Lake Malawi, nearly 600 kilometers long and up to 80 kilometers wide, dominates the countryside. The Rift Valley is an ancient geological formation with fertile soils. Everywhere you go in Malawi one sees evidence of this. Throw down a seed and a plant or a vegetable grows. When David Livingstone arrived at the lakeshore in 1861, he was the first foreign explorer to see the lake. Lake Malawi offers endless pristine white sandy beaches, great snorkeling, and superb bird watching, especially in some of the indigenous inland forests. In addition, there are many opportunities to enjoy uncontrived cultural experiences in some of the surrounding villages, escorted by local guides who live in the area. Malawi is a wonderful, warm, friendly and welcoming country that offers visitors great scenery, interesting parks, and some of the friendliest villagers in all of Africa. If you are keen on experiencing African culture, Malawi is possibly the best country for this.
LIWONDE NATIONAL PARK
The 58,000 hectare Liwonde National Park is situated in the south of Malawi and is the country's premier wildlife reserve. Liwonde incorporates the huge scenic Shire River as well as quiet backwaters and lagoons, marshes, open savannah country, woodland and hills in the interior of the park. As a result of the wide variety of habitats, there is a great diversity of plant, animal and birdlife present. The birdlife is outstanding, possibly the best birding location in central and southern Africa, especially along the Shire River where African fish eagle, palmnut vulture, African skimmer and Pel's fishing owl are fairly common. Bohm's bee-eater, Likan's lovebird, bat hawk, Livingstone's flycathcher, whitebacked night heron and brownbreasted barbet are among the "specials". The Shire River also provides a wetland where elephant drink and play, and snoozing hippos and basking crocodiles are often viewed. Elephant and sable antelope occur in large numbers as do hippo, crocodile, impala and waterbuck. Lion, leopard, serval and the rare oribi may occasionally be seen, and black rhino have recently been re-introduced from South Africa's Kruger National Park. Camping out in remote areas of the Liwonde National Park is a highlight. Another unique adventure is a bicycle trip from the boundary of Liwonde to the local villages, giving one a superb cultural experience.