Apart from the legendary Malawian friendliness, what captures you first about this vivid country is its geographical diversity. Slicing through the landscape in a trough formed by the Great Rift Valley is Africa’s third-largest lake: Lake Malawi, a shimmering mass of clear water, its depths swarming with colourful cichlid fish. Whether for diving, snorkelling, kayaking or chilling out on beaches and desert islands, a visit to the lake is a must. Suspended in the clouds in Malawi’s deep south are the dramatic peaks of Mt Mulanje and the mysterious Zomba Plateau, both a hiker's dream, with mist-cowled forests and exotic wildlife. Further north is the otherworldly beauty of the Nyika Plateau, its rolling grasslands resembling the Scottish Highlands.
Malawi is a landlocked republic located in the southeast of Africa. It borders three other African countries in the Great Lake region—Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique. East of Malawi is its coast on the namesake lake.
Landlocked African countries usually aren’t very appealing to investors. However, Malawi doesn’t need an ocean to attract tourists and business owners. It has plenty of opportunities to grow thanks to its rich history and stunning natural wonders. Not to mention Lake Malawi.
History of Malawi
The area of modern Malawi has always been inhabited. Scientists have even found human jawbones that are between 2.3 and 2.5 million years old. These remains come from the oldest members of the Homo genus on Earth.
Sometime between 8000 and 2000 BC, two people groups lived by the Malawi lake coast. They were known as the Twa and the Fula. However, they wouldn’t stay there for long. Bantu people, who came from the north, displaced them and began settling the area. They would form lots of small tribes that fought each other for supremacy. People that made up these tribes depended on agriculture and fishing.
Most of the tribes of Malawi would remain independent until the late 15th century. From then on, they would be united under the rule of the Maravi Empire.
The word ‘Maravi’ means ‘flames,’ and it’s what the modern country gets its name from. However, the people who founded the Empire were called the Amaravi. They were skilled ironworkers, and the smoke from their kilns would fill the skies.
These ironsmiths originally came from the northwest coast of Central Africa. As they settled, they began to brutally attack the local Akafula people. It didn’t take long before they wiped them all out. But they didn’t stop there.
With cruel efficiency, the Amaravi conquered vast areas of land. In fact, most of today’s Malawi territory belonged to the Empire. They also controlled some parts of modern-day Zambia and Mozambique. By 1650, they were a powerhouse.
Rulers of the Maravi Empire followed both matrilineal and patrilineal lines of succession. Their rulers came from the Mwale maternal clan, and their title was Kalonga or Emperor.
The Kalonga would rule from the city of Manthimba, which was the administrative and secular capital of the empire. However, the patrilineal line of the Banda clan was just as important. It provided the Empire with healers, metalworkers, sages, and priests. Their capital was the city of Mankhamba.
The Rise and the Fall
The Amaravi were flourishing when they came into contact with the Europeans. The Portuguese discovered this area in 1530. By that time, the Empire had already been established and thriving. They would trade with African merchants for decades to come. Amaravi happily traded iron, slaves and ivory for beads and Chinese porcelain. Other major trading partners were the Arabs.
However, the Empire was beginning to decline. Two tribes, in particular, contributed to the Amaravi downfall. The first was the Ngoni people. While fleeing from Shaka Zulu, the Ngoni settled in parts of Malawi. Soon after that, they began to raid the Empire frequently. They would win over small tribes within Maravi, which included lots of locals. Young tribesmen would join them, while they sold the elderly to slavery.
Another, more powerful enemy was the Yao tribe. The Yao converted to Islam very early on thanks to the Swahili Muslims, which posed a major threat to the Empire. In contrast, because of English and Scottish missionaries, the Amaravi converted to Christianity.
The Yao kept raiding the Empire with the help from other Muslim allies, such as Arabs and the Swahili people. However, not long after, the English took control of the region.
In 1883, one British consul settled in Blantyre. Back then, Blantyre was a trading town that already had an English church mission. Six years later, the whole region became the British Central Africa Protectorate. This decision was ratified in 1891, ending the Empire. The Protectorate changed its name to Nyasaland after 1907.
Independence From the British
The people living within the Protectorate weren’t happy under British rule. An open rebellion known as the Chilembwe uprising took place in 1915. Sadly, it was squashed quickly, and the British executed the rebels. The Malawi people had to wait until well after World War II to gain independence.
On July 6th, 1964, Malawi became an independent member of the Commonwealth. Its first president was the Malawi Congress Party member, Hastings Banda.
Banda was a doctor, a war veteran, and an advocate against colonialism. At first, his rule appeared benign. However, he soon declared MCP the only legal political party in Malawi.
