Reasons why you should volunteer in Malawi

Posted on the 21st August 2017

Written by: Becky from Lattitude HQ

My experience volunteering in Malawi changed my life. Not only did I gain so many new skills, but it also changed my career aspirations… and here I am working at Lattitude 4 years later! Malawi is such an incredible country and one that I think that everyone should get a chance to visit at least once in their life. But, “why Malawi?” I hear you ask. Let me tell you why…

The People

Malawi is known for its friendly, welcoming atmosphere Boys from Mountainview Deaf School playing football

Everyone always says that people are friendlier in countries other than your own. But this is no understatement in Malawi – the people are just SO nice!  You will walk down the road and every single person will say “Hello, Muli Bwanji?” (how are you?). It’s weird at first because we’re so used to walking around, glued to our phones, whilst trying to not make eye contact with anyone. But in Malawi it’s completely different. People actually want to stop and wish you a good day! It brings so much positive energy into every day and it helps you to make friends with the locals very quickly!

The Lake

Lake Malawi is one of the countries must-see points of interest

How can Malawi be a