7 Facts About Malawi That Might Surprise You

7 Facts About Malawi That Might Surprise You

Known as, ‘the warm heart of Africa,” this country in the southern region of the continent is a top destination. It’s known for its stunning lake and its friendly people. And, its wildlife sightings are unique compared to the rest of Africa.

However, the country has more to offer than its top attractions. If you want to know more about this African destination, here are 7 facts about Malawi that might surprise you.

A Fifth of The Country is Water, Even Though It’s Landlocked

That’s right, Malawi sees plenty of water, but it doesn’t come from the coastline. Mozambique borders it on the east and southern sides, Zambia to the west, and Tanzania to the east and north. Thanks to 19th-century bureaucracy, the borders of the country are not entirely clear and there is still some argument about it. However, it is undeniable that Malawi is landlocked. But, Lake Malawi is so large that water has become prominent in this country. Actually, 9,424 square miles of the lake resides within this Malawi’s borders. You can see our guide to visiting Lake Malawi here.

lake malawi

The Country Has a British History  

Much of Africa has seen the effects of British colonialism. It was in the 1850s that Victorian explorer and missionary, David Livingstone, began to explore the country. In 1889, a British protectorate was established, and in 1907, the country was given the name, Nyasaland. It wasn’t until 1964 that Malawi became an independent country, becoming a republic.

The Little Five Can Be Seen in Malawi

While you may not be able to see The Big Five, the smaller version is nearly as impressive. These animals are small and often overlooked, but if you catch a glimpse, there’s no doubt that you’ll be intrigued. These animals include: the Elephant Shrew, Rhino Beetle, Buffalo Weaver, Ant Lion, and the Leopard Tortoise.

elephant shrew

Lake Malawi Holds Some Impressive Records

While the lake is the top attraction for visitors, it is more than just a beautiful sight. From its north to south tip, the lake measures 350 miles, making it the ninth largest in the world. It is also the second deepest and the third largest in Africa. According to UNESCO, the lake is also home to more species of fish than any other on the planet. And, when it comes to Cichlid, the small finned sea creatures, Lake Malawi has more than 700 kinds of them. 

You Can Go on Safari, Even Though Malawi is Still Recovering From Poachers

Many of Malawi’s game zones have had issues with hunters and poachers. As one of the poorest countries in the world, the country has been hit hard with people shooting down the wildlife to earn money. However, the organization, African Parks, has three protected areas where wildlife can be seen. The main focus is on elephants, but other animals often pop up too. 

elephant malawi

There is a Scottish Settlement That is a Lot Like The Real Thing

Blantyre is a city that can be found in the south of Malawi. It was founded in 1876 by Scottish settlers. The city is named after David Livingstone’s birth town, Blantyre which is in South Lanarkshire in Scotland. There are a few similarities like the elevation, and the weather which often turns quite cool. 

The Capital City Doesn’t Have Much History

Even though it’s the capital, Lilongwe was only established in 1906, and became the capital in 1975. It started off as a trading post and even to this day, does not draw many visitors. There is a large, and memorable tower that symbolizes the King’s African Rifles War which reminds the people of Malawi’s past struggles.

Malawi is a beautiful destination that has wildlife and an intriguing history. It’s a gem with an interesting past, and makes a great place to visit while in Africa. If you are planning on visiting, be sure to read this guide about the best time to visit. If you’d like any more information please do not hesitate to get in touch