Malawi, known as the ‘Land of the Lake’, is dominated by Lake Malawi. This vast expanse of water stretches 500 kilometres along the eastern border with Mozambique and takes up one fifth of the country’s entire surface area.
The South of Malawi gives way to plains, valleys and the River Shire. However, central Africa’s tallest peak, Mount Mulanje, can also be found in this part of the country. At 3000m this mountain is a great place for the intrepid explorer to trek and camp.
No trip to Malawi would be complete without a safari element, be it walking, horse riding, travelling by boat or 4×4. One of the best places to do this is in Liwonde National Park. Refreshingly, this park and all others in Malawi have not become overrun by 4×4 convoys and so guarantee that visitors feel very much alone with nature and the wildlife. Situated at the southern tip of Lake Malawi with the River Shire flowing along its western border, Liwonde National Park constitutes an excellent environment in which to view hippos and crocodiles.
There are also plenty of elephants, impala and baboons and the less common kudu and bushback as well as Black Rhinos which have recently been reintroduced. Leopards can be spotted on night drives and because of the amount of water within the park, birdlife is abundant. Liwonde is perhaps the most famous, but there are eight other national parks and wildlife reserves in Malawi which offer a diverse range of game viewing in differing terrains. Additionally, just over the border into Zambia and easily accessible from Malawi, is the South Luangwa National Park, one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world.
The diversity of Malawi’s landscape makes it a particularly appealing and beautiful country to visit. There are not many places where you can scuba dive one day, trek across a high plateau the next and track rhinos in a secluded national park the following. But what really sets Malawi apart is the welcoming smiles, kind nature, desire to assist and genuine friendliness of the local people. There is no doubt that Malawi is fully deserving of its reputation as ‘the warm heart of Africa’