Malawi :: Malawi
Category: Places :: Country
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Malawi is a sliver of country squashed in between Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia but despite its small size, it offers a lot. Malawi's primary attraction certainly is Lake Malawi, an enormous freshwater inland sea.
It forms most of the eastern border between Malawi and Mozambique and since it covers almost a fifth of the country, it provides a livelihood to many of the Malawian people. A common and beautiful sight is that of a fisherman on his bwato (dugout canoe), fishing on the calm waters at daybreak. The Lake Malawi National Park is a World Heritage Site and it contains a greater variety of endemic species of fish than any other lake on earth. So far over 500 species have been identified that can be found nowhere else in the world.
These are preyed by fish eagle, cormorant, kingfisher and heron. The park includes the Khumba Peninsula and 12 islands. A number of tourist resorts and hotels have been established on the lake shore. The more luxurious of these can be found on the southern shore while on the northern shore there are a number of rustic resorts and campsites close to the traditional villages.
The resorts are well equipped for water sports like snorkelling, water-skiing, paragliding, windsurfing and sailing. Lake Malawi is recognised as one of the best freshwater diving destinations in the world. Conditions are safe and the water is clear and warm, averaging 22 - 27° C.
Away from the lake shore, there are magnificent plateau, peaks and escarpments and the landscape cover a huge range of highs and lows, from mountaintops to riverbeds. Mount Mulanje, Malawi's highest mountain, dominates the extreme south of the country and offers top class climbing and hiking. Tropical rainforests cover the ravines, where streams cascade from the high plateau to the plains below.
Nyika Plateau National Park in the north is the largest of Malawi's parks. The Zomba Plateau in the south is high and wet, with stunning views of the surrounding mountains, and there are some spectacular hiking trails through the orchid-studded pastures and forests at the top.
Describing themselves as the friendliest people in Africa, all of the Malawian ethnic groups live harmoniously together. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, and most of the people rely on subsistence farming or fishing to survive. Despite this the people are generally happy and friendly, and any tourist will be made to feel most welcome.
Roads are not in the best condition and during the rainy season (November to March) floods can cause rivers to burst their banks and bridges and roads sometimes get washed away.
Currency: Kwacha. Capital: Lilongwe. Climate: Although the overall climate is tropical, the low-lying areas in the south are hot and the northern highlands are more temperate. It is a summer rainfall area which means November to March is hot and wet. April to August is moderate and dry, while September and October are the hot, dry months.
“Riaan Marais commented on the T4A Forum: We’re having a big problem with dirty (mixed with anything from water to kerosene) fuel in Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania. The small in-between petrol stations are usually the culprits. We had a dead vehicle in the convoys yesterday because of dirty fuel. Personally, I will only fill up at BP, Total, Engen, Gapco, Oilcom. (28/02/2012)” - Karin Theron, 2012/02/29
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