This one-party dictatorship became worse when he declared himself president for life in 1971. In addition, he would torture, jail, and execute his political opponents. They wouldn’t even get a proper trial. Moreover, he had good relations with Apartheid-era South Africa. In the eyes of his allies in the Western world, this was a very controversial stance. Luckily, he was deposed via a referendum in 1994.
Because of its turbulent history and there is a reason why many call Malawi ‘the warm heart of Africa.’ Most Malawians are very friendly and love having visitors over. And if there’s anything that the New Nordic Group loves, it’s countries that love visitors.
Basic Information About Lake Malawi
The lake itself has a surface area of 11,400 square miles and a maximum depth of 2,316 feet. These stats make Lake Malawi the fourth largest freshwater lake globally and ninth in overall area size. However, it does take one #1 spot. Namely, it has the largest number of fish species in the world.
In terms of age, Lake Malawi has been estimated to be over 8.5 million years old.
Why Invest in Malawi?
The Great Lakes countries have a lot of untapped potential. Malawi, in particular, can be an amazing spot for tourists and investors. After all, it has an amazing geographical location with untapped wildlife. In addition, it has vibrant cities as well as calm, serene coastal towns.
When investing in New Nordic Group holiday resorts, investors buy a slice in two of the fastest growing industries in some of the most beautiful areas of the world, the real estate & the tourism industries.
Geography of Malawi
We can’t talk about the geography of this country without mentioning the great Lake Malawi. It’s an amazing spot for activities such as fishing, sailing, swimming, and diving. Water sports such as kayaking are also becoming huge in the country.
Malawi is home to many indigenous species of fish as well. In fact, there are over 700 species of cichlids in the lake. You can observe them at a few key spots along the Malawi coast.
Some of the most beautiful beaches in Africa can be found in Malawi. For example, Nkhata Bay has two famous beaches. They are the Kande Beach and the so-called Chintheche Inn. Both of them have golden sand, lots of resorts, and lakeside bars. Kande Beach even has the world-renowned Kande Horse Stables. Visitors can rent a horse and ride it in the fresh, shallow waters of the lake, which is quite unique when it comes to African tourism or even tourism in general. Small details like beach horse riding are why the New Nordic Group wants to invest in countries such as Malawi.
But it’s not just about the lake. Malawi also has a few interesting national parks. Each of these parks is important when it comes to preserving the local wildlife. Nyika National Park, for example, has over 200 species of orchids and other wildflowers. It also houses hundreds of species of antelopes and birds.
Meanwhile, Kasungu National Park is the second-largest in the country. Like Nyika, it’s home to hundreds of animal species. These include African buffalos, kudus, zebras, hyenas, and servals. You will have a chance to see them as they are, in their natural habitat.
Malawi has a population of roughly 18 million inhabitants. It’s the 21st most populous country in Africa.
The biggest cities in Malawi have a lot of history to them and are a great way to experience the local culture. We at the New Nordic Group recommend visiting Lilongwe, Blantyre, and Zomba. But there are, of course, hundreds of other towns and cities that are worth your time and money.
Lilongwe is the capital city of Malawi, and at 1.7 million inhabitants, it’s also the largest. Most Malawians will tell you that it’s the administrative center of the country. But that doesn’t mean that Lilongwe is without its own charm.
If you love nature and ecotourism, you will love visiting the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. This institution is dedicated to preserving and helping local wildlife. Visitors can observe the animals in their natural habitat, which is impressive since the Centre is within a major urban city.
But their visit to the center also helps these animals. Every dollar a tourist spends there goes to wildlife research and preservation efforts. Remember — the best business investment is the one that helps save our planet.
Still, maybe you’ll want to see more than just the animals of Malawi. Maybe you want to learn about the diverse flora of Lilongwe. If so, you can visit the National Herbarium and Botanical Gardens. Over 80% of plants in the Herbarium are indigenous to Malawi.
Culture, art, and shopping
Some tourists might prefer to learn about Malawi’s culture and art. The best way to do that is to experience it firsthand. Luckily, Lilongwe has just the place—the Kumbali Cultural Village. Want to try the local food while viewing stunning pieces of Malawian art? This village is the place for you. On top of that, you’ll also get to learn more about the local customs and see the works of native folkcraft.
Finally, know that shopping is huge in Lilongwe. One amazing spot to visit is the Old Town Mall. It’s packed with souvenirs that represent the Malawian culture. But if you prefer modern malls, don’t worry—Lilongwe has them too. The most popular places to shop in the city are the Gateway Mall and the Lilongwe City Mall. Both are huge and offer a wide variety of modern brands.
