A great destination for those who want to get a taste of Africa, but aren’t ready for the dangers and extremes that the safari can bring, Malawi has a number of wildlife preserves and a vast population of African wild fauna species. Within the last few years, a program to reintroduce lion populations has been started, so that you can get a full picture of the African safari. However, the safari isn’t the only great thing about Malawi, but also Lake Malawi, which is one of the largest lakes in Africa. It is a great place to dive and snorkel, or even just kayak. Malawi also boasts a few other natural wonders for those willing to explore it.
Important and Interesting Facts About Malawi
- The Shire River flows through the Shire Highlands of south Malawi. It drops 400m from Lake Malawi to the border with Mozambique, Malawi’s lowest point. The river passes many falls and the rapids on its short path. The Shire River is part of the Great Rift Valley.
- Likoma Island in Lake Malawi is a smallish island located toward the eastern side of Lake Malawi. Its most notable feature is its cathedral, which was built in 1903.
- Tobacco and tea are the chief exports of Malawi. Malawi also has the highest production of burley leaf tobacco, a low grade, high nicotine tobacco.
- Malawi is landlocked and is bordered by Tanzania to the northeast, Mozambique on the east, south and west, and Zambia to the northwest.
- Malawi is home to the third largest lake in Africa, Lake Malawi. It is also the eighth largest lake in the world, and the second deepest lake in Africa. It is home to many species of fish, as well as hippos, crocodiles and fish eagles. It is also known as Lake Nyasa stemming from the days when Malawi was known as Nyasaland.
- Zomba is not just a tourist destination, but people have been told that some endangered species of birds are seen there. Those are the white-winged apalis. There are fewer than 100 breeding pairs of the white-winged apalis left in the wild. On the outskirts of Zomba, amidst the Jacaranda trees, you can see a pair of these beautiful birds.
- The beautiful old stone building in Blantyre built in 1891 is St. Michael and All Angels Church. It was designed by the Rev. David Scott who had no architectural background whatsoever. It was built by local labor that had very little experience in construction. Considering this, it is an absolutely magnificent building.
- Liwonde National Parkis Malawi’s premier national park with lodges on the Shire River providing a lovely backdrop to a huge variety of birds, hippos, elephants and many more species of wildlife.
- Mulanje Mountain – One of Africa’s top trekking destinations, Mulanje Mountain offers wonderful hiking opportunities to reach its 3,000m summit, and other craggy peaks, with many trails in pristine landscapes with waterfalls and streams.
- Blantyre– Malawi’s commercial capital and a great place to unwind get some shopping done, enjoy some live music and decent restaurants – especially if you’re overlanding or backpacking through this part of Africa.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts About Malawi
- Lake Malawi was once called “The Lake of Stars” by the famed Scottish explorer David Livingstone, because lantern lights he saw from the fishermen’s boats resembled the stars at night.
- In 2006, Malawi was brought into international spotlight when David Banda Mwale, a Malawian boy in an orphanage, was adopted by pop icon Madonna.
- Malawian men generally prefer wearing slacks rather than walking shorts, as the latter are regarded as a piece of clothing worn only by school children.
- Malawi is the only country in the world that has a Carlsberg factory (with the exception, of course, of Denmark) – so Carlsberg beer is sold here at just about 35p!
- It is not unusual in Malawi to see a 12-seater bus transporting 25 people, plus goats, chicken, and baskets of vegetables.
- Malawi’s Lake Nyasa contains more fish species than any other lake on earth.
- Malawi boasts the world’s fifth-best netball team. The Queens are officially the most successful sporting team the nation has ever produced.
- The name Malawi comes from the Maravi an old name of the Nyanja people that inhabit the area. The country is also nicknamed ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’.
- Ku Chawe Inn is a resort of note. Established in colonial times. Situated on Zomba Plateu, 900 meters above Zomba Town of Malawi. The British Monarch favorite sleeping place.
- Zomba in Malawi has always been a pilgrimage town for all reasons. If a child was bright, he would be happy to study at the prestigious Secondary School popularly called Box 2 Zomba. If somebody was extraordinary bright, too bright to be true, he qualified for Mental Hospital, Box 1 Zomba. Brighter students end up at Chancellor College, University of Malawi, Box 280 Zomba.
Historical and Cultural Facts About Malawi
- Chambo is the staple diet of many lakeside residents. This fish is the most important agricultural output of Lake Malawi.
- The traditional dress worn by women on Malawi is called Chitenje. It is a rectangular piece of fabric which comes in a variety of patterns, colors and designs. It is tied in much the same way as you would tie a sarong. It is sometimes used to cover up slightly shabbier clothing and can also be used as a baby sling or as a pot holder.
- Malawi is rightly known as “The Warm Heart of Africa”. The locals you meet are friendly, courteous and hospitable.
- It was the Portuguese introduced maize to the region. Today, maize is still the staple grain of Malawi.
- The earliest human settlements in Malawi date back to 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. They were Bushmen people, whose rock paintings can still be seen outside the capital of Lilongwe.
- In July 1957, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother spent a night at Ku Chawe Inn in Zomba. The occasion she also inaugurated the Queens Hospital in Blantyre.
- In July 1979, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Phillip spent few nights at Ku-Chawe Inn, Zomba. Take note of the month of July.
- Human remains dating all the way back to 8000 BC have also been found in Malawi.
- Medicine men and women provide health care for many people, especially in rural areas, using traditional or folk medicine. Sometimes called singanas, they work out of the home or from a clinic, using natural medicines such as roots, herbs, and potions. Medicine men base their healing on the assumption that most illnesses are caused by supernatural powers and that supernatural powers are required to cure them.
- There is a long tradition of oral artistry. Before the spread of literacy in the twentieth century, texts were preserved in memory and performed or recited. Those traditional texts provided entertainment, instruction, and commemoration.