Malawi offers a huge variety of stunning scenery. Malawi’s tallest peaks rise to 10,000 feet (3,000 meters), while the lowest point is just a few feet above sea level. This wide variety of elevations in a short region contributes to Malawi’s scenery being one of the most diverse in Africa. Plateaus, highlands, forests, mountains, plains, escarpments, and spectacular river basins characterize the landscape.
The Rift Valley dominates the landscape, forming the enormous gap that Lake Malawi fills and spreading south of the nation along the Shire River, which drains the lake. Elephant Marsh, in the Lower Shire Valley, is one of the most significant wetlands in the Rift Valley’s flatter regions in South Malawi.
The Central African Plateau is to the west of the Lake and on either side of the Shire Valley towards the south. A number of spectacular escarpments mark the transition from the Rift Valley bottom to the Central African Plateau, such as the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, a protected region of harsh, unspoiled wilderness. The Central African Plateau is a gently sloping terrain between 1,600ft (490m) and 5,000ft (1,500m), interrupted by more spectacular hills and forests and with the odd lake (such as Lake Chilwa).
Malawi’s diverse landscape is particularly striking when it comes to the vast highlands and forests. Clear mountain streams, heaths, rolling montane grassland, and evergreen woods may be found up in the mountains, where the air is fresh and cold.
Mulanje Massif and Zomba Plateau are two of Malawi’s most well-known highlands. The former is a huge syenite granite wilderness plateau that rises from the Phalombe Plains. It contains a variety of peaks, notably Sapitwa, which is the highest in both the nation and central Africa at 3,000 meters (10,000 feet). The tea plantations west of Mulanje, all the way to Thyolo, are likewise breathtakingly beautiful. The Zomba Plateau is not as high as the Mulanje Plateau, yet it is nonetheless magnificent. It has a slab-like summit with a gently sloping plateau that may be reached by road.
Between Blantyre and Lilongwe, the Dedza-Kirk Highlands continue the elevation from the Rift Valley’s western border. The Dedza-Salima Forest Reserve and subsequently the Thuma Forest Reserve represent the northern end of these hills. The Dzalanyama Forest Reserve is located south of Lilongwe and includes a series of hills near the Mozambique border. Dowa and the Ntchisi Forest Reserve are the most prominent peaks in the Dowa Highlands, which are located north of Lilongwe.
The Viphya Highlands, which extend north-south in north Malawi and reach the Rift Valley’s border, are undulating hills covered in evergreen woods. Finally, the Nyika Plateau, a rolling whaleback grassland plateau unique in Africa, is located in northern Malawi. The Nyika National Park covers a large portion of Central Africa’s tallest and most widespread high plateau area.