Fast Facts

Lilongwe; 587,000
118,484 square kilometers (45,747 square miles)
English, Chichewa
Protestant, Roman Catholic, Muslim
Malawian kwacha
Life Expectancy:
GDP per Capita:
U.S. $600
Literacy Percent:
Flag: Malawi
Map: Malawi

Malawi lies landlocked in southeast Africa, with Lake Malawi taking up about a fifth of the landscape. Independent from Britain since 1964, it endured the one-party rule of President for Life Hastings Kamuzu Banda for more than 25 years. Democratic elections in 1994 ushered in new leadership of this country, nearly self-sufficient in food. Transportation costs for exports skyrocketed as a result of civil war in next-door Mozambique, which disrupted rail links to the sea. Since the 1992 peace accord in Mozambique, rail links have been reestablished, and Malawi is slowly recovering.


  • Industry: Tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products
  • Agriculture: Tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea; groundnuts; cattle
  • Exports: Tobacco, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee

—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition

Related Features

  • Picture of a teenage boy seated on a traditional dugout canoe, Lake Malawi

    Best Trips 2013

    From Malawi to Quito, Raja Ampat to Memphis, 20 wildly diverse places make our wanderlust list for the new year.


  • Photo: Action shot of two soccer players

    Soccer Photo Puzzles

    Play Online.

  • 7195.jpg

    Unseen Sahara

    Take a rare aerial look at Libya's remote Fezzan region, where ancient societies thrived and collapsed as the rains came and went.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

  • Picture of a volcano on Reunion Island

    Who Will Win?

    Browse photos of nature, cities, and people and share your favorite photos.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Get Social With Nat Geo Travel