Republic of Malawi
CAT (UTC +2)
Known as «The Warm Heart of Africa», Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that is bordered by Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique. It was settled by migrating Bantu groups in the 10th century and was later colonized by the British in 1891. In 1953 Malawi, then known as Nyasaland, a protectorate of the United Kingdom, became a protectorate within the semi-independent Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, this ended in 1963. Nyasaland became an independent country a year later under Queen Elizabeth II with the new name Malawi. Two years later it became a republic and gained its independence.
Many of today’s Malawians are descendants of the Bantu people who moved across Africa and into Malawi for hundreds of years up to the fifteenth century.It is a country that welcomes all who wish to experience the incomparable combination of environment, wildlife & culture in one of Africa’s most beautiful and diverse countries.
Malawi has a subtropical climate, meaning it is relatively dry and strongly seasonal. Malawi's climate is hot in low-lying areas south of the country and temperate in the northern highlands.
You can expect warm and wet conditions from November to April as annual average rainfall varies from 725mm to 2,500mm and 95% of total annual rainfall occurs during these months. A cool, dry winter season is evident from May to August with mean temperatures of 17-27oC, with temperatures falling to 4-10oC. A hot, dry season stretches from September to October with average temperatures of 25-37oC.
The culture of Malawi is extremely diverse due to its multiple tribes including the Yao, the Nyanja, the Maravi, the Tumbuka in northern regions, with the Chewa being the largest.
Each tribe has had influence over the modern culture of Malawi, whether it be in dress or dance or language. Tribe specific masks are commonly used in various dances and ceremonies, the best known being the Gule Wamkulu, performed by the Nyau of the Chewa.
Malawian cuisine includes tea and fish along with sugar, coffee, corn, potatoes, sorghum, cattle and goats which are important components of the cuisine and economy. Lake Malawi is a source of fish including chambo (similar to bream), usipa (similar to sardine), mpasa (similar to salmon and kampango). Nsima is a food staple which can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner made from ground corn served with dishes of meat and vegetables on the side.
The country has 39 airports with Malawian Airlines Limited as the national airline which operates a regional passenger service. The airline runs from Lilongwe International Airport and Chileka International Airport. Malawian Airlines flies a number of times every day between Lilongwe and Blantyre as well as connecting Malawi to its regional neighbours and further afield.
Malawi also has air charter companies including Bush & Lake Aviation which link most of the tourist destinations in the country as well as the main towns.
Though it is landlocked, Malawi also has 435 miles (700 km) of waterways on Lake Malawi and along the Shire River. The famous Ilala, a 620 tonne vessel that can carry 400 passengers has traditionally travelled the length of Lake Malawi (365km) and provides a vital life line for the many communities that live around the lake. Ilala offers affordable transport allowing travellers to take in the stunning scenery at a leisurely pace. Passengers can hop on and off at various locations including Nkhata Bay and Likoma Island.
There is a good network of inexpensive public buses throughout the country. Small mini-buses offer local journeys while larger coaches ply the longer distance routes.
Taxis in Malawi are mainly found in the main cities, though some can be located in the rural areas if you ask around. Fares are usually fairly low by international standards. Taxi companies that are gaining a good reputation are Yellow Top Cab or The Joy Taxi Service.
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