The first country i noticed to have lots of this kind of beautiful big shady Trees of strong orange to red colored blossoms. I was so fascinated about this. Next to my favorite blossoming Tree, the Jakaranda, this Flame tree became very close to my heart. I was so crazy enough that i almost took pictures of every Flame Tree that i encountered on my way.
Fondest memory: Anyway, this is the reason why i travel because from this means i load my spirit full of joy and happiness, calmness and peace of mind, then i feel relaxed and unstressed when i see these enchanted colorful flowers from other countries. To be able to witness this beautiful side of Malawi in the fields of Flowers, was a great memory that i never will forget during my stay. When i mention Malawi i associate it right away with the countless blooming Flame Trees. I enjoyed and i hope you also will upon seeing my pictures ;-)
It's a rugged and dramatic country. It is quite green in places. There is a lot to see. It is underdeveloped, but a country with a lot of potential to take advantage of the tourist market. It is poor and has no civil strife. A good place to visit is Liwonde National Park. I went on a safari there.
As with travelling to any country, get those shots before you go. Malaria is a problem. There is some petty crime, but generally it is safe. Weather can be hot, so slap on the suncream with high factors, and keep topping it up. While there was a minor earthquake while we were there, it is not a thing to worry about.
If you are into or even have the slightest interest in astronomy, get out and view the night sky. It is clear and looks different than at home. We were about 15°S, a big difference from being 53°N, so it was fascinating to see stars apparently in different places, and ones that I would not see at home.
Fondest memory: Talk to and engage with the locals. The children love scrap, like empty water bottles, which they put to good use. Nothing goes to waste. They also love having their photos taken, and then seeing themselves on a digital camera.
Malawi is known as the Warm Heart of Africa. It lives up to that. Enjoy it.
Here are some other videos I took while there:
Locals singing Christian music
Ask if you think you see a business man on the street if he knows a bank you can change money. He will probably give you a better rate himself than the bank can do.
Fondest memory: During my time in Malawi (August 2009) the exchange rate at the bank was 142 MWK (Malawi Kwacha) to 1 USD. The exchange rate at the black marked was 160 MWK. Most of the shops and private business men did the change for you. But they said it was forbidden to change the money at the black marked.
One Kwacha is divided into 100 Tambala, an almost non-existing monetary unit.
Change as little money as possible in Malawi because it is hard to change back to dollars/euros.
I arrived at Mchinji border at 11 PM with the bus from Zambia. Be awake when you are approaching the border, and be one of the first passengers out of the bus. The handling at the Zambian side can take some time. It is wise to have a pen ready because you need to fill out an exit application form to get the exit stamp in your passport. When you have done that you can walk the 300 meters to the Malawian border.
It was very dark when I walked to the Malawian side. I could hardly see the ground. Just walk straight towards the buildings with lights on the other side. Fill out an entry application form and deliver it with your passport to the officer. A 30 days permit will be stamped in your passport (see photo). Stand outside the house and wait for the bus.
Private persons are often waiting for the Zambia-Malawi bus to do some business with the passengers. I recommend to change some money with them. You need the local currency when you arrive in Lilongwe. I'm not sure about the inflation and currency rates. I was there in 2009 and got 30 MWK (Malawian Kwacha) for 1000 ZK (Zambia Kwacha). That was OK and gives an exchange rate of approx 15O MWK to 1 USD. (The official rate at the bank was 142 MWK and the black market in Lilongwe was 160 MWK). My advice is to change 30000 ZK, which is 900 MWK. That is enough for food and taxi when you arrive with the bus.
- Have a pen ready.
- Be one of the first passengers out of the bus.
- Have 20-30000 ZK ready, and try to change money with the locals.
- Walk towards the Malawian side, and get your passport stamped. You MUST have a stamp in your password. There are several road blocks by the Police, and they will check your passport later.
- Application for a visa extension for an additional 30-days (or less) is 5000 MWK.
Fondest memory: On entering to Malawi, citizens of most Commonwealth countries, most European countries (except Switzerland), and the US will be granted a 30 day visa. This can be extended. If you arrive by plane, a return ticket might be required. All borders in Malawi close at 6 PM, except Mchinji border which is open 24 hours.
The main border crossings are:
From Tanzania: Songwe Bridge.
From Zambia: Mchinji and Chitipa.
From Mozambique: Zóbuè - Mwanza, Dedza, Vila Nova da Fronteira, Milange - Mulanje, Entre Lagos - Nayuchi and Mandimba – Chiponde.
Malawi is a small country in south eastern part of Africa, and was formerly known as Nyasaland. The name Malawi comes from the Maravi, the name of the Nyanja people that inhabit the area. David Livingstone reached Lake Malawi in 1859, and the country was colonized by the British in 1891. They ruled the country until its independence in 1964. Malawi was a single-party state from 1970 to 1994, but has now a democratic, multi-party government.
Malawi is among the the poorest and least developed countries in the world. The economy is agriculture based, and the country depends on outside aid to meet its development needs.
Malawi has 3 regions, the Northern, Central and Southern region. They are divided into 28 districts. The commercial center and capital of Malawi is Lilongwe, with a population of 900,000 people. The next largest city is Blantyre further south, with a population of 500,000 people.
The tourist attractions are Lake Malawi National Park and the beaches of Lake Malawi, the Chongoni Rock Art Area, the northern wildlife reserves of Nyika, Kasungu National Park and the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
The Great Rift Valley runs through the country from north to south, and Lake Malawi is located to the east of the valley. Lake Malawi is one of the largest lakes in Africa, and has a maximum depth of 701 meters. The Shire River flows from the south end of the lake and joins the Zambezi River 400 km further south in Mozambique. The navy of Malawi is based in Monkey Bay on Lake Malawi.
