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Wonders of Malawi

Cape McLear at Malawi Lake
Cape McLear at Malawi Lake / Joachim Huber, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0.

WorldBlue  Highlights

Malawi is a true epitome of Africa. Harsh history (the 19th century was just terrible), beautiful and varied scenery, very poor and at the same time very welcoming and kind people – this is Africa and this is Malawi.

The most amazing wonders of Malawi are:

  • Unique ecosystems – montane forest and meadows as well as bays and inlets in Lake Malawi with numerous rare and endemic species of plants and animals.
  • Archaeological heritage – in the country are found remnants of hominins, several thousand years old cliff art and recent (even active) cult sites. Of specific value are monuments related to the enslavement of the people of Malawi.

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 17 wonders of Malawi

Geological wonders

Manchewe Falls and Kazichi Falls


Tall waterfalls, each more than 80 m tall.

Manchewe Falls, Malawi
Manchewe Falls / Karl Mueller, Flickr / CC BY 2.0.
Likhubula Falls


Powerful waterfall sliding down along granite cliff. Height: 12 – 15 m.

Likhubula Falls, Malawi
Likhubula Falls / fffriendly, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0.
Chingwe’s Hole


A narrow sinkhole that is just 8 m in diameter and, reportedly, some 20 m deep. There are gruesome stories about the death sentence by throwing into this hole.

Biological wonders

Mount Lichenya cedar grove


The largest remaining grove of Mulanje cedar (Widdringtonia whytei) – a conifer endemic to Mulanje massif. This montane forest (256 ha) contains numerous other endemic species of plants and animals – birds, reptiles, butterflies, and others.

Nyika Plateau orchid meadows


Montane meadows with more than 200 species of orchids that are flowering in the rainy season. Many species of orchids are found only here. Some species of butterflies and other life forms are also found only here.

Malema fossils


Important find of the fossils of various extinct animals. Here have been found fossils of early hominins (1 – 6 million years old) and dinosaurs (100 – 140 million years old).



Large tree on Chisi island in Lake Chilwa. The trunk of this tree is much wider than two humans standing side by side.

Archaeological wonders

Chongoni petroglyphs


Group of 127 granite rock faces that are covered with prehistoric drawings. The total area of the monument is 126.4 km². Drawings depict the cultural history of local people over the last 2000 years, mostly linked to the initiation ceremony of girls. This ceremony continues in some shelters up to this day. Notable monuments are Mwana wa Chencherere II, Namzeze, and Mphunzi shelters with especially fine art – the comparatively late white style.



Sacred site – granite rock in Thangadzi river. Stone has imprints of buttocks, reportedly left by a deified priest Mbona. These imprints have been created by axe-grinding in earlier centuries.

Fingira rock paintings


A group of prehistoric rock paintings in a rock shelter, here have been found also stone artifacts and shells.

Fingira rock art, Malawi
Fingira rock art / Paul Shaffner, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Architecture and cult wonders

Khulubvi sacred grove


An important center of the Mbona cult – a sacred grove. Priests and guardians were living next to it. The last sacrifice took place here in the 1950s, covert sacrifice may continue up to this day. This is a sacred site since the 12th century at least.

Kaulime Lake


Small montane lake, a sacred site to local people. According to local legends here lives an enormous snake that enables the communication between humans and gods. In the lake are left offerings.

Chifunda Lundu


An important cult site where sacrifices were left up until the recent past.

Chisi fortifications


Fortified settlements in the mountains of Chisi island, Lake Chilwa. Settlements were developed by local people in the 19th century in an attempt to escape from the slave trade.

Mbande Hill


An abandoned settlement, the former capital of the Ngonde kingdom in the time period between the 16th and 19th centuries. The site contains remnants of earthworks.

Blantyre St. Michael and All Angels Church


Ornate church in Eclectic style, built from red brick in 1888 – 1891.

Blantyre St. Michael and All Angels Church, Malawi
Blantyre St. Michael and All Angels Church / Andrew Dressel, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Fort Mangochi


Comparatively well preserved fortification at a historical slave route built by the British in the 19th century.

WorldYellow Recommended books

Across the Footsteps of Africa: The Experiences of an Ecuadorian Doctor in Malawi and Mozambique

This is a fascinating account of an Ecuadorian physician working as a health coordinator in refugee camps among the Chewa and Yao people in two countries challenged by important political and historical transformations: Malawi and Mozambique.

Malawi (Bradt Travel Guides)

Bradt’s Malawi by Africa expert Philip Briggs is the only standalone practical guide to ‘Africa’s best kept secret’ and offers detailed, comprehensive information to suit the needs of every wanderer. This fully revised and updated 7th edition offers extensive practical information, all the latest cultural and political developments, plus a 19-chapter, in-depth breakdown, and coverage of the country to cater to all interests and budgets.

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