Okavango Tours

Malawi

Malawi – or ‘Maravi’ as it’s pronounced in the vernacular, must be one of the most relaxed countries on earth. Richly deserving of its appellation as ‘The Warm Heart of Africa’, Malawi basks in sub-tropical torpor, its magnificent lake shimmering in the haze while fish eagles circle lazily overhead, choosing from the myriad fish that bask unsuspecting in the warm waters. The backdrop of green mountains completes the picture of an African idyll. The lake’s warm, fresh water is perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving, swimming, kayaking and sailing.

Something like 80% of the world’s tropical freshwater fish is endemic to this lake, which, astonishingly, was the scene of the first naval engagement of the First World War. The Royal Navy had a boat on the lake, being the colonial occupier of what was then Nyasaland, and so did the Germans, the colonial occupiers of what was then Tanganyika, on the northern shore. The captains of these were the only two sea-dogs for thousands of miles and consequently friends in all things sea-doggish. The Briton received the news of outbreak of hostilities first and placed his friend under arrest immediately. Much drinking ensued. The MV Ilala, a steamer built in England in the 1940s, shipped, dismantled, hauled into the interior and reassembled on the lake, still thumps,  grinds and wallows its way around the lake to this day, carrying bananas, goats, people, bicycles and everything else between ports on the mainland and a couple of islands in the lake.

Malawi is more than lake however – the Shire River that drains the lake meanders through the Liwonde National Park where black rhino and sable are among the draw-cards, not to mention some of the best birding in southern Africa; the Zomba Plateau rears impressively and improbably 6000’ out of the plain, famous for its views and giant butterflies; and in the far north the Nyika Plateau is a misty anomaly where horse-trekking and stunning walks reveal absolutely beautiful vistas and unusual birds and game, most notably roan antelope.

Whilst not a Big Game safari destination in the usual sense, Malawi has a great deal to offer to those prepared to dig a little deeper for their experience – and for those looking for a relaxing holiday, stupor beckons.

 

 

Horse Riding Malawi, Fresh Water Snorkling, Lake Malawi


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