Malawi: Africa for Beginners

Malawi

Malawi Anthem

Malawi is a state covering 118,484 km², located in southeastern Africa and stretching from north to south along Lake Nyasa. Until 1964 the country was a British protectorate, but today it is a member of the British Commonwealth. The official languages are English and Chinyanja (a Malawi language). Administrative-territorial division of Malawi: three provinces including 24 districts.

Malawi’s population – 18 million people – is ethnically quite homogeneous and belongs mainly to the Bantu language group. Many ethnic groups have merged to form a new people, the Malawi. From traditional crafts have survived weaving of mats, decorated with concentric ornaments, and woodcarving. The largest cities are located in the southern part of the country – Blantyre-Limbe, Zomba, Mongoche, Nsanje. In the central part of Malawi is the capital, Lilongwe, and on the shores of Lake Nyasa is Salima, a city that attracts tourists with its beautiful lakeside beaches.

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Video: Malawi

Highlights

The territory of Malawi is a plateau with a predominant elevation of 1,000 to 1,500 m above sea level, broken up by tectonic ridges and troughs. In the north, the surface is elevated on the Nyika Plateau, with elevations reaching 2,542 m. The eastern part in the north and center is occupied by the tectonic depression of Lake Nyasa with huge height differences (the lake and the Shire River flowing out of it are 200-500 m high). In the far south rises the massive Mlandje with the highest point of the country – Mount Sapitwa (3000 m). The main river is the Shire with the picturesque Murchison Falls. Lake Nyasa stretches for 600 km with a width of about 80 km and a depth of up to 700 m. This is one of the most beautiful lakes in Africa, but the weather here is unstable: squally winds often cause severe storms. Besides Nyas, there are also smaller lakes – Chilwa, Chiuta and Malombe.

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In the late 15th century, a tribal association of the Malawi formed in the region of Lake Nyasa, which disintegrated after the death of its leader Karonga. Since the second half of the 19th century, the Europeans penetrated here. Since 1891 the territory of Malawi is the British protectorate of Nyasaland. From 1953 to 1963 it was part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Since July 1964 Nyasaland is an independent state under the name of Malawi.

Climate

The climate is equatorial, monsoonal with dry winter and wet summer seasons. Most precipitation (750-1000 mm per year in the valleys, up to 2,500 mm in the most elevated mountains) falls in November and March (southern hemisphere summer). Temperatures in the warmest month (November) range from 20-23°C in the mountains to 27°C in the depressions, while July is cooler at 14-19°C.

Flora and fauna

Most of the territory, especially its southern half, is occupied by savannas – park with palms, acacia with baobabs, dry woodlands. Dry tropical forests, including those with conifers (especially the now rare “Mlandzha cedar” is appreciated), are common in the mountain areas. At the beginning of the wet season, many trees are strewn with flowers of all hues, and the young leaves of some species are brownish-bronze in color. In the Shire River valley, plantations of eucalyptus alternate with thickets of bamboo and papyrus. In some valleys, wet gallery forests are preserved.

The animal life of Malawi is typical of East Africa: elephants, giraffes, zebras, antelopes and lions can be seen. The area of Brackish Lake Chilwa is the most rich in animals.

History of Malawi

The first settlements in what is now Malawi date back to Neolithic times. In the early 1st millennium, the area was also inhabited by cattle-breeding tribes. In the 14th to 18th centuries, the union of the Marawi came into being. However, the enmity of individual tribes increased and this hindered unification.

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Since the mid-nineteenth century colonization of what is now Malawi began, and in 1891 the British protectorate of Nyasaland was created. Uprisings broke out constantly, the largest occurred in 1915. As a result of the Great Depression of 1929-1933 severely reduced the production of tea and tobacco. In 1944 the first political organization of Africans, the African Congress of Nyasland, was established. In 1959, a state of emergency was declared in the country and the leader of the liberation movement Hastings Banda was arrested. In September, the African Congress of Nyasland was transformed into the Malawi Congress Party. In 1961 a new constitution was adopted, giving Africans the right to vote for the first time. On February 1, 1963, Nyasland was declared a self-governing territory.

On July 6, 1964, the independence of Malawi was declared. Hastings Banda became head of state. Officially a course of non-alignment was proclaimed, but in reality Banda became oriented to Great Britain, West Germany, and the United States. Malawi was the only country on the African continent that officially had diplomatic relations with the racist regime of South Africa. Banda’s policies displeased many Malawian politicians, including his associates. Banda responded by cracking down on them. In October 1964, constitutional amendments were passed that gave Banda extraordinary powers in securing the country. An armed uprising broke out in February 1965 and an attempted coup in October 1967. In May 1966, Parliament declared Banda president for life. In the years that followed, a system of courts was established that could impose the death penalty. Banda became a dictator. Opposition was brutally suppressed and the cult of personality of Banda was established. In the early 1980s, tea and tobacco prices fell on the world market, provoking an economic crisis in the country. The position of the Banda regime was weakened. In the early 1990s bloody clashes began in Blantyre and Lilongwe. The formation of opposition parties began. On May 17, 1994, multi-party elections were held, which were won by Bakili Muluzi, the United Democratic Front candidate. Hastings Banda died on November 25, 1997 in Johannesburg at the age of 99 (he may have been 92 or 101) and was buried in his home country.

