- Continental region – Southern Africa
- Currency symbol of Malawi –kwacha -(ZMK,ZK)
- Capital City – Lilongwe
- Official languages – chewa and spoken languages are English and Nyanja (both official). African Skimmers at Shire river, hippo below surface.
- Population – 18.63 million (2019)
- Country dialling code – (+ 265)
- Official website – Malawi
- Top 3 biggest industries – Tourism, health services, banking sector and agriculture
- Google Maps link – Malawi
- Where is it? –Malawi, is a landlocked country in south eastern Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the west, Tanzania to the north and northeast, and Mozambique surrounding on the east, south and southwest. Malawi spans over 118,484 km 2 (45,747 sq. mi)
Malawi In Pictures
- How did the country get its first name? – The origin of the name Malawi is a bit uncertain; it was originally attributed to the lake itself: Lake Malawi. However, its origin is believed to be linked to the ancient Kingdom of Maravi which flourished in the area in the 15th century AD.
- When and by whom the country was first discovered? – In 1991 a hominid jawbone was discovered near Uraha village that was between 2.3 and 2.5 million years old. Early humans inhabited the vicinity of Lake Malawi 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. Human remains at a site dated about 8000 BCE showed physical characteristics similar to peoples living today in the Horn of Africa. At another site, dated 1500 BCE, the remains possess features resembling San people. They might be responsible for the rock paintings found south of Lilongwe in Chencherere and Mphunzi.
- Who were the first Inhabitants? – The firs inhabitants of Malawi are thought to have started settling around Lake Malawi about 10,000BC. During the 16th century there was a vast trading empire established by the Maravi peoples from whom the country derives its modern name.
- When it was first recognized as a country? – In colonial times, the territory was ruled by the British, under whose control it was known first as British Central Africa and later Nyasaland. It became part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The country achieved full independence, as Malawi, 6 July 1964.
- Who was the first leader of the country? – Hastings Kamuzu Banda was the first president of Malawi and the principal leader of the Malawi nationalist movement.
Five Significant Events
- 1964 6 July – Nyasaland declares independence as Malawi
- 1966 6 July – Banda becomes president of the Republic of Malawi. The constitution establishes a one-party state. Opposition movements are suppressed and their leaders are detained.
- 1978 – First elections since independence. All potential candidates must belong to the Malawi Congress Party and be approved by Banda. He excludes many of them by submitting them to an English test.
- 1980s – Several ministers and politicians are killed or charged with treason. Banda reshuffles his ministers regularly, preventing the emergence of a political rival.
- 1992 – Catholic bishops publicly condemn Banda, sparking demonstrations. Many donor countries suspend aid over Malawi’s human rights record.
Five Places to Visit in Malawi
- Lilongwe: The Capital If you are flying into Lilongwe, it’s the biggest city in Malawi and the place to stay as a traveller would be Mabuya Camp ran by a British family. We stayed at Longonots because it was cheaper for a double room and a bit nicer but Mabuya has a swimming pool and is more of a social place. There’s not a huge amount to do in Lilongwe but you’ll find yourself heading back there often. The best thing are are supermarkets where you can stock up on western foods. Shoprite and Game are the big ones and we even found a healthy cafe around the corner from Game which was MORE than exciting! You’ll see that this is a total luxury!! (https://www.malawitourism.com/regions/central-malawi/lilongwe/)
- Mzuzu: A good place to go to after Lilongwe would be to jump on a bus north to Muzuzu which will take about 6 hours. Buses can be a bit dramatic as when you get a mini bus as you’ll often see about 20-30 people crammed into a 9 seater. Try to jump on of the biggest buses possible. (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/malawi/northern-malawi/mzuzu)
- Nkhata Bay: Nkhata Bay is a huge place for travellers and volunteers. A lot of volunteers flock here from all over Malawi for a good break from their work in the country. From Muzoozoo, jump on a mini bus for 1 hour’s drive to Nkhata Bay which is a small town right on Lake Malawi. (https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Nkhata_Bay)
- Kande Beach: A favourite with the overland tour buses, Kande beach literally looks like it’s been taken from Australia and put into Malawi. The beach is so beautiful we went there for the backpacker’s 20th Anniversary and had a great time. Horse riding into in the lake is a very popular option there too. (https://www.kandebeach.com)
- Zulunkhuni river lodge, Ruarwe: This is one of my big regrets as I didn’t make it there but I met the owner loads of times as he stayed at Butterfly Space every so often. He is a British guy who has the most beautiful lodge that’s only accessible by boat. If you are going to Malawi, make sure you head there as I’ve been told it’s paradise. (https://www.africaguide.com/accomm/index.php?ItemID=1030)