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Five Special Reasons To Visit Malawi

The warmth and beauty of Malawi's kind and welcoming people are the fuel behind the southern African country's nickname as "The Warm Heart of Africa," and its stunning landscapes and exciting variety of wildlife only reinforce such an endearing moniker. For us, thoughts of Malawi conjure images of expansive blue waters surrounded by picturesque falls, rich greenery, rolling hills and misty peaks. For travelers in search of serenity, joy, laughter, and excitement, Malawi is an excellent fit!

Nominated this year by Lonely Planet as one of America's top 10 travel destinations, Malawi is famed for the impressive Lake Malawi, the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa. Of special interest to many is Malawi's Majete Wildlife Reserve, which achieved Big Five status last year after implementing a successful wildlife relocation project. This means that a visit to Malawi could include lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros sightings! Other popular safari locations include Niyaki National Park and Liwonde National Park, which tops the list at as Malawi's longest established wildlife reserve.

There are infinite reasons to visit Malawi aside from its natural majesty. Here are some of the many reasons why Malawi was nominated as a top travel destination for 2014 along with Cape Town, South Africa:

1. Malawi's people are its greatest asset. As mentioned before, the people of Malawi are unwavering in their warm, friendly, and welcoming demeanor. Proud of their culture and pleased to see visitors, these amiable people will treat you like they would their neighbor. Most travelers who visit Malawi are touched by the genuine nature of its inhabitants, and treasure the fond memories of their trip that the natives helped to create.
2. Lake Malawi will leave you breathless. Malawi's most popular tourist attraction is Lake Malawi, discovered a little more than 150 years ago. Considered to be Malawi's "inland sea," Lake Malawi provides aesthetic appeal and aquatic entertainment for its people and visitors. Perfect for freshwater snorkeling, diving, kayaking and swimming, the lake offers an attractive beach retreat for water-friendly travelers. You might even spot a few hippos! Don't get too close...
3. It isn't a crowded tourist destination. Frequented instead by tobacco businessmen and NGO workers, Malawi isn't actually all that overwhelmed by tourism. It's not a very crowded country — an extremely attractive quality to travelers who truly wish to experience the African lifestyle as opposed to representing the stereotypical tourist.
4. You can tour the tea estates. Tea has been an integral part of Malawi's trade since 1908. In fact, Malawi is the second largest African country that produces and exports tea, and is the 12th largest tea producing country worldwide. The "Tea Estates" in southern Malawi consist of strikingly beautiful views and nicely renovated cottages and lodges where visitors can stay. By special arrangement, you can tour the estates to learn about the work that is done on these plantations!
5. Mount Mulanje has the highest peak in the country. Located at the heart of Malawi's tea growing industry, Mount Mulanje is a massive granite mountain affectionately referred to by locals as the "Island in the Sky." Credit for this nickname is due to its peaks, which pierce the sky's mist and give the illusion that there is an island resting on the clouds. You can reach most of Mulanje's peaks on foot, and from the top of its highest peak — Sapitwa — climbers and non-climbers alike can appreciate expansive views of Zomba Mountain and Lake Chilwa.

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Other fantastic attractions in Malawi include Likoma Island, home to a huge cathedral and several wonderful beaches, and the incredible views of the Zomba and Nyika Plateaus. Of course there are more things to do and see, but we suggest you take a visit and learn about Malawi's beauty first-hand!

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