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Economy

Malawi is an agrarian country. Belongs to the group of least developed countries in the world.

Agriculture employs 90% of the working-age population, and accounts for 36.1% of GDP. Potatoes (1.8 million tons), corn (1.75 million tons), cassava (2.6 million tons), bananas (360,000 tons), tea (50,000 tons, 12th place in the world) are grown. Malawi ranks second in Africa after Kenya in exports of tobacco and tea. Livestock is poorly developed because of the spread of the tsetse fly.

The industry employs 10% of the working population, it gives 18.8% of GDP. Limestone is mined. Plants work on processing of agricultural raw materials and production of sugar and cement. The textile and shoe industry is developing.

Politics

Malawi is a presidential republic. The president is elected by popular vote for a term of five years. The parliament is the National Assembly. Composition – 193 deputies, elected for 5 years by ballot.

Malawi pursues a policy of non-alignment. Under Hastings regime, Banda maintained ties with racist South Africa and Israel. Territorial dispute with Tanzania remains. In the 1980s, Malawi hosted the anti-government Mozambican National Resistance organization. The USSR recognized Malawi on the day of independence. Russia established diplomatic relations with Malawi on October 19, 1993.

Malawi

The republic of Malawi is located in southeastern Africa and has many natural beauties. Sometimes the country is called the “encyclopedia of nature. Because here you can see places practically untouched by man. What exactly places attract tourists in this country? And what is a must-see?

Malawi

Chongoni rock carvings

Near the border with Mozambique is the most famous attraction, marked by UNESCO. These are the monolithic rock paintings in the forest reserve of Chongoni. There are 127 rock paintings in total. In ancient times, they were painted by the Chewa and Batwa peoples.

The rocks show images of real and mythical animals, battles with predators, the process of hunting and geometric figures.

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Malawi Rock Art Chongoni

Nyika Malawi National Park

Nature lovers are in for a treat at Nyika Park in northern Malawi. This attraction has been declared a true treasure of the state. The park covers an area of more than 3,000 km 2 .

On the territory of the park there are forests, fields, areas of grassy bogs. By the way, the locals call the forests “mimbo” and the fields “mopane”. Plantings of orchids deserve special attention. In total, there are more than 120 species growing in the park.

There are also animals – zebras, hyenas, leopards, antelopes, elephants, hippos and monkeys. And the park is also home to rare exotic birds.

Malawi-Nyika Malawi National Park

Lilongwe Malawi.

This is the capital and one of the most famous cities. Lilongwe is divided into Old Town and New Town. In the past, it was a fishing village. And today it is the administrative center of the entire state.

For tourists, the most interesting is the Old Town, where it is recommended to visit the market of folk art. Here they sell exotic goods – masks, amulets, fabrics, jewelry. Many products are made by hand. Also in the Old Town is worth a visit to the National Museum of Malawi, where you can learn the history and traditions of the local people.

Malawi Lilongwe Malawi

Ntchisi Reserve Malawi

Not far from the capital in the central part of the country is the Ntchisi Reserve, where the untouched tropical forests stand untouched by civilization. Large-scale tree plantations are not cut down because the forest is surrounded by hills. And because of the uneven terrain it is difficult to get close to the forests.

The forests cover an area of about 75 km 2 . Rare plants, including trees with exotic fruits, can be found among the plantings.

Malawi Ntchisi Reserve Malawi

Lykoma Island in Malawi

Another name is Paradise Island. Located on Lake Malawi. Some parts of the island are recognized as a protected area. There are rocks, swampy areas, and sandy beaches on the island. Also notable are the groves of mango and baobab.

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Lykoma Island is visited by lovers of beautiful nature and snorkeling – snorkeling in shallow water.

Malawi-Likoma Island Malawi

Nkhotakota Reserve

This is the oldest protected area in Malawi (since 1938). It covers an area of 2,000 km2 .

It is home to rare birds such as the black stork and the short-tailed falcon. Elephants, lions, hippos, zebras and antelopes can be found here.

Of particular note is the Bois River, where many local inhabitants come to drink. This river is also known as a habitat for rare species of salmon.

Malawi Nkhotakota Reserve

Mount Mulanje Malawi

This popular natural attraction is otherwise known as “Island in the Sky.” This name did not appear by accident. When the fog forms, it seems that part of the land is floating in the sky. It is a magnificent sight. The mountain is located southeast of the town of Blantyre.

The mountain is very old. According to scientists, it is more than 130 million years old. And it consists of quartz, granite, syenite.

The mountain is often visited by fans of mountain climbing, mountain trekking. Also popular here is hiking. On the mountain you can admire the picturesque scenery, as well as see the beautiful cedar trees.

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