Malawi is a little known gem of a country in the heart of central southern Africa that offers a true African experience at a relatively low cost. It is a long and narrow landlocked country, covering more than 1000 kilometers from north to south. Lake Malawi, nearly 600km long and up to 80km wide, dominates the country side.
There is no country in all Africa that has its geography so sculptured and determined by Africa’s Great Rift Valley, the largest single geographical feature on earth. This ancient 5000 km-long geological formation bisects much of Africa from Egypt to Botswana and boasts a bewildering array of habitats and lush vegetation. Towering mountains, lush, fertile valley floors and enormous crystal – clear lakes are hallmarks of much of the rift valley – and Malawi displays them all. Fertile soils are a result of the rift valley and evidence of this is to be found every where in Malawi. Throw a seed to the ground and plant grows.
Malawi’s scenery is diverse and the habitats are varied. And its lowest point, the country is only about 35m above sea level; its highest point, mount Mulanje, is 140km away and over 3000m above sea level. Between these altitude extremes, there are rolling hills, plateaus, cool misty mountains and wide ranging scenery. Each of the many diverse habitats protected within Malawi’s nine national parks and game reserves – from elephants to orchids.
For those keen on experiencing African culture in all its complexity and beauty, Malawi is a warm and welcoming country that offers visitors wonderful scenery, fascinating parks and some of the friendliest people in Africa. It is no wonder that it known as the “warm heart of Africa.”
MEET THE PEOPLE
Malawi is one of the few places in Africa where you can really meet the local inhabitants or visit a rural community in an atmosphere totally devoid of either expectation or affection.
Over the years we have increasingly incorporated the country’s greatest asset; it’s amazingly friendly people, into our tours and safaris.
The people we visit are not ‘genuine tribesmen’ in exotic traditional dress, or hunter-gatherers eking out existence in some pristine wilderness. Usually they are simple farmers and the like, living in close-knit rural communities and happy to share their life with visitors.
The experiences we offer, always optioned and always attuned to the sensibilities of both traveler and villager, take a variety of forms. This varies from a straight forward visit to a village with a guide from the area on hand to lead you through the local customs and courtesies, to a bike ride to a school to listen to local children’s choir, or the famous “cathedral walk” on Likoma Island.
As well as providing a glimpse into a world that is all too often only seen in passing from a car window, we believe that these contacts foster greater understanding of the challenges of the developing world and give a better perspective as to how tourism plays a part in making a difference down at grass roots level.