Malawi's climate is hot in the low-lying areas in the south of the country and temperate in the northern highlands. Between November and March/April is the temperature warm with rains and thunderstorms. May to September are dry months with almost no rainfall.
When I was in Monkey Bay, in the southern end of Lake Malawi, I heard this was the navy base town in Malawi. I wondered how a poor country like Malawi could afford having war ships, and why. This is just a lake...
The northern lake area between Malawi and Tanzania is disputed. Tanzania claims borders through the middle of the lake. This is along the lines of the borders between the German and British territories before 1914. Malawi claims the whole non-Mozambican lake, including the waters next to the Tanzanian shore because this was set by the British colonial government. The dispute has led to conflicts in the past. The Tanzanians who reside on the lake shore have been accused of fishing in Malawian waters. The fishing resources are very important for both countries.
Malawi is often called the "warm heart of Africa" because of the warms and friendliness of the people. That is a truth with modifications. To believe the Malawian people are more friendly than comparable African countries will create high expectations. Come with an open mind instead of that.
Although I think the people are helpful and enjoyable, I also experienced some rude begging by the locals, and excess of authority by the Police on road blocks. Maybe some think when tourists pay a fortune for safaris, all of them are millionaires?
The Malawi people are of Bantu origin with the ethnic groups of Chewa, Nyanja, Yao, Tumbuka, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni, Ngonde, Asian and European. The Chewa people are the largest part of the population. They are Christians and lives in the central and southern parts of the country. The Yao people are the next largest part. They are muslims and lives around the southern area of Lake Malawi.
The religious groups in Malawi are as follow:
Roman Catholic 20%
Indigenous beliefs 10%
I lost the mobile phone connection a short time on the road from Lilongwe to Cape Maclear. And after a while I received the Mozambique phone network. But all in all, the mobile phone works good in Malawi. Big mobile masts are located along the roads and in the villages.
It's cheap to use a local SIM card inside Malawi. And you can buy it from one of the many shops and stalls. The country code is +265.
The Malawian flag is made up of 3 stripes of black, red and green, with a rising sun on top.
The black stripe represents the African people, the red represents the martyrs blood for African freedom, the green represents the green nature, and the rising sun represents the hope for Africa.
- Lake Malawi is the main attraction. Enjoy the amazing sunsets, beautiful beaches, go diving or snorkelling and don`t miss to visit the Islands!
- National Parks: Lengwe NP, Nyika NP and Liwonde NP are certainly the nicest and most visited Malawian National Parks.
- Hiking is another highlight. Mount Mulanje offers many different hiking possibilities with over night stay in huts. Zomba Plateau and a three days walk from Nyika Plateau to Livingstonia shouldn´t be missed if possible.
- Visit a `Witch Doctor` and hear about traditional healing methods.
- Listen to the amazing singing during a service in one of the plenty churches.
- Simply enjoy the friendly Malawians
Beer drinking in Malawi can be an experience if you try the traditional homebrew!
Fondest memory: The Danish Carlsberg Beer is nearly every where available in Malawi. The most common types are so called Carlsberg “green” or “brown” named after the labels of the bottles. The quality is quite ok although it is not so strong than European beer.
Since a few years there was a new Carlsberg beer called ´Kuch Kuche´. Its sold only in half liter bottles and the cheapest Carlberg beer. Its not that strong then the others beers.
Beside the Carlberg beers there is also a home-brew beer. The name of this drink is ´wamasese´. It is produced by the women in the villages and made out of fermented maize. The most common drink is ´Chibuku´, a commercialised variant of ´wamasese´, ´but somehow the villagers´ Recipe had been altered to make it virtually undrinkable. I think that the Chibuku formula calls for sawdust, stale beer, rat's vomit and vinegar, but I may be mistaken about the vinegar. Another name for Chibuku is "Shake Shake"; so-called because the drinker is supposed to shake the container to mix the sediment in with the liquid before consumption.´ (Chibuku description by a traveller on internet)
A stick near the road with an empty Chibuku carton on it, is indicating a near ´bottle shop´ or a ´bush bar´. Lots of empty cartons near the road mean that there had been a pay day.
It was really nice to meet these women. When they had reached us they started to sing and to dance.
So I danced together with them and they did appreciate it.
We enjoyed both to dance that way and laughed a lot.
A was a really nice encounter and experience.
At the Zomba Plateau we walked to the forestry campsite and the trout ponds.
On the road near the trout ponds a group of local women beckoned us and yelled at us and then they started to run in our direction.
They were really anxious to meet us.
So we waited and walked in their direction.
On our way back from the Lengwe National Park to Blantyre we saw a lot of small villages scattered between the trees along the road.
In the villages we saw a mix of round huts with thatched roofs and square concrete buildings.
The children in the villages were always curious to see us, when we passed. They mostly waved and beckoned.
On our way from the Lengwe National Park in the south back to Blantyre we drove along the Shire River.
It was a very scenic route. We saw also 5 crocodiles and 40 hippos on a island and in the water of the river.
So not only in the park, but also outside you have to watch out to see the animals.
I had a wonderful stay at Madidi Lodge in April 2011. The manager/owners are very friendly and...more
2 HANNOVER AVENUE, Blantyre, MA 1
Good for: Couples
We stopped here for lunch on a trip through the area. It was a beautiful setting on a patio...more
More Regions in Malawi