Ethical Travel Malawi‘The warm heart of Africa’ and ‘the land of the lake’ are the standard tourist slogans, and they do fit the bill for Malawi. This is an attractive little country which follows the southern end of the Great Rift Valley, most of which consists of the long expanse of Lake Malawi. This lake and Chogoni Rock Art are on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The scenery is sometimes stunning, ranging from the wooded shores of the lake to the cool Nyika Plateau, a game reserve, Zomba Mountain and Mount Mulanje, approached through green tea gardens. There are pleasant lakeside resorts, such as Salima and Monkey Bay, and historic mission stations at Livingstonia and on Likoma Island in the lake. The main towns are the commercial capital, Blantyre, the new capital at Lilongwe and the rather charming old capital, now the university town, of Zomba. Communications and the climate are good and the people are very friendly.

However, rapid population growth means that the single major national resource, agricultural land, is under pressure. The food supply system is precarious and prone to natural disasters, both droughts and heavy rainfall, so constant food aid is needed. Sensitive tourism can help to offset increasing poverty. Malawi is among the world’s least developed countries with a low life expectancy, partly due to the high rates of HIV/AIDS infection. However, after more than 70 years as a British colony and three decades of totalitarian rule, it is now a democratic multi-party state, and hopefully, it can move forward.