This country is land locked and was previously referred to as Nyasaland. Malawi is bordered in the northwest by Zambia, to the north east Tanzania, to the south, west and east by Mozambique. It has a total human populace of approximately 14 million, and occupies an expanse of 11,800 sq. Km. Lake Malawi separates this country from Mozambique and the neighboring Tanzania. The country was named after a small community called Nyanja that previously resided in the place.
Generally, Malawi is not very urbanized and this is because it has an overwhelming human population. On the other hand, its economy majorly relies on agriculture. The country carries out a lot of fishing and exports a large portion to other countries. Chambo is the main fish species exported from Malawi. Notably, during the British rule, Malawi was called Nyasaland. After the departure of the Portuguese, Dr. David Livingstone arrives as one of the first European explorers in 1859.
The country has remarkable tourist attractions such as Golomoti Escarpment. There is also a boat ride for visitors on Lake Malawi. Also in this country, one can reach river Shire and River Zambezi. South of the stunning Lake Malawi are the Shire Highklands that project to 3000 ft above sea level. The 10000ft or 3048 meter and 7000 ft or 2134 meter high Mlanje & Zomba Mountain peaks respectively can be sighted at in the country. Lilongwe is the capital city of Malawi whiles the largest city I Blantyre; a busy commercial center with close to 500,000 people.
The country has palm fringed beaches, enclosed by sheer mountains, making it a focal point for tourists.
Currency: 1 Malawian Kwacha=100 tambala
Time: GMT +2
Major Airport: Lilongwe Kamuzu International (LLW)
Ports and Harbours: Monkey Bay, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Chipoka, Chilumba.
Electricity 230V running at 50Hz.
Main Health risk: Maria
International telephone country code: 265
Capital: Lilongwe. Other cities: Blantyre (the commercial capital), Zomba, Mzuzu.
Rainfall: 1500 to 2000 mm / 60 to 80 inches
Temperature: Minimum-16°C , Maximum- 32°C.
Land Area: 118,484 sq. km. (45,747 sq. mi.)
Altitude: 50 meters above sea level (Lower Shire) to 3000 meters
Vegetation: savannah woodland, Evergreen forests
Natural Resourses: Limestone, uranium (potential), coal, bauxite, phosphates, graphite, granite, black granite, vermilite, aquamarine, tourmaline, rubies, sapphires, rare earths
Land use: Arable land: 23.38% permanent crops: 1.49% other: 75.13%
Major National Park: Lake Malawi national park
Main Exports: tobacco, tea and sugar.
Climate: Predominately subtropical.
Terrain: Plateaus, highlands, and valleys. Lake Malawi (formerly referred to as Lake Nyasa) comprises about 20% of total area.
Language: English (official), Chichewa (official), regional dialects, i.e., Chitumbuka, Chiyao, Chilomwe.
Population: 12.1 million.
Density: 87.66 hab./km²,
Life expectancy: 41.43 yrs.
Religion: Protestant 55%, Roman Catholic 20%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs 3%, other 2%.
Income per capita: $150.90.
Education:Primary, secondary, higher, university
Ethnic groups: Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asian, European.
President:Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika
First Vice President: Dr. Cassim Chilumpha
National Flag: Red represents the blood Malawians shed during their struggle for independence, Green represents vegetation and black means black race.
Government: Multi-party democracy.
Administrative divisions: 28 districts.
Malawi can be visited at any time of the year as its always beautiful. However, be warned that country roads are often impassable to normal vehicles during heavy rains. The country is more attractive in the wetter, greener months. Bird watchers enjoy their best sightings in October and November.
May and June months combine the best of both seasons – cooler, still green with great visibility Game viewing is best in the hottest times of the dry season when the animals are forced to visit water sources.
GETTING THERE AND AWAY:
The country has several Airports with International flights which land in Malawi’s capital; Lilongwe. Flights, especially those from Johannesburg and Harare, land at Blantyre, the business centre of Malawi.
Malawi has several European Airlines and African Airlines flying into the country. These include British Airways and KLM (via Nairobi with Kenya Airways), African Airlines flying to Malawi include Air wp, Air Malawi, South African Airways, Air Tanzania, Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways.
Domestic departures are charged for of MWK100 and all travellers pay an airport departure tax of US$20 when leaving the country.
VISA AND PASSPORT GUIDELINES
All visitors to Malawi should have a valid passport. This should be at least six months to expiry date. Visas are not obtainable at points of entry and must be organised prior to travelling through the nearest Malawian Embassy or High Commission. Visitors passes are required by all foreign passport holders and these can be obtained, free of charge, at the point of entry.
Visitors require Visas to enter Malawi, except nationals of Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Botswana, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Iceland, Israel, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago, UK, USA, Zambia, wp.
Visitor’s passes are valid for 1 month and can easily be extended, up to a maximum of 90 days, at any of the immigration offices which can be found in most major towns.
It is advisable to check with your nearest Malawi Embassy/Consular before you travel since Visa requirements can change at any time.
Malawi has several Tour and travel companies/Tourist offices which offer Airline tickets and also offer other services.
Malawi has a good road system that links the country to others, and city to city. Bus services are available throughout Malawi daily. Train Services are also available, with a railway connecting Lilongwe to Blantyre via Salima and Blantyre to Nsanje near the border where it extends into Mozambique to Biera.
There are vehicles for hire, and there are two ferries, the MV Ilala and MV Mtendere,which travel once a week between Monkey Bay and Chilumba.
Malawi has a wide range of accommodation. The country has several hotels including Protea Hotel Ryalls, Le Meridien, Mont Soche in Blantyre, Le Meridien Livingstonia Beach in the Southern Lakeshore, Le Meridien Capital, Le Meridien Ku Chawe.
These hotels offer several facilities and attractions, beautiful sceneries, gardens and Beaches for relaxation and enjoyment.
There are several attractions found in Malawi like Lake Malawi with several fish Species, the Beaches with Scuba diving and water sports. Malawi has nine National Parks & Wildlife Reserves like Kasungu National Park, Lake Malawi National Park, Nyika National Park with a variety of wildlife, Kamuzu Academy (the ‘Eton of Africa’) and Likoma Island.
The country has several banking services in most major towns. Travellers cheques and the South African Rand widely exchanged and accepted. Credit and charge cards are accepted, in hotels and banks.
Author: Sandra Nans