Monday, July 26, 2010


I stumbled upon a book in a second hand shop titled “A THOUSAND PLACES YOU MUST VISIT IN THE WORLD”, I have forgotten the author and I am not sure I have gotten the title right. Please do forgive me for that. The book lists the best places one must visit in the world and unfortunately for Malawi, the book only lists Nyika Plateau. I don’t know what criteria the author used to come up with the list but I would have loved it had the author included two more places, these being Lake Malawi and Mulanje Mountain.

I am a great fan of Nyika National Park and I can easily see why the author listed it, the scenery is just splendid, talk of the Orchids (wild flowers), zebras, roan antelopes and the rolling hills, Nyika is paradise on earth. It has the second highest place in Malawi, Nganda Hill. At Nyika one can enjoy guided horseback safaris and camping. Want to know more, why not google the place out?

Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa and the tenth in the world in terms of area, and the second deepest in Africa and the fourth deepest in the world. It has more than 250 unique species of cichlids (locally known as Mbuna) found only in its waters. Its fresh crystal clear waters make diving and snorkelling an experience to remember, with the mbuna fish in different colours swimming all around your face mask, you can even feed these little fish from your hand. No wonder David Livingstone called it “the lake of stars”. If water sports are not your thing then why not try out sun bathing on the unspoilt sandy beaches of Cape Maclear? You haven’t been to Lake Malawi if you haven’t tasted the succulent Chambo fish, a delicacy of Malawi. Just ask the chef at your resort, he/she knows how to make the perfect dish to tickle your taste buds. A cruise on the colonial times MV Ilala won’t be a waste of time either. It was built in Scotland and is one of the oldest vessels in its class still plying the waters of the world. It is the only means of transport for the local population along the northern parts of the lake and Likoma Island. Major events are the Lake Malawi international yachting marathon and the Vinspired Lake of Stars international music festival. The music festival is scheduled for October. Places to try out are Cape Maclear, Senga Bay, Nkhota-Kota, Nkhata-Bay, Likoma Island just to mention a few.

Mulanje Mountain is the highest in Central Africa and the mystic appeal of Sapitwa peak cannot be over emphasized. The arrogant few who ignored the advice from the locals not to climb the mountain without a porter or guide have succumbed to its mystical powers; lost after losing their bearings in the mist which covers the peak or spooked by the angry spirits of our ancestors perhaps unhappy with the intrusion into their resting place. This is a place for the dare-devils who don't mind coming back dead or alive. The major event is the Mulanje Mountain Porters race. Porters compete by racing up the mountain tracks and back. I have never been to Mulanje so I can’t recommend any places in particular but I know there are some nice lodges in Mulanje like Kara O Mura country lodge. Satemwa Tea Estate just on the road to Mulanje, has some cottages where you can enjoy horse rides sightseeing the tea estate and surrounding areas.

Next time you visit Africa, don't forget to visit Malawi and try out these three places. You won’t find the experience they provide anywhere else in the world, and yet there they are; prone, untapped, unspoilt and little advertised, for you to explore. The friendliness of the people is unsurpassed and I just heard recently that we are the happiest country on earth.

Welcome to the warm heart of Africa.

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