By: P. Szwarc
Malawi, also known as the Warm Heart of Africa, is one of the most fascinating places I've ever been to. It is well-known for its natural beauty, unique fauna and flora and, most importantly, its people, or must I say, their humility and ability to find happiness with the little things the world has to offer. Many of you must be thinking, why Malawi? Well, after reading my lengthy review, I'm certain you'll think otherwise, because, believe me, this tiny country will take your breath away.
Malawi is in the south-eastern part of Africa, bordering Tanzania, Mocambique and Zambia. It does not border the coast of the continent itself, however, there's an immense and gorgeous lake stretching out in the eastern border. It provides locals and tourists with mind-blowing beaches and breath-taking views.
Its capital city is Lilongwe and there are various languages spoken in the area, such as English, Portuguese – due to the country's borders with Mocambique – and Chichewa, the country's local dialect.
As small as the country may be, there are endless, endless, things to do. For example, Lake Malawi. This is the fresh-water lake mentioned previously and it takes up a good chunk of the country's territory. It is blessed with golden beaches and its water is as clear as day, perfect for scuba diving or snorkelling, and other water activities such as kayaking, stand up and maybe even banana boating (a must)! Furthermore, as it isn’t hoarding with tourists, you'll be able to sit back and relax in the nearby islands, such as Likoma Island. I was able to call Likoma my home away from home; as students living in the megalopolis of Sao Paulo, it is always very pleasant to escape from the annoying car-honks and stress that we face every day.
Waking up to the sound of crashing waves, the sun creaking into your window sill, and birds chirping all day long sure sounds like a dream, doesn't it? Likoma is the epitome of peacefulness.
And the natural beauty doesn't end there! If you enjoy trekking and beautiful views, Mulanje Mountain is your perfect match! It is a giant granite massif located in southern Malawi. Its highest peak, Sapitwa, reaches over 3.000m, ideal for all adventure seekers! There are various hiking routes to choose from; I certainly recommend it for those who are looking for excitement!
Finally, food. Yes, food. Malawian cuisine is delicious; I cannot stress that enough. It consists of fresh sea food, a wide variety of salads and fruits and, wait for it, maize. Not as exciting as it sounds, but once you take a bite, you can't get enough of it.
Getting into a more serious topic, Malawi was considered the poorest country in the world in 2016. On my way to the hotel, all I could see were battered up houses without proper rooftops, and schools with no doors, teachers or children inside (even though it was a school day). However, as I looked around some more, I could listen to the ecstatic laughter of kids following our van, gleaming as they chased it around, for a whole 15 minutes. I was dumbfounded by the fact that little things like these make them happy. The Malawian people are simply amazing, but they need our help. Volunteering and donating small amounts of money to their communities may not seem like much, but make a HUGE difference for them as a country. (20 dollars provides a child the money he/she needs to stay in school.)
Malawi, once again, is one of the best places I've ever been to. I hope someday we might share the same opinion regarding it. Tsalani bwino!