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'The Land of the Lake', 'The Warm Heart of Africa', 'Africa for Beginners'¿Malawi certainly attracts its share of snappy phrases, and these three sum up much of what makes this small African country so well liked by all who visit it. Few countries are so dominated by a single geographical features as the Land of the Lake. Lake Malawi follows the dramatic contours of the Great Rift Valley for a distance of 585km; it is up to 100km wide in parts, and it covers more than 15% of Malawi's surface area. Enclosed by sheer mountains and edged by seemingly endless palm-fringed sandy beaches, Lake Malawi is the most beautiful of Africa's great lakes, and the indisputable focal point of Malawi's tourist industry.
There is much truth in the phrase 'The Warm Heart of Africa'. Not only do the climate and lush vegetation of the lakeshore conform effortlessly to every stereotype image of tropical Africa, but the people of Malawi exude a warmth and friendliness that make most visitors feel instantly at home. Malawi may well be the most laid-back nation on earth.
And 'Africa for Beginners'? Well, certainly, Malawi would lie near the top of any list of African countries I'd recommend to a nervous novice traveller.