malawi’s tallest peaks reach up to 3,000 metres, and the country is generally quite green and lush, with numerous highlands, forests, mountains plains, escarpments and dramatic river valleys. Spend your time here paying visits to the beautiful Rift Valley, Lake Malawi, Elephant Marsh, and many more tourist attractions that can be pointed out to you by the locals or tour guides.
There is much to do in Malawi, including various boating activities and water sports that take place on Lake Malawi. You could also partake in some freshwater diving at one of the best spots in the world, Nkhata Bay – a real treat for any guest of the country.
This gorgeous country lies along one side of the massive Lake Malawi, formerly known as Lake Nyasa.
Malawi has a population of 11 million people with the official language being English. The capital is Lilongwe. The average temperature ranges from 21-27 degrees celcius all year round. Malawi's main attraction is Lake Malawi.
Quick facts about Malawi
Full name: Republic of Malawi
Capital city: Lilongwe
Area: 118,484 sq km; 45,747 sq miles
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +2 ()
Languages: English (official)
Religion: Protestant (55%); Roman Catholic (20%); Muslim (20%); traditional indigenous beliefs
Electricity: 230V; 50HzHz
Electric Plug Details: British-style plug: 2 flat blades & 1 flat grounding blade
Country Dialling Code: 265
Visa Details: Click Here
Money matters: Per Capita Income: US$200, Currency: Malawi Kwacha (MK)
Medical matters: Rabies, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Schistosomiasis (bilharzia), HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Heat stroke, Hypothermia, Giardiasis, Hepatitis, Typhoid, Meningococcal meningitis, Cholera
Recent history of Malawi
In 1964, Malawi gained independence from Britain under the President for life Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda. Malawi alienated its neighbours for many years by staying on friendly terms with South Africa at a time when the 'Frontline States' (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique) tried to isolate South Africa by political boycott and trade.
Muluzi became president in 1999. In 2002, he wanted to give himself life presidency. So, he attempted to change the constitution. Meanwhile, the country was going through a terrible drought. A water hyacinth problem was threatening Lake Malawi and its surrounding waters. Along with this, thousands of Zimbabwe refugees fled into Malawi, and the AIDS/HIV infection rate was rocketing, but not much was being done about this.
Controversy struck in 2004, when Bingu wa Mutharika was elected to become the new president. Since then, the government of Malawi experienced vicious political infighting, corruption and poor economic performance.
The political environment in Malawi got intense, so, in 2006, Mutharika unveiled a large grave in honour of former president Hastings Banda, and announced that he will continue Banda's work.
- Water sports
- Horse riding
- Bargain for curios in Lilongwe’s market
- Explore a Malawian village
- Taste the local cuisine
- Sunrises over Lake Malawi
- Diving in freshwater lakes
is the capital city of Malawi. You’ve got the incredibly modern New City, which is the city centre filled with ministries, embassies, airline offices, travel agents, mini-malls and office buildings. Then you’ve got Old Town, which is very inspiring. Here you’ll find the market, several restaurants and cafes, the bus station and some good accommodation.
Located on the shores of Lake Malawi, Kande Beach
, is an idyllic location to just unwind and relax. The water is clear, blue and safe to swim in with white golden sands to meander along. Choose from many watersports and activities to enhance your Africa safari.
Northern Lake Shores
The least visited and among the country’s most beautiful areas, is where Lake Malawi is at its widest, which is on its Northern Lake Shores
. Not many people live there, so the beaches are more secluded, with miles and miles of pristine white sand and rough rock formations, and a charming fishing village here and there. Everything’s greener and lusher here, because the area is in the tropics.
Southern Lake Shores
The busiest and most popular parts of Lake Malawi are the Southern Lake Shores
. It’s got the most lodges and hotels in the country, and varies from fancy hotels with their own golf courses and airstrips, to simpler backpacker and camping spots. The biggest bonus is that they’ve all got uncrowded, excellent beaches that offer a range of lake activities.