What struck us most was the smiling happy people. Lake Malawi is the 2nd largest lake in Africa and is a meromictic lake - its three distinct water layers do not mix providing more environments for plants and animals to evolve in. Cichlids are especially abundant in Lake Malawi, where they’ve diverged into at least 1,000 species.

Three things we did not know about Malawi:

  1. Malawi’s biggest export is tobacco accounting for 50% of the country’s overall exports. Tea is also listed as one of Malawi’s major exports (6%).
  2. Rural Taxis are bicycles! Rural Malawi ambles at such a slow pace that if you need a ride for a short distance, you may well have to hail a bicycle. Like motorcycles sitting at the top of small streets in Thailand’s cities, these wait at key spots, like road crossings and hotel entrances. We grabbed four when crossing the 3Km ‘no man’s land’ from Tanzania to Malawi (one for each of us and one for each of our backpacks)!
  3. Malawi is famed for its beautiful wood carvings including ‘Malawi Chairs’ – our house is adorned with several of these works of art which we swapped for t-shirts when we were backpacking in the 1990s.

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