“Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on Earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same. But how do you begin to describe its magic to someone who has never felt it? How can you explain the fascination of this vast, dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephant paths.” ~ Brian Jackman
Malawi. The Warm Heart of Africa. I know I do a fair amount of praising about this beautiful country I’ve grown up in – but hear me out one more time! Its April, and this month’s theme is ‘On The Road’ – so allow me to take you a little further, to give you five full reasons why this country should be on your bucket list as a travel destination.
Firstly, I can understand your concerns about safety; the way that all of Africa is portrayed in the media suggest that the lack of safety truly is worrying. I’m not suggesting that the media is entirely wrong; but sometimes the media portrays Africa as one country – forgetting that there are so many entities in this whole continent – and therefore Malawi falls into the trap of being so clearly misunderstood. My take? Know the right places to go, and be perceptive about your travel plans, concerning your money and personal belongings – as you would in the rest of the world.
Moving on – you’re just about to add one more country to your bucket list.
1. Lake of Stars
Yes, this had to be the first point – of course. 🙂 Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in the continent – I know! – This came as a surprise to me too. This small inland country boasts gorgeous waters where you can go scuba diving, snorkelling, parasailing, or even just tan on the beach against sandy beaches with the sound of the soft waves lapping at its shores. Trust me, no visit to Malawi is complete without a visit to the Lake. Frankly, a visit in September/October also means that you can attend the Lake of Stars – the International Festival annually around September/October, with musicians from across the globe – and its incredibly popular! Hence the name for Lake Malawi is also the Lake of Stars.
2. Heart-warming smiles
I wouldn’t be kidding if I told you that the people in Malawi are known for their hospitality – you’re bound to receive a warm greeting and a smile wherever you go! So here’s my little snippet. I’d gone off to Mount Mulanje – which was stunning as ever – and was grabbing snapshots – as always – and these six little girls were so awed and excited about seeing me that they followed me everywhere, until one of them finally had the guts to come to me and ask me for my name. When I told her my name, I found it thoroughly endearing to see that this girl – her name was Esna (in blue) – began to laugh openly because I assume she both couldn’t pronounce my name and was generally delighted that I’d conversed back. And this happens everywhere my dear reader, this open friendly curiosity of the locals which make your stay all the more enjoyable.
Given that Malawi is still bringing in its tourists, you’re bound to find that when you go to one place – you’ll be faced with utter tranquility. For example, Huntington Lodge, nestled in Thyolo Tea Estates – is the perfect depiction of serenity. This visit I was only able to make a regrettable 3-hour spend at the estates, and I’m vying to return for several more days! The peacefulness that Malawi offers also means that chances are you won’t be surrounded in a crowd of people, you’ll truly be able to enjoy a place without any hassle. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve proceeded off to the Lake and found myself watching the sunset with my family – or even alone – without anyone around to compromise on the stillness of the serenity.
4. Creative Delights & Music
For those who have visited Malawi, I’m sure you’ll have seen the competent talent at the hands of the locals in their artwork. Their creativity is absolutely glorious to look at! In their paintings, their sculptures, the handicrafts that are so intricately designed; I never leave Malawi without some souvenir or the other. I’m sure my home – wherever it will be – will be completely adorned and themed with handicrafts and artwork from Malawi. 🙂 Not to mention that their musical talents are also incredibly diverse – from the use of drums, a simple guitar, to their voices and their hands – their love for music and singing is just so clear!
5. An All-Round Experience!
You must have heard about how much the countries of Africa have to offer to you. No? Check out this link then for more info! Malawi in particular though I can tell you has a lot for people who want to obtain an all-encompassing experience of the outdoors. You want to go hiking? Try the peaks at Mulanje mountain, like Sapitwa Peak if you’re up for the challenge! Scuba diving or parasailing? Mumbo Island offers the former and Makokola Retreat the latter – plus more water sports amongst so many of the lodges at the Lakeshore! And even if you don’t want to go in too deep as scuba diving, you can go snorkelling too at Cape Maclear. And then if you’d just like to encounter the expansive wildlife that is so often illustrated about African National Parks, depending on how much you’d like to discover, Game Haven Lodge, Nyika National Mark, or Majete and Liwonde National Park can provide you with this once-in-a-lifetime experience (amongst many other small national parks across Malawi). For example, when you go scuba diving, you’re in the world of the underwater. When you go on a safari drive? You’re in the world of the boundless African wildlife; watching the wonders of their natural life in their territory. Believe me, the adventure is undoubtedly worth it!
Whether you want to travel solo or with your friends, Malawi is a must visit. Also take a look at this article which highlights that Malawi should be on your bucket list; its in the top 15 places to visit this year! 🙂 Speaking of which, another National Park I’m about to visit is Serengeti and Ngorongoro, in Tanzania – I’m just off in a couple days! Watch out for the next blog post in which I’ll enlighten to you my exciting experiences. 🙂