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A Virtual Tour of Malawi, the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’



A Virtual Tour of Malawi, the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’

At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with journey restrictions in place worldwide, we launched a brand new collection — The World By a Lens — by which photojournalists assist transport you, nearly, to some of our planet’s most stunning and intriguing locations. This week, Marcus Westberg shares a set of photos from Malawi.

Once I stepped off the airplane in Lilongwe as a 23-year-old, I had no concept of what to anticipate, although I used to be enthusiastic about the prospect of my first solo journey to Africa. I spent the first few days wandering round the metropolis — it felt extra like a small city than the nation’s capital — earlier than deciding that it was time to see extra of the nation.

A landlocked nation in southeastern Africa, Malawi is usually overshadowed by its extra better-known neighbors: Tanzania, with its ample wildlife; Zambia, house of Victoria Falls; and Mozambique, with its picture-perfect seashores.


However Malawi — roughly the dimension of Pennsylvania — has loads of pure magnificence of its personal: the clear waters of Lake Malawi (near 365 miles lengthy and 52 miles extensive, it’s generally referred to as the “Calendar Lake”); the magnificent cliffs of Mount Mulanje; the distinctive highland plateau of Nyika; and its wildlife reserves, together with Liwonde and Majete, the place cheetahs, lions, elephants and rhinos have been reintroduced.

Nonetheless, it was by no means the nation’s pure charms that stored drawing me again. It was the individuals.

As a photojournalist and journey author, I’m cautious of clichés and generalizations. However few international locations have been awarded a extra acceptable slogan than Malawi, which is named the “Heat Heart of Africa.” Whereas I’ve hardly ever been made to really feel unwelcome anyplace throughout my travels, in Africa or elsewhere, Malawi has all the time felt totally different.


In fact, it might be unfair to gloss over the nation’s many challenges. Crime has risen dramatically since my first go to. Sexual abuse of minors stays a major downside, particularly in additional conventional, rural settings.

Along with being one of the world’s poorest international locations, Malawi has additionally been bothered by severe deforestation, overfishing, high levels of infectious diseases, low levels of school attendance and election irregularities, although the newly formed government is receiving much credit for its crackdown on corruption and embezzlement of state funds.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought much of the country, including its international tourism, to a standstill, adding uncertainty to an already precarious existence for many.


On that first visit 14 years ago, I eventually ended up at a small guesthouse in the fishing village of Senga Bay. Initially intending to stay for a night or two, I didn’t leave for more than a week.

Much like the country itself, the appropriately named Cool Runnings made a long-lasting impression not as a result of of its location or aesthetics, however as a result of of the individuals I met there. Half a dozen visits later, I by no means fail to be amazed by the ingenuity of the proprietor Samantha Ludick and her small group, all of whom come from this small lakeside neighborhood.


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