Blantyre is the second largest city in Malawi. The Malawians call it the capital of commerce and finance. As such, it is the biggest center of employment in the country. That fact alone makes it the perfect place for investment and development.
Of course, not everything is strictly business in Blantyre. Historically speaking, Christianity played a big role in the city’s growth. Blantyre is home to the church of St Michael and All Angels, which boasts masterful brickwork and design that’ll leave you speechless. It should come as no surprise, then, that Christian tourism is big in Blantyre. Pilgrims and visitors can participate in local pilgrimages through the wilderness. The most popular is the Njira ya Mtanda or The Way of the Cross.
Art is a huge part of Blantyre as well. Tourists can find all types of art there, from traditional paintings to Malawian wood carvings. As an art lover, you can see some of the local exhibits at the La Caverna gallery. But you don’t have to stop there. Another way you can experience local art is to visit the Tiyamike sewing shops.
Tiyamike is more than a chain of shops, however. Lots of women in Blantyre are underprivileged and need to earn a living somehow. So, Tiyamike helps them by offering them a job in the service industry. We here at the New Nordic Group love it when a local business helps the needy and downtrodden. And by buying souvenirs at Tiyamike, you can help the disadvantaged as well.
Zomba used to be the capital until 1974. It is rich with history and a good place to visit if you want to learn more about Malawi. Still, the most popular attraction of Zomba is actually the so-called Zomba Massif.
The peak of Zomba Massif is at 2087 meters. You can excavate some semi-precious stones from it if you have the tools. But you won’t be there for excavation only. The mountain is perfect for tourists who love outdoor activities. Hiking and rock climbing are very popular there. However, if you prefer riding a horse or a mountain bike, you’re more than welcome to do so. You can even fish in the local Mulunguzi river.
Overall, Zomba offers the full outdoor experience to everyone. That’s why there are many camping grounds near the city. It’s the perfect way to spend the night after a long hike or a decent climb.
A Great investment - summary
- Streamlined Investment Procedures and multiple currencies though New Nordic Dubai Investment Hub
- Political Stability and Security: With no history of civil war, Malawi is Africa’s beacon of peace, a stable political climate for doing business.
- Liberalised economy, Political will: Market driven rates, exchange rates. Government co-investments in strategic areas to promote private sector growth.
- Competitive Labour Market: Large, highly educated, skilled, hard-working, honest and trainable English speaking labour.
- Preferential Market Access: Process in Malawi and sale through free trade areas and trade agreements covering Comesa, SADC, EU and USA markets through AGOA.
- Untapped wealth: Opportunities include agriculture, energy, mining, manufacturing, infrastructure, services, ICT and Tourism. Malawi has huge economic opportunities for investors.
- Investor Friendly Climate: A number of Investor tax incentives, Malawi is becoming a choice destination for many investors targeting Southern Africa region.
- Ease of Access: Malawi is located strategically for an investor targeting regional and international markets.
- Growing economy: The economy has grown since 2007 despite global economic challenges.
- Developing infrastructure: All key sectors of transport, property and ICT are developing.
Sprawling, chaotic and bustling with commerce, Lilongwe feels fit to burst. The nation's capital is initially a little underwhelming and it takes some time to get your bearings – you may wonder where the centre is – but once you've decided on your favourite restaurants, ferreted out the best malls and discovered those hidden leafy oases, the place grows on you.
Blessed with verdant National Parks, wildlife reserves and the azure expanses of its namesake Lake, Malawi abounds in natural beauty. The country’s rich flora and fauna and is certain to enthrall both the sun-seeker and wildlife lover alike. Adrenaline junkies can engage in numerous outdoors activities, from a plethora of watersports to safaris and mountain climbing.
Malawi is also renowned as the “Warm Heart of Africa”, owing to the legendary friendliness of her people. The population numbers over 18 million, with a healthy growth rate of 3.3%. English is widely spoken. A landlocked nation, it shared borders with Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Salima is an idyllic trading centre with good connectivity to Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe via the Lakeshore Road. It is a popular weekend retreat, and its attractions include the Stuart Grant Cichlid Fish Farm, a crocodile farm, the Kuti Community Wildlife Reserve and Thuma Forest Reserve.
Country head office
Our Headquarters in Malawi is not yet in place, please contact New Nordic Group on any of the addresses below.
Apart from the legendary Malawian friendliness, what captures you first about this vivid country is its geographical diversity. Slicing through the landscape in a trough formed by the Great Rift Valley is Africa’s third-largest lake: Lake Malawi - and on the very shores of the lake you'll find New Nordic Malo Resort.