Established in 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. Countries bordering Malawi are Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. Lilongwe is the capital but Blantyre the largest and most important commercial and industrial city. The country’s terrain consists of plateaux and mountains but is dominated by the enormous Lake Malawi, 600km long and some 85km wide, one of Africa's ‘great lakes’. The climate is sub-tropical with rains mainly from November to May. The population of Malawi is around 12 million with English and Chichewa being the main languages.
The third largest lake in Africa, taking up a fifth of Malawi’ s total land area. Sometimes known as the ‘calendar lake’ (from its imperial dimensions: 365 miles long and 52 miles wide, the lake is freshwater and home to more than 500 species of fish – more than in North America and Europe combined! The clear waters of this lake are also one of the world’s premier fresh water dive and snorkelling spots and the major tourist attraction – the water being broadly safe for swimming. Many water sports are available - including fishing, water skiing, windsurfing and sailing.