Why Malawi (not South Africa) should be on your bucket list for 2020!
Most people when we told them we were going to Malawi they asked ‘Why?’ And then ‘Where is it?’ Followed swiftly with ‘Is it safe?’ Strange that those questions don’t ever really get asked about a trip to South Africa, where we Brits visit in our thousands every year.
The answer to those questions in a nutshell is ‘Why not Malawi!’ ‘It’s only an hour from South Africa’ And ‘Yes it’s safe’. Not for one moment did we feel like we had put the kids at any risk at all, in fact quite the contrary, as to be honest it felt safer than London.
But the real reason we went to Malawi is that we want our children to share our love of the unknown. We want them to explore new countries, places, ideas and cultures. Above all that we want our children to have respect for people that may be different to them. To realise as well, that on a very micro level, just how similar we all are.
If however that reason seems a little, well overly worthy for your two week family holiday, the other reasons that Malawi should be on your bucket list in 2020 is due to its incredible beauty, its stunning lake and its wonderful people. If you are already thinking of a trip to South Africa, then why not consider Malawi instead.
We spent 14 nights exploring the South of Malawi at Easter 2018. Flying into Blantyre Malawi’s second city, we explored different areas in a circuit around Blantyre never really being more than 3 hours from the International Airport and a myriad of hospitals. We were reassuringly close and in reality you can be further away from decent care in parts of the UK or when the M25 is at a standstill.
During our 14 nights in Malawi we took the children to see a baby giraffe just 3 weeks old at Game Haven; we stayed in an eco lodge at the top of a plateau without mains power and the kids learnt about the benefits of solar power first hand. We attended a church service lasting close to 3 hours and listened to the passionate songs of women and children. Mvuu Lodge with its hippo and elephant frolicking in the Shire River before us took our breath away and lying on an uninhabited island in a hammock after canoeing in Lake Malawi was perhaps one of the most beautiful moments I’ve ever had.
The kids learnt about tea production and the daily wage for tea collection of around £1 a day and began questioning how this was possible to live on or even fair. The kids read books to children at the local book bus during the day and by night we sipped cocktails on the beach. We all planted trees and learnt about chronic deforestation that has swept through Malawi in the last twenty years. We learnt a lot about life and about each other too.
All sorts of accommodation options are available in Malawi to suit you and your spirit of adventure. We slept in luxury lodges and 5* hotels, tents and a colonial bungalow and everything in-between. We laughed, we bonded and we explored.
We left Malawi with memories of magical moments, inspiring people and beautiful vistas. As a family we left a little wiser, a little more patient and a lot more appreciative of the advantages of the lives we are returning to.
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If you have the opportunity to visit, take it and embrace it with open arms.
The team at The Responsible Safari Company can arrange for your trip to be as active or as sedentary as you please but I can guarantee that once you start looking at all the options you’ll want to see as much of Malawi as possible.
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You could have written about how beautiful Malawi is without telling people not to go to South Africa. I don’t even understand why you felt the need to suggest that people must choose one country over the other. I’m disgusted at your article, we have enough issues in Africa without people like you always forcing us to compete against one another. Malawi is beautiful and so is South Africa.
Monday 17th of June 2019
You're right but people in the UK go to South Africa so often but often don't think to consider other destinations. I'm sorry you're disappointed with the title.