Malawi, a little-known country with a lot to offer. Unlike its larger neighbours, Malawi has received less attention from the tourism industry in the past, although that is changing. Every year the number of tourist visitors grows, as more and more people learn about this small African country. Packed with incredible things to see and do, if you are considering a trip to Malawi, make sure you check out Marc Crouch’s list of five unmissable places:
Soak up the atmosphere of Lake Malawi
Surrounded by luscious forests, sweeping landscapes, sandy beaches and with a choice of luxury tourist lodges, Lake Malawi rivals the romantic coastlines of the Caribbean and Mediterranean. The perfect place to while away the afternoon – or a year – this absolutely stunning location is great whatever you feel like doing; whether it’s sunbathing and relaxing on the shores or getting out on the water, swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing or even kite-surfing.
Spend some time with locals
Malawi is known by many as the warm heart of Africa, and that isn’t just because of its sunny weather. The people are known to be some of the friendliest and most welcoming in all of the continent, meaning no trip to this country is complete without spending some time with the locals and experiencing their unique culture. One of the best ways to do this is by volunteering in small communities, but there are many other ways to spend time with Malawians, including exploring the capital Lilongwe, attending local events, or just wandering through the local villages.
Take in the view from Mulanje Mountain
Another of Malawi’s incredible beauty spots, Mount Mulanje is a must-see when visiting the country. Found near the southern tip of Malawi, the mountain is the tallest in the country, with its peak standing at 3000m high. Hikable and drivable – in 4×4 vehicles – Mount Mulanje is not only home to incredible panoramic views that stretch all the way across the border of Mozambique, but has a number of other surprises. The ascent up any part of the mountain is simply stunning, with waterfalls, streams, grassy plains, rock formations and forests scattered across its sloped edges. Many visitors choose to camp up Mulanje and spend their nights surrounded by the nature and wildlife of the mountain, including klipspringer, a small species of antelope.
Explore the wilderness in Malawi’s wildlife reserves
Like most sub-Saharan African nations, Malawi is home to a wide variety of large animals, such as hippos, elephants, rhinos and many antelope species. In the 1990s Malawi was a prime area for poachers and a lot of the wildlife populations were under serious threat. Now, however, the Malawian government and non-profit organisations have made some real changes and the numerous wildlife reserves across the country are making an exciting recovery to their former glory. Visiting the game reserves, you’ll be treated to an exceptional African safari, finished with a unique Malawian twist. As the country isn’t as well known as its neighbours, you will share the experience with fewer other people and enjoy a greater sense of wilderness as you set out on your wildlife exploration.
Visit the ancient Chongoni Rocks
South of Lilongwe, in the serene area of Dedza and the great plateau, visitors to Malawi will find a site that predates even the ancient Romans. A collection of 127 pieces of rock art, spanning across the forest areas in which they are found, the Chongoni Rock Art Area is an unparalleled chance to get a glimpse into Africa’s ancient history. Now protected as a World Heritage Site, the rocks display Stone Age carvings thought to have been left behind by hunter gatherers during rituals or ceremonies. This is just one of several cultural heritage sites to be discovered during a visit to Malawi.
Marc Crouch represents www.tongole.com, the perfect destination for anybody looking to explore the many highlights of Malawi.