Museums & Historical Sites
There is much to see of Malawi’s history, beginning with the pre-history remains on display at the Cultural & Museum Centre in Karonga and the Stone Age Chongoni Rock Art site near Dedza. Elsewhere, the colonial period is preserved in a number of buildings that remain from that era, particularly in Blantyre and Zomba, which was the country’s capital during that period. There are sites dotted around Malawi noted as places visited by Dr David Livingstone during his expeditions of the late 19th Century. The Livingstonia Mission, which followed on from the great explorer, has left its mark along the lakeshore, with attempts made to settle at Cape Maclear and Bandawe near Chintheche, before settling on the northern lakeshore.
Malawi does not have a large number of museums, but there are a few that can be visited around the country. As well as the museum at Karonga, the main Museum of Malawi is in Blantyre, though it isn’t particularly large. More specialist museums are found at Mangochi (a Lake Malawi museum) and Zomba (a postal services museum). Livingstonia Mission has its own small museum and perhaps the best cultural museum is the Chamare Museum at Mua Mission.
A vast wealth of knowledge and history is stored in Blantyre, at The Society of Malawi – a true treasure trove of the country’s history. With thousands of books and resources safely stored away, it provides an opportunity to find out a bit more about Malawi that perhaps many tourists don’t ever discover.
Places Offering Museums & Historical Sites
The largest urban area in Malawi, the conurbation of Blantyre & Limbe, is the country’s commercial capital.
Chintheche offers some of the best beaches on Lake Malawi, with a collection of luxury lodges right by the shore.
In the forested granite hills around Dedza is the Chongoni Rock Art Area, a UNESCO World Heritage SIte. this is the densest cluster of ancient rock art found in central Africa.
Karonga is one of Lake Malawi's most northern towns. It is home to a wonderful new museum of cultural history and archeology.
Livingstonia is a mission station established in 1894 by Robert Laws, a disciple of David Livingstone. Sited at 3000ft above Lake Malawi, there are stunning views across the Lake.
Mangochi is sited between Lakes Malawi and Malombe and has a number of historical monuments dating back to the beginning of the twentieth century.
Mua Mission is famous for the quality of the wood carvings produced and sold there. The standards are superb and the prices very reasonable.
Often, but confusingly, described as the largest traditional village in Africa, Nkhotakota is rich in history. Visited by Dr Livingstone in 1863, it was then a major centre for the slave trade.
Zomba Town is in a beautiful setting below the plateau of the same name. This was the original capital of Malawi and the first settlement of the colonial administration.
Malawi’s people are its greatest asset - friendly, welcoming, colourful and vibrant. As well as the natural daily encounters with Malawians, there are widespread opportunities to visit real villages.
Tea is Malawi's second largest export, with acres of tea plantations in the south of the country. The Satemwa Tea Estate at Thyolo is a tourist hotspot for those wishing to take part in tea tasting.
Malawi has a wide range of performance arts to show its visitors from traditional dance to up and coming hip hop artists.
Malawi's bustling and colourful local markets sell everything from fruit and vegetables to arts & crafts, meat and traditional dress.
Becoming a volunteer in Malawi's communities goes along way to provide a better future for Malawian people.