Magical Malawi. Image via Pixabay

Magical Malawi: The ‘warm heart of Africa’

Known as the ‘warm heart of Africa,’ and dominated by the magnificent Lake Malawi, the country offers a mixture of beautiful landscapes, fascinating wildlife, warm, friendly people, and rich culture that come together to make this small nation a wonderful place to visit.


Magical Malawi. Image via Pixabay

Home to a broad diversity of beautiful landscapes ranging from 10,000-foot-high snow-capped mountain peaks to beautiful beaches along the shores of Lake Malawi, this lush, green country spans forests, highlands, plateaux, and mountains, alongside plains, escarpments, and dramatic river valleys. 

The jewel in the country’s crown is Lake Malawi, a vast body of freshwater bordered by golden sandy beaches and swaying palms. This alluring inland sea is not only a picturesque wonderland but provides a variety of excellent water sports opportunities for those looking for something beyond sun, sand, and swimming.

Playtime in Lake Malawi. Image supplied

Wildlife in Malawi

Malawi is blessed with a rich diversity of flora and fauna and has no fewer than nine national parks and wildlife reserves to showcase them.

Vast rolling grasslands support large varieties of antelope, such as bushbuck, grey duiker, kudu, grysbok, klipspringer, and reedbuck, while the dense woodlands offer cover for sable and waterbuck and the elusive roan and eland.

Lengwe in the North has good populations of the rare Livingstone’s suni and the beautiful Nyala.

Herds of elephant, buffalo, and zebra abound, and black rhino has recently been successfully re-introduced, while thousands of hippo and crocodile command the waterways.

Big cats are only occasionally seen, with the odd sighting of lion and the elusive leopard, but smaller cats, such as the civet, genet, serval, and wildcat are widespread. Hyena are the most common of the other major predators and can be spotted in all the protected land areas.

Malawi has a fantastic variety of birds, ranging from woodland and grassland species to vast numbers of water birds, while Lake Malawi is home to over 700 species of fish, the majority of which are the endemic cichlid.

Where to stay

For those looking to have a beach holiday in the heart of Africa, the beautiful Lake Malawi offers a wide variety of comfortable accommodation, ranging from intimate guesthouses tucked away on the sandy beaches to luxury lodges hidden on its rocky islands.

If it is untamed wilderness and big game you are after, popular safari destinations like Liwonde National Park and the Nyika Plateau offer an excellent range of places to stay from luxury safari lodges to back-to-basics camping.

What to do

The ‘warm heart of Africa’ provides a plethora of things to do, ranging from exhilarating land-based safaris in search of big game, to exploring the many towns and villages filled with friendly, welcoming locals.

Home to more fish than any other lake in the world, as well as beautiful sandy coves and beaches and small, secluded islands, Lake Malawi is a must! The clear blue waters of the lake are popular for snorkelling and scuba diving, as well as sailing, kayaking, and swimming, and you can find yourself quiet beach and get lost in paradise.

Nyasa Lake Malawi. Image via Pixabay

Visit the world’s first freshwater national park at the Lake Malawi National Park, or try your hand at fishing on the southern lakeshore north of Mangochi and Senga Bay, renowned for yellow fish, lake salmon, and lake tiger.

Head inland for some game viewing with a visit to the Kasungu National Park, which is packed with elephants, large herds of buffalo, and varieties of antelope, such as kudu and reedbuck, or hike the breath-taking landscapes of the Nyika Plateau.

Also read: Celebrating Africa day: Malawian zitumbuwa recipe