Travel: 3-Day Itinerary To Make The Most Of Your Trip To Malawi, Africa

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Thu 13 Jun 2024, 8:39 PM

Last updated: Thu 13 Jun 2024, 8:40 PM

When I started to plan my vacation, I was clear that the country to visit should not be run of the mill. I was not looking at countries that had crowds of tourists flocking to them. Instead I was seeking a country that would appeal to my sense of adventure, where I could be safe while travelling solo and whose people would be friendly. I narrowed down on Malawi in Africa and my itinerary (mentioned below) was magical and memorable.

1) Black rhino tracking:

Last year, I had seen the good work being done by African Parks which is a non-profit organisation working for conservation. I had experienced how African Parks had rehabilitated and was managing a protected area in Rwanda with the co-operation of the locals and the government.

In Malawi, they manage four parks, including Majete Wildlife Reserve. I was eager to experience black rhino tracking at Majete in addition to game drives. Black rhinos are critically endangered on the IUCN Red List and their world population is around 6487. For tracking, I went on a patrol with the rangers of the park and learnt about rhino conservation. It was one of the most cherished experiences of my life.

2) Tea tasting:

From Majete, we drove to Thyolo which is Malawi's tea country. Coming from India which is famous for its tea, I was curious to find out about Malawian tea. The best location for this activity is Satemwa Tea Factory. The factory tour commenced with a short video showcasing the tea of the region. The next session was an interactive one with a Malawian tea taster in the tasting area. Around 19 specialty teas had already been prepared and after tasting them, my favourite was red hibiscus tea.

3) Climbing Zomba Plateau:

I had seen photographs of Zomba Plateau before flying to Malawi. In reality, it was even more picturesque. Also known as Zomba Massif, the plateau is almost pear shaped. It was misty the day I hiked to it, giving me a hill station vibe. I thought to myself how this African country had such interesting terrain ranging from forests, tea plantations and now a mountain plateau.

I hiked to the viewpoint called Queen's View which was visited by the late Queen Elizabeth II. The mist had cleared and Zomba town was visible. A stall here was selling red aloe vera which boosts skin and scalp health. Close to Queen's View was another viewpoint called Emperor's View. This point is revered by the Rastafari as on August 2, 1964, Emperor Haile Selassie I from Ethiopia had visited it.

4) Kayaking on Lake Malawi:

The next destination on my itinerary was Lake Malawi which is located inside Lake Malawi National Park that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is the first freshwater national park of the world. My first activity on the lake was kayaking to view the sunset. There is also the option of enjoying the sunset on board a traditional dhow sipping sundowners and munching on snacks.

David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary cum explorer had nicknamed Lake Malawi as the lake of stars. I got to experience exactly why at night as I sat under a clear sky with twinkling stars for company. Not just the sky, even the waters of the lake had lit up with the light of the lamps of the local fishermen who were on the lake.

The next day, in an auto rickshaw, I was taken to experience village life. Kids smiled at us and women weaving shyly looked as we drove by. Outside some of the homes, tomatoes that had been freshly plucked were being sold.

On other days, activities ranged from catch and release fishing and sailing on a sailboat. Snorkelling in the freshwaters of Lake Malawi is like experiencing Mother Nature's own aquarium. The deep blue water is a hotbed of multi-coloured cichlid fish. No wonder, divers from all over the world visit the lake. For an adrenaline high, I tried water-skiing and the fun tube.

5) Exploring Chongoni Rock Art Area:

The last activity on my itinerary was learning about the Chongoni Rock Art Area which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Akafula who were short statured people lived here in the olden days. They made their homes inside caves and hunted for food. For me, it was an uphill climb to a shelter that was created inside a huge rock.

This shelter had two distinct paintings. The ones which were created with red colour are believed to be 10,000 years old. They were made by the Akafula. The second ones were white in colour and drawn by the Chewa people who are an ethnic group. These paintings are about 200 years old. The rock art which illustrates rituals was a way of passing on the culture to the next generation.



Khaleej Times

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