Malawi is a republic in East Africa. It borders Tanzania, Zambia, and Mozambique. The capital city is Lilongwe.
The climate in Malawi is equatorial with two seasons. The wet season lasts from October to the end of April. The dry season is from May to November. Heavy rains occur from November to March. The hottest month in Malawi is November when the temperature can be as high as +27°C. And July is the month with the lowest annual temperature (+14°C). The best time for visiting Malawi is from April to the end of October before the wet season begins.
The indigenous population includes several tribes such as Malawi (60%), Makua (20%), Yao (13%), and Ngoni (5%). The official language in Malawi is Chichewa, English, and Nyanja. Half of the people practice various aboriginal cults, almost 40% are the Christians, and 10% are the Muslims.
Malawi is often called African Swiss because there are mountains and water basins. The country is an ideal place for underwater hunting, diving, and sailing. The landscape of Malawi attracts the lovers of mountain tourism.
Those who like to spend time on a beach should go to the Nyasa lake with its popular beach Monkey bay.
In Lilongwe, the tourists can walk along the streets and visit the New City with its buildings, malls, and offices. Of course, the Old City will be more interesting for the tourists as there are some historical buildings. In the Old City, there is also a market where one can buy everything from a goat to a car.
The natural sights of this small African country are truly impressive. In Malawi, there are many natural parks and picturesque lakes. In Malawi, there are animals which have been listed in the Red Book.
The most convenient route for the CIS and EU travellers is a flight to Johannesburg. There are regular flights from Johannesburg to Lilongwe.
There is a ferry running from the Likoma Island to Mozambique. Mozamb shares its water border with Malawi (the Nyasa Lake).
One can get to Malawi by bus from large African cities. The international bus will take the tourists to the checkpoint and then they have to walk on foot.
It will take you several days to get to Malawi by car. You can depart from the Tanzanian city Songo, from Zambia (passing three entry points) or Mozambique (four entry points).
CIS citizens must obtain a visa to travel to Malawi.
Be aware that in CIS countries, there are no consulates of Malawi. The nearest consulate is in Berlin, Hamburg, and Stuttgart. A personal presence is required to get a visa.
A visitor visa is issued within 3 days and a visa is valid for 3 months.
The tourists can also apply for a visa in South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Mozambique.
The tourists can import foreign currency without any restrictions but the money must be declared. The exported currency must be the same as the sum indicated in the import declaration form. The import and export of the national currency (Malawian Kwacha) have certain restrictions.
The travellers are not allowed to export:
- gems, semi-precious gems and unprocessed gems;
- figurines made of bones and leather goods (without a certificate and sales receipt).
The cooking traditions of Malawi are virtually completely free of foreign influence. The people of Malawi use only those ingredients that they grow themselves. For example, cane sugar, sweet potato, millet, corn, sorgo, and cassava. Millet is used most often.
Malawi people prefer fish to meat and poultry. They also keep the recipes of preparing the insects. If you have the guts, you can try roasted larval bee or boiled and then roasted with peanut oil crickets.
In Malawi, you will have a chance to try a traditional dish Nsima. This is a maize porridge with cassava root.
Vegetables are the main ingredients for many dishes. Ndivo reminds of a traditional vegetable stew. In addition to common beans, onion, and tomatoes the locals also add cassava root, sweet potatoes, and rape. This dish is served with rice or sorgo.
Sweet potato is used virtually in all pastry. The locals make sweet potato pastry and bake cookies Mbata. Another traditional pastry here is maize flour and banana patties.
Maize flour is also used to make a popular local non-alcoholic beverage Maheu. A world acknowledged beer Carlsberg is produced in Blantyre. Do not miss a chance to try Malawian gin, rum, and vodka.
The national currency in Malawi is the Malawian Kwacha (MAW).
The tourists can exchange the currency at banks, in exchange offices, hotels, and at the airport.
The US dollars are also willingly accepted here.
One can cash traveller’s checks at large banks however, cash is preferable in Malawi.
Credit cards are accepted only in the capital city and some large cities in Malawi. However, it may be problematic to withdraw the money from the card account even in Lilongwe.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in Malawi
Malawi is a small but amazingly beautiful country. On its territory, there are two UNESCO sites:
- Take a trip to the south and the central districts of Malawi to enjoy out-of-town holidays and to visit the Lake Malawi National Park. The park was founded with the purpose of protecting the fauna of the country and its water resources. In the lake, there are rare species if fish. The park is also a habitat for baboons. An 800 years old baobab grows in the park. The legend says that Doctor Livingstone preached his sermons under this baobab.
- In the central region, there are many archaeological monuments and monuments of ancient civilisations. The tourists can see the Chongoni Rock Art Area. The rock art of the Pygmies and Chewa people appeared in the Stone Age. Chewa depicted their sacral rituals associated with the female. This art is still sacred for some of the Malawi tribes.
Two natural sights in Malawi are the UNESCO candidate sites:
- The Mulanje Mountain Biosphere Reserve situated in the southern region.
- The Nyika National Park in the northern district.
There are other natural wonders in Malawi and they are must-visit places.
- The climbers can go to the Mulanje Massif. The locals call it the Island in the Skies. Mulanje is the highest peak in Malawi.
- Malawi is known for its parks and reserves. The most popular among the tourists are Liwonde National Park, Majete Wildlife Reserve, Mvabi Wilderness Area, and Ntchisi Forest Reserve. There is a touristic route running through Thyolo Tea Estates.
- In Malawi, there are historical, cultural, and architectural monuments. In Karonga, the tourists can visit the Cultural and Museum Center. In Zomba, there is an interesting Postal Services Museum.
Souvenirs in Malawi
The most popular souvenirs in Malawi are the wooden figurines and masks made by the people from the local tribes. On the market in Lilongwe, the tourists can buy jewelry, pottery, and souvenir weapons of the tribes.