FACTS ABOUT MALAWI
Malawi is a long, narrow country situated in the southern part of the East African Rift Valley and lying between 9 and 17 degrees south of the equator.
Its area is over 118000 km2 of which one fifth is taken up by Lake Malawi. It is land-locked, cradled by Mozambique in the east, south and southwest, with Zambia to the west and Tanzania to the north/north-east.
Lake Malawi is Africa’s third largest lake and the world’s ninth largest.
Besides the magnificent Lake, Malawi offers visitors five National Parks and several smaller wildlife parks.
Also available are: modern, comfortable hotels,lodges and campsites; varied recreational facilities and magnificent scenery including high mountain plateaus throughout the country.
Language & Religion:
Malawi has more than 18 million inhabitants, with a growth rate of 2.75%.
The Malawian population consists of the Chewa, Nyanja, Tumbuka, Yao, Lomwe, Sena, Tonga, Ngoni and Ngonde indigenous ethnic groups.
In addition, there are also Asians and Europeans.
The most important languages of the country are Chichewa, an official language spoken by more than 57% of the population, Chinyanja (12.8%), Chiyao (10.1%) and Chitumbuka (9.5%).
Other native languages are Lomwe, spoken by about 250,000 people in the southeastern country, Kokola, spoken by about 200,000 people also in the southeast, Lambya, spoken by about 45,000 people in the extreme northwest, Ndali, spoken by about 300,000 people in The north, Malawi Sena, spoken by about 270,000 people in the south and Tonga, spoken by about 170,000 people in the north.
In addition to these languages, English is also spoken in Malawi.
This is also an official language. According to estimates from 2007, about 80% of the population is Christian.
The Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Central Africa make up the largest Christian groups.
In addition, there are also a small number of anglicans, baptists, evangelists and adventists.
About 13% of the population is Muslim, most of whom belong to the Muslim population of Sunni, Qadriya or Sukkutu.
Other religious groups in the country include Jews, Rastafari, Hindus and Baha'is.
Atheists make up about 4% of Malawi's population.
Topography is immensely varied and constitutes the catchment area of the Shire River, which flows from Lake Malawi to the Zambezi River. From a valley floor in the south, almost at sea level, mountains range up to 3000m.
The valley and the lower hill country are fertile.
The principal cities lie at elevations between 1000 and 1500m.
Border countries: Mozambique 1,569 km, Tanzania 475 km, and Zambia 837 km
Climate: tropical; rainy season (November to May); dry season (May to November)
Terrain: narrow elongated plateau with rolling plains, rounded hills, some mountains
Elevation extremes: lowest point: junction of the Shire River and international boundary with Mozambique 37 m highest point: Sapitwa
Natural resources: limestone, under exploited deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite
The country is divided administratively into three regions: Southern – hilly, densely populated, Central – fertile, well-populated plains, Northern – mountainous and sparsely populated.
The main commercial and industrial city of Blantyre is in the Southern Region, the capital city of Lilongwe is in the Central Region and Mzuzu serves as the administrative and commercial headquarters of the Northern Region.
There are three seasons.
A cool, dry period, May to August, is followed by hot weather (very hot in low-lying regions) during which humidity builds up until the rains commence November/December; the rains peak around the turn of the year and continue intermittently until April.
Rainfall varies countrywide from 600mm to 3000mm.
Travelling in Malawi is extremely safe, however, a few precautions should be taken:
Plan your journey, and know where your destination is.
Do not hesitate to ask for advice or directions, most Malawians speak English well.
When travelling ensures that your luggage is always within view.
Do not be surprised when a Malawian takes your bags, this is to help carry and not a theft.
Always carry a supply of Drinking water.
Always ask the rate or price of the service you require, BEFORE you accept.
Malawi is a high-risk Malaria area. All precautions should be taken when traveling or staying in Malawi.
Take a recognized anti-malarial prophylactic, as recommended, or at least before entering a Malaria area, continue for at least 3 weeks after leaving the area.
If possible, always sleep under a mosquito net.
Dress accordingly from Sunset onwards, Long Pants & Long sleeves.
Use Insect Repellant.