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Honeymoon in Malawi

The land of smiles, Africa’s undiscovered gem.

The people of Malawi are well known for their unique culture, warmth and
hospitality and have been acknowledged by travelers as one the friendliest people in the world! It is one of the safest tourist destinations in the world! No wonder it has earned the accolade “the Warm Heart of Africa"! 

The land of the “Lake of Stars”, Lake Malawi, also known as the Calendar Lake, is 365 miles and 52 miles at its longest and widest points. It is the 3rd largest fresh water lake in Africa and 11th in the world and lies within the great African Rift Valley and has a number of islands, two of which are habited and the rest are notable eco-islands.

One of the unique places to visit is the marine park at Cape Maclear which was declared a World Heritage Site and is home to over 1,000 endemic recorded species of cichlids.

Malawi’s mountains and plateaus, hills, valleys and rivers offer breathtaking and spectacular scenery. The majestic Mount Mulanje, at 3,000 metres above sea level, is the highest point in central Africa and a popular destination for adventure tourism.Beautiful Cichlids of Lake Malawi

From the plateaus of Nyika, Viphya and Zomba to the valleys of lower Shire, experience the real beauty of this small but magnificent country.

The country’s national parks, wildlife and forest reserves provide excellent game viewing and unforgettable bird watching experience. Small scale private and community game farms are becoming a popular feature.

The natural heritage of the people and culture make Malawi a unique country. From dances, rituals, annual ceremonies and events, all spice up the cultural tourism calendar of the Warm Heart of Africa!

ABOUT MALAWI

Located within the Southern part of Africa, Malawi lies between latitudes 9 and 18 degrees south of the equator. 

It is a landlocked country, sharing borders with Tanzania to the north, and north east, Zambia to the West and Mozambique to the east and southwest.
Malawi covers an area of about 118,500 square kilometres.

Elevation above sea level varies from approximately 30 metres at Nsanje to 3000 metres at Sapitwa on Mount Mulanje, the highest peak in Southern Africa north of Drankensburg. 

About 20 percent of the country is covered by Lake Malawi, the third largest in Africa.

Malawi is a land of contrasts. Though small, Malawi has diverse topography and scenery with a natural vegetation mix of miombo woodland, and savanna.

History

Malawi (formely known as Nyasaland) was a British colony until 1963. The land came under the British influence as a result of the pioneering activities of Dr David Livingstone in the 19th Century and other Scottish missionaries.

In 1891, Rhodes company was given a charter to administer Southern Rhodesia (presently called Zimbabwe). In the same year, the British government took direct responsibility for the administration of what was then called the British Central African Protectorate.

In the years 1953 to 1963, the British government was confronted with conflicting demands to run the Southern and Northern Rhodesia on the one hand and Nyasaland on the other hand. This prompted the formation of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland which was a self governing colony with its own assembly and Prime Minister (first Lord Malvern and from 1956, Roy Welensky). In the late 1950’s, a “Wind of Change” blew through colonial Africa. In 1961, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda became Prime Minister of Malawi. He led Malawi to its freedom from the British on 6th July 1964. In 1966, the country became a republic. After 30 years of one party system there was the first multi party elections in 1994. Malawi has currently a multi-party democratic system.

Language

The official language of Malawi is English. However, there are other languages which are also spoken in Malawi, the main one being Chichewa.

Climate

Malawi enjoys a sub tropical climate. Warm and Wet Season is experienced from December to April, during which 95 percent of annual precipitation takes place. The average annual rainfall varies from 725 mm to 2500 mm. Cool and Dry season usually occurs from May to August with mean temperatures varying from 17 to 27 degrees Celsius. Temperatures may fall to between 4 and 10 degrees Celsius around this season. In addition, frost may occur in isolated areas in June and July. A Hot and dry season lasts from September to November with average temperatures varying from 23 to 35 degrees Celsius. During hot and dry season, temperatures may shoot up the maximum of around 42 degrees Celsius in some areas along the Lakeshore and the Shire Valley.

Places to visit

ECO ISLANDS

Malawi has a number of small Islands across the Lake. Out of these, only Maleri, Domwe and Mumbo have been developed for eco -tourism. All these islands are located in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As such they offer spectacular scenic vistas and have thus been preserved in their natural and tranquil state for the enjoyment of the future generations.

Maleri Island
Three little islands comprise of what is generically called Maleri. The fish around the waters of the Islands are a major attraction. Accomodation on Maleri Islands is managed by Waterline Limited.

Mumbo & Domwe Islands
Scenically located in Cape Maclear and in the heart of Lake Malawi National Park. Accomodation and other activities are managed and provided by Kayak Africa.

KASUNGU NATIONAL PARK

It is 2,500 sq. km. in size and located in the central region of the country relatively close to Lilongwe the capital. The park has a rolling terrain of over 1,000m in altitude with isolated inselbergs called the “Wango’mbe Rume” at 1,330m.

Access to park is by road approximately 2hrs drive from the capital Lilongwe, branching off to Kasungu boma.

The park is renowned for spectacular archaeological sites, the notable one being an iron smelting furnace and some rock paintings that are assume to be pre-Bantu.

Elephants and Antelopes are common as are small herds of Buffalo’s and Zebras. Lions and Leopards are occasionally sighted. There is a significant number of hippos, hyenas and wild dogs and the bird watcher is well catered for.

Accommodation is available and suited for all budgets at Lifupa Lodge.

NYIKA NATIONAL PARK

Nyika is Malawi’s largest and oldest National Park with a size of 3,134 square km.

It is located in the northern region of the country 507km from the capital city, Lilongwe.

It is one of the Trans Frontier Conservation Areas (TFCA) between Malawi and Zambia.

Nyika has breath-taking rolling hills, lush grassland, forested valleys, “miombo woodland” and evergreen forests.

The park can also be accessed by air through Chelinda Air Strip.

There is an abundant plant life in the park with over 3,000 species of which over 200 types are orchids. The grasslands of Nyika are further rich in wildflowers which carpet the hills all year round.

Nyika ParkThe mountain vegetation attracts large numbers of antelope ranging from the diminutive duiker to eland and roan. Zebra are common.

The park has one of the highest densities of leopard in Central Africa and there are a number of species of smaller mammals such as warthog, jackal and bush pig.

Elephants and buffalo usually keep to the lower ground on the northern edge of the park but lions and elephants have recently been sighted on the plateau.

For the birdwatcher, the park has a lot to offer as over 400 species have been recorded. The rare Denham’s Bustard, Cinnamon Dove, Battled Trogon, Starred Robin and the Wattled Crane are among those to be seen, as is the Red-Winged Francolin-endemic to Nyika.

Nyika is recommended for trekking, mountain biking and horse riding safaris, as well as more conventional 4x4 excursions.

WILD LIFE RESERVES

Nkhotakota Game Reserve

This is Malawi’s largest Wildlife Reserve and is 1,802 square km. It is 115km from Lilongwe and 642km from Blantyre. It was established as a Wildlife Reserve in 1954.

Situated to the east of Kasungu National Park, Nkhotakota covers a huge area of escarpment wilderness and numerous drainage lines join three major north-easterly flowing rivers: the Dwangwa (on the northern boundary), the Bua and the Kaombe. Woodland (mostly miombo) is the main vegetation-type and there is some fine riparian forest along the major rivers.
It has the following animals: - Elephant, Sable Antelope, Eland, Buffalo, Baboon, Hippo, Kudu, Hartebeest, Warthog, Zebra, and Grysbok.

Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve

This Wildlife Reserve is 986km in size and is situated in a low-lying area to the south west of Nyika Plateau in Malawi, and joining the Zambian Luangwa eco-system (South Luangwa park and Vwaza are about 60km apart), has permanent water, open floodplains and hilly woodlands. Animals seen here include many elephant and buffalo plus lion, kudu and kudu as well as exceptional birdlife.
Vwaza Marsh Game ReserveVwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve may be one of Malawi's lesser-known (and little-visited) safari destinations, but it is surprisingly rewarding. It is rated as one of the best reserves in Africa thanks to this abundance and variety of wildlife.

In Malawi, Vwaza Marsh Game reserve looks out across the lake from which it takes its name. It is September, midway through the dry season; the rains are not expected for another three months. From the bar area, a constant ebb and flow of wildlife around the lake is visible.

Getting there

Air Malawi operates a service to Mzuzu from Lilongwe. From there it is two hours by road. Nyika Safaris provide a transfer for US$70 one-way. There are also transfers to and from Chelinda Camp in Nyika National Park.

When to go

August to November is the best time to go for game viewing. This is the dry season and the animals begin to concentrate around the water sources

Majete Wildlife Reserve

Majete Wildlife Reserve, proclaimed in 1955, is situated in the Lower Shire Valley, a section of Africa's Great Rift Valley, covering an area of 700 km2. Vegetation is diverse, ranging from moist miombo woodland in the western hills, to dry savannah in the east with prominent thickets along the riverbanks.

Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve

Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve is located at the southernmost tip of Malawi. It is 135 sq km in size hence and the smallest of the Malawian reserves. Nevertheless it boasts a variety of habitats unequalled by the larger reserves, and, because of its remoteness, a wilderness atmosphere that is redolent of the old Africa of Livingstone and Stanley.

Source www.visitmalawi.mw

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