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Malawi Biography

Malawi (also spelt Malaŵi) is in east Africa, bordered by Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique. This is a country known as ‘the warm heart of Africa’ – Malawians are known to be particularly friendly toward visitors.

Malawi is a long thin country that Nature-lovers adore with national parks and game reserves, mountain hiking and plateau trekking, providing a very beautiful and varied landscape.

Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa and its beaches and tropical fish are breathtaking. The Lake with its immediate shoreline and the valley of the Shire River which drains it, lie within the Great Rift Valley of eastern Africa. Dominated by the Lake, as well as the Great Rift Valley that cuts through the country from north to south, a series of escarpments climb into the Central African Plateau. This undulating land is punctuated by hills and forests. The lake is home to the biggest variety of fish species – more than any other freshwater lake on earth. Most of the species of fish are protected within the Lake Malawi National Park (at its southern tip).

The Lake with its immediate shoreline and the valley of the Shire River which drains it, lie within the Great Rift Valley of eastern Africa.

The highest peaks in Malawi reach 10,000 ft/3000m while the lowlands are barely above sea level. These great contrasts help make the landscape of Malawi one of the most varied in all of Africa where one can see across countless miles of varied and magnificent surroundings. The forest reserves and uplands offer activities from climbing to trekking, mountain biking to bird-watching, or simple tranquillity in surroundings of incredible natural beauty.

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History and Background

The Malawian people are without doubt the country’s greatest asset, being both friendly and welcoming!

With a population of a little more than 14 million, Malawi is one of the more densely populated countries of this part of Africa. Majority of the population live in rural, fascinating traditional villages. 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 15th century. The Chongoni Hills near Dedza have stone-age rock art and are another of Malawi’s World Heritage Sites.

Malawi grew from this migration and the wars of the early African tribes and kingdoms which flourished throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. The 19th century was the most significant in Malawi’s history, bringing with it inter-tribal skirmishes, the arrival of European traders and the horrific slave trade; followed by missionaries including Dr David Livingstone who vowed to end this appalling human tragedy. Ultimately, the arrival of British missionaries heralded the beginning of British colonial rule. Independence was finally granted in1964 with Dr Hastings Banda becoming the first prime minister of the then-named Nyasaland. Banda made himself President for Life of Malawi but his autocratic rule ended in 1993 when Malawians voted for a multi-party democracy in 1994 with Bakili Muluzi becoming the new president.

There is a rich cultural mix in Malawi with the Chewa being the most numerous tribe, followed by the Yao, Nyanja and the Maravi. The Tumbuka are prominent in the north. Each tribe has contributed to the current Malawian culture, whether be it in dress, dance or language. Masks are commonly used in various ceremonies and dance and these are usually tribe specific.

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Adventures in Malawi

Pick from a wide range of adventures to suit all

Kaya Mawa – Likoma Island

Kaya Mawa (meaning ‘maybe tomorrow in the local dialect) is located at the south of the island next to a crescent beach on the outskirts of Nkwhazi Village. Likoma Island…

Mvuu Camp

Mvuu Camp is situated just south of Mvuu Lodge on the banks of the iconic Shire River in Malawi's Liwonde National Park - the country's premier wildlife haven. The Shire…

Tongole Wilderness Lodge

Tongole Wilderness Lodge is an exciting new eco-tourism venture deep within the rugged and breathtakingly beautiful miombo woodland of the 1,800 sq km Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. A mere 30 km…


Malawi is dominated by Lake Malawi, Africa’s third largest lake, which runs along part of the Great Rift Valley. Described by David Livingstone as the Lake of Stars, Lake Malawi…
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'It was absolutely wonderful!'

We travelled to three separate locations, staying in four beautiful venues; initially in Zambia at Sindabezi and Tongabezi, then moving onto Mfuwe for a stay at Nkwali Lodge - the safari part of our holiday and finally flying to Malawi and the paradise which is Kaya Mawa on Likoma Island. We can neither praise nor thank Sylvia enough for all the care and attention she gave us. As an example, whilst in Zambia we discovered on New Year’s Eve that we’d left one of our internal flight e-tickets at home. We phoned Sylvia in a panic and by the time we’d reached our next destination, our onward bound ticket was waiting for us at the reception. Not a service which would have been available from a high street tour operator I suspect! Tim had wanted to give me a trip of a lifetime and thanks to Sylvia he was able to do so. We will never forget our time in Africa and can’t wait to return. Thank you again Sylvia – it was absolutely wonderful!

Tim & Jo

Zambia & Malawi

'We can’t wait to go again!'

This was our first trip to Southern Africa and our first safari and we can't wait to go again. From the outset Sylvia was incredibly helpful understanding exactly what we wanted from the trip and using her vast local knowledge and experience to tailor the holiday perfectly. The choice is overwhelming and having the benefit of someone to guide you through the options and suggest places to stay and visit was such a help. Sylvia also worked closely with a travel agent to match the internal and international flights to the places we wanted to stay and maximise the time available on our trip. Having all the transfers arranged by Sylvia also took a lot of hassle out of moving between locations. The trip was amazing from the hospitality and drives around the reserve at Tanda Tula, getting up close to wonderful wildlife to the incredible welcome at the stunning River Club in Zambia and a walking safari with rhinos. I would totally recommend using Sylvia and Africabound Adventures to organise your holiday.

David Owen

South Africa & Zambia

'The lodge was great!'

We had a great time in Livingstone. The lodge was great - you need to have a love for nature to stay here. The rooms were quite open, overlooking the river therefore you were likely to get a few wasps, bugs etc. fly into your room. However the mosquito netting over the beds avoided one being bitten at night. The manager at the lodge was helpful – however I would recommend that anyone who travels to the Victoria Falls should book their activities directly from the individual activity centres. Other than that had we had great time!

Shreya and Family


'We recommend their bespoke safaris and services'

We decided to go on Safari with Africabound Adventures, the service provided was excellent! Sylvia took care of all our holiday planning by listening to our queries and put all our anxieties at ease - addressing and meeting all our expectations. Her passion, close links and expertise of Zambia and the region prompted us to book with Africabound Adventures. This one-to-one personalised service was second to none! We had a superb holiday, visiting the 4 recommended National Parks! The lodges were great - of a consistently high standard and comfortable, particularly Lion Camp in the South Luangwa. The game viewing lived up to expectations! The food was great and the people warm and friendly. Thank you Sylvia, for all your efforts towards arranging and delivering a memorable and enjoyable safari with passion, energy and expertise.

Anne and Steve