The Nation of July 20 2017 carried a fascinating article in which CNN, the world’s major cable network, had listed Malawi among the 26 most amazing places to visit in Africa.
CNN specifically mentioned three places in Malawi, namely Nyika National Park, Mulanje Mountain and Lake Malawi. On Mount Mulanje, for example, CNN mentioned the giant basins of rock, the large number of butterflies, and the “carpet of enchanting wild flowers after the rain”.
A few weeks ago, President Arthur Peter Mutharika launched the construction works of Phalombe District Hospital. I was amazed at the location. The hospital is to nestle right at the foot of Mount Mulanje. I would not imagine any better environment for healing.
And when you are driving to Mulanje from Blantyre, the beauty starts right in Bangwe Township, where the road passes through a number of hills, including Mpingwe and Maravi. Driving further, one is fascinated by the many hills around Mikolongwe, which, in the dry season, look like the hills of Palestine. And to the right, there is the gorgeous view of the Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must).
And talk of Blantyre; it is like Rome, surrounded by seven hills. I marvel at the Soche Hill, the Ndirande, and the Michiru, and the interspersed highlands and lowlands that typify the topography of the city.
I have often enjoyed the sight of glorious sunsets over the Michiru Hill, as viewed from the top of Manja location, on the way to the Blantyre Teachers Training College. Viewed from there at night, the city looks like a great basin, much the same way the Zomba City appears from Kuchawe Inn.
From time to time, on a late Sunday afternoon, I would take a drive down the Chikwawa Road. I almost lose my breath at the beauty of the sights far and beyond, as I make my way down the meandering road in the final fleeting seconds of sunset.
Whenever I am driving to Lilongwe, I love the sights on the way, particularly the rolling hills of Dedza, and the many hills at Chimbiya which come together to make an assembly.
Driving further to the Northern Region, I love the great rocks in the Chikangawa, chief of which is the Elephant Rock. I often go there around February so I can buy mushrooms picked from the bush.
At the Mzimba-Mzuzu junction, as I stop to do the buying, my mouth remains agape as I see nothing but a sea of beautiful natural trees. About 20 kilometres before getting to Mzuzu, I wonder at the settlements in the deep valleys of Mzimba, over which can be seen wondrous hills in the border with Zambia.
And if you are to drive to the north via the Lakeshore Road, beauty is everywhere. It starts with the hills on the left just after getting into the Salima Road, which tail off at the Salima Boma. Then, as you get near Nkhotakota, your eye is greeted by the stunning blue waters of the lake on the right. You cross the Dwambadzi River and begin to cut the highlands of Nkhata Bay, with the lake still moving with you in parallel, it is like you should never return.
Whenever I am returning from Mangochi after enjoying the cool breeze from the lake, I love it when I am cutting through the richly covered green hills of Machinga, below which nestles the Machinga Teachers Training College. Oh, what a choice of place for an institution of learning!
The point is this. Malawi is a beautiful country, and no single article can exhaust its beauty. CNN is right to draw tourists’ attention to this part of Africa. I know that the national budget has a K50 billion allocation for the development of tourism in 2017/18. That is the way to go. Putting aside political bickering, let us all support the implementation of the plans. It is good for our country. It is good for all of us.
All that said, however, CNN, in my view, failed on one score. They should have mentioned the Kirk Range, on which stands a hundred little hills, and where the Dzobwe and the Thambani hills protrude to touch the sky. n