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Monday 20th October
Malawi Information - Page 1
Geography
The Republic of Malawi is in Southern Africa. Countries bordering Malawi are Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.

Lilongwe is the capital. Blantyre, the largest city, is an important commercial and industrial centre.

Malawi's terrain consists of plateau and mountains. Lake Malawi is drained by the Shire River, a tributary of the Zambezi.

Malawi has a sub-tropical climate. The rainy season is from November to May.

Environment
Malawi's Department of National Parks and Wildlife manages the country's protected areas. National Parks are Kasungu, Lengwe, Liwonde, Nyika and Lake Malawi.

The Lake Malawi National Park was designated a World Heritage site in 1984. Lake Malawi is one of Africa's largest lakes. Other lakes in Malawi include Lake Malombe and Lake Chilwa. Lake Chilwa is on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

The lakes are home to hundreds of species of fish; the most famous is the cichlid family. A variety of birds, such as the stork and the giant kingfisher, also inhabit the lake areas.

Antelopes, cheetahs, crocodiles, giraffes, hippos, leopards, lions, rhinos and zebras are found in Malawi's National Parks and Wildlife Reserves.

Architecture
Traditional buildings in Malawi are constructed from materials such as wood, mud and thatch.

Colonialists introduced European styles of architecture. Examples of Colonial architecture can be seen in the former capital of Zomba and the Old Town of Lilongwe.

Construction of government buildings in the New Town of Lilongwe began in the late 1960s. Lilongwe, officially the capital city of Malawi since 1975, is a commercial centre with modern buildings such as the Reserve Bank of Malawi.

Population
The population of Malawi was estimated at 13,931,830 in 2008.

Languages
English and Chichewa are both official languages.

Religion
A significant number of Malawians are Christians, others are Muslims and some have indigenous beliefs.

Food
Maize is the staple food in Malawi. It is not a native plant of the country but was originally introduced to Malawi by the Portuguese at the end of the eighteenth century. Millet and sorghum are more drought resistant crops. Other crops grown include cassava (a root vegetable which can be made into a porridge), sweet potatoes, potatoes, pumpkins and peanuts.

Fish, such as chambo, is caught in the lakes. Animals including chickens, goats, sheep and cattle are kept for meat and dairy produce.

Tropical fruits are grown. Bananas are sometimes fried and are used to make banana bread.

During times of drought, villagers forage for food that grows wild: millet, okra, berries and fruit. Fruit from baobab trees can be used to make porridge. Leaves are also collected but deaths sometimes occur as a result of eating poisonous plants.

Beer is brewed locally.

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