Review of Malawi tourism in 2022

Best in Travel 2022

2022 has generally been a good year for Malawi tourism with a few setbacks. A summary of developments in tourism, travel, arts and culture.

Early in the year, Malawi was ranked “Best in Travel 2022” by Lonely Planet. No better way to kick off the new year!

Tourism development master plan launch

In April the Ministry of Tourism, with support from the Africa Development Bank, developed a 20-year Malawi Tourism Development Master Plan. The plan identifies 103 tourism and infrastructure projects, the implementation of which will lead to the promotion and growth of the tourism sector in Malawi. This will in turn result in economic growth and job creation. President Lazarus Chakwera officially launched the master plan.

Salima resort in the tourism development master plan

Showcasing Malawi

The Department of Tourism attended a number of tourism meetings and shows. These included the Meetings Africa 2022 and the Travel Indaba in South Africa and World Travel Market London.

Wildlife translocation

In June, Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife, African Parks and the International Fund for Animal Welfare translocated 250 elephants and other wildlife 350km north from Liwonde National Park to Kasungu National Park. The other wildlife included buffaloes, warthogs and antelopes.

Unfortunately, two bull elephants later escaped from the park and killed two community members and injured one other in separate incidents.

Cultural festivals

It was traditional festivals galore. Umhlangano wa Maseko Ngoni held their annual cultural festival at Nkolimbo village in Ntcheu district while the M’mbelwa Kingdom held their Umthetho cultural festival at the foot of Hora Mountain. The Chamare festival celebrated the unity of religion and culture at Mua Mission in Dedza.

The Chiwanja Cha Ayao cultural festival was held in Mangochi while the Mulakho wa Alhomwe festival was held in Thyolo.

During the Gonapamuhanya cultural festival held in Rumphi, President Lazarus Chakwera said all cultural festivals from 2023 will be held on National Day of Unity.

Images source: Malawi Tourism

Ministry launches strategic documents

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife launched the National Tourism Policy, National Ecotourism Strategy and the Ecotourism and Protected Area Management Investment Strategy on World Tourism Day in September. These strategic documents are aimed at providing a framework, guiding and directing strategic vision for developing the tourism sector that reinforces sustainable contribution to the socio-economic development of Malawi for the next five years.

Goshen City

During the course of the year, we got to learn more about Goshen City, a touristic city being built in Monkey Bay, Mangochi. The first phase of the project will include residential housing units, a five-star hotel and a 5 000 seat convention centre. Future developments include a hospital, a school and a sports stadium among others.

The sponsor of the project, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri, has met various stakeholders including members of the parliamentary Tourism, Trade and Industry Committee to sell his vision of the city. The project sealed agreements with various companies and institutions.

Images source: Goshen City

Rock climbing in Malawi

In November, Climb Malawi got featured in the New York Times in an article that explores if rock climbing is the future of tourism in Malawi. Climb Malawi is a socio-economically inclusive climbing community located in Lilongwe

Liwonde National Park

Liwonde National Park has had mixed fortunes in the past year. African Parks Network, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and GIZ Malawi worked to reconstruct a new tourist area at the park’s western gate. The reception area includes a space for local artisans, including a group of women who make recycled paper from elephant dung,  to sell their crafts.

Information service opportunities in Malawi

GIZ has also partnered with Central African Wilderness Safaris through a Public-Private Partnership to erect two solar-powered irrigation schemes for communities that no longer have access to the Shire River.

Earlier this year, Liwonde national park lost one of its rangers Given Gondwe. He was killed by a mob while arresting suspected rhino horn poachers. Later in the year, another ranger from the same park was attacked by poachers during a routine patrol and sustained a deep cut on his hand.

In November, a suspected water poisoning at a waterhole in the same park killed 18 African wild dogs. Some of the killed dogs were among the 14 African wild dogs that were translocated from South Africa and Mozambique to the park in July 2021 in an effort to reintroduce the endangered species to Malawi.

Statistics indicate that the park is losing four wild animals every month to poaching.

New environmental education centre

Recently the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust launched a new Environmental Education Centre in Lilongwe.

Visa waiver for priority source countries

Tourism Minister Micheal Usi announced that effective 1st January 2023, visa fees have been waived for tourists from selected priority markets. The include the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Belgium, Italy, France, Poland, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, China, Russia and Canada.

National Arts installation project

Art Malawi in partnership with GIZ Malawi is embarking on a National Arts Installation Project that will involve art installations in six sites across the country. The sites of the installations include Mulanja, Michiri Mountain and Lilongwe among others.

Image source: Manota Mphande

Daily shuttles to Likoma island

The Likoma Express is set to launch shuttles from Nkhata Bay to Likoma and Chizumulu Islands in the new year. The 20-seater boat is scheduled to operate daily from  January 2023.

Image source: Visit Likoma Island

Likoma Express to shuttle passengers from Nkhata Bay to Likoma and Chizumulu islands

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