I was last in Malawi many years ago. I fell in love with it then… and recently I fell in love with it all over again. It is known as the warm heart of Africa and what impressed me most when visiting this time around is that despite the trials the country is facing at the moment, this warmth and lovely open-heartedness continues to shine through. The people are wonderful!
“The people are wonderful!”
Malawi has extraordinary diversity of topography and habitat. Visitors can travel from the game rich area of Mvuu with its huge population of hippo and crocodiles along the Shire River, or the Majteje Reserve to the Nyika Plateau and Chelinda Lodge (where they would be forgiven for thinking they had been transported to an alpine resort) you can take a step back in time at Huntingdon House, a magnificent colonial homestead set on an enormous tea and coffee estate, complete with manicured lawns and wrap-around verandas; or see the new and refreshing Tongole Eco Lodge on the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve; and finish your holiday on the lake.
Of the island lodges, Kaya Mawa pips the others to the post with its breezy, barefoot luxury and gentle approach to life. Imagine Greek-island-meets-Seychelles-meets-rural Africa and you have Kaya Mawa – all the island fun without the salt.
Tourism is growing and is key to the economic success of the country, Malawi has a wonderful diversity of lodges that offer the visitor a real smorgasboard of experiences. Most of the lodges and hotels that cater to the leisure traveller are located in and around the lake and there are options to camp or take the back-packing route, or to choose the more upmarket properties.
Lilongwe and Blantyre are the jump-off points and a comprehensive network of roads and light aircraft transfers make the country very accessible to the visitor. Both cities are connected to the rest of the world by SAA or Malawian Airlines, which is now a subsidiary of Ethiopian Airlines. Lilongwe is also accessed from Mfuwe in the South Luangwa, making Malawi the perfect add-on for visitors who want to experience a different aspect of Africa.