Malawi is a small country located in the southeast of the African continent. Bordered by Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia, Malawi contains the third largest lake in Africa, namely Lake Malawi. Most of Malawi is a plateau with elevations reaching 3,000 feet (1,000 meters). Therefore temperatures are quite moderate with a slightly warmer climate found around the shores of Lake Malawi. Winters (May until June) tend to be cool and dry, while summers (October to March) are warm and wet.
As early as the 10th Century, Bantu-speaking tribes emigrated into the area from the north. Many of these tribes continued south, but some stayed in the Malawi highlands creating an empire that would unite the region and make key alliances with the Portuguese. From approximately 1700 until 1850, the area now known as Malawi was an important sourcing area for the Swahili-Arab slave trade. More than 20,000 people were enslaved and sold annually. By 1889, the British had slowly stolen the area from the Portuguese by making deals with the local leaders. In 1964, Malawi became an independent country under Hastings Kamuzu Banda who would lead the country until 1994 when the first multi-party elections were held. Today, Mrs. Joyce Banda is the president. She replaced President Bingu who was elected in 2004 and died in office in 2012.
Today the country depends on its agricultural industries. As one of the least developed countries in the world, disease and poverty are unfortunately frequent issues. Much of the aid received by the country is delayed or simply disappears due to corruption. However, Malawi has earned the nickname of the “Warm Heart of Africa” because of the friendliness of the local population. The culture of Malawi is vibrant, colorful and welcoming, making it the perfect African destination for your next diving holiday.
For a rather small, African country, Malawi has a wide range of activities to keep you busy. Besides scuba diving, kayaking, water skiing and snorkeling are popular activities around Lake Malawi. 8 national parks and wildlife reserves mean that your adventure can include wildlife safaris. Hiking is also a popular past-time among visitors. The cool weather and varied landscapes provide ideal conditions for trekking, horseback riding or mountain biking. In addition, homestays with local families can add a culture element to your Malawi visit. For visitors who love to learn new skills on holiday, Malawi offers yoga retreats, pottery classes and tea factory tours. If you visit in September or October, don’t miss the popular Lake of Stars international music festival held on Malawi’s beautiful beaches.
Visitors can enter Malawi by flight into the capital city of Lilongwe or, less frequently, Blantyre. These airports host flights originating throughout Europe and the African continent. It is also possible to enter Malawi over road from Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique. Ferries cross Lake Malawi from Mozambique a few times each week.
Once in Malawi, it is possible to travel around the country by plane, boat, bus, taxi or rental car.