For a relatively small country Malawi offers a surprising diversity of experiences. The surface topography is dominated by the Southern Rift Valley which gives rise to spectacular scenery. There are three freshwater Rift Valley Lakes, Lake Malawi itself, Lake Malombe on the Shire River and Lake Chilwa. Each provides a distinct environment from the steep-sided escarpments and sandy beaches of Lake Malawi to the swampy wetlands of Lake Chilwa.
Much of the remainder of the country is high plains grassland interspersed with rocky outcrops known as Inselbergs, the Mulanje Massif and Zomba Plateau being two prime examples of the latter. In the north-west is the Nyika Plateau a unique example of high-altitude (>2000m) grassland while in very south in the Shire River Valley are the swamplands of Elephant Marsh and the low-elevation Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve.
The National Parks and Wildlife Reserves contain a variety of wildlife, including the Big 5, which can be seen without being part of a cavalcade of 4x4s. In some of the locations the opportunity of getting up-close to elephants and hippos is not to be missed opportunity.
The Chongoni area provides a graphic historical record of the region's past and there are numerous sites across the country relating to the arrival of Scottish Missionaries who followed David Livingstone and shaped modern Malawi. Learn more about cultural history at the Kungoni Centre and at Karonga Museum. Many locations within the country offer cultural experiences and the opportunity to experience the warm heart of Africa in person.
While the three major cities are not special they have all the facilities necessary to support exploration of their respective regions and to provide a comfortable environment to recharge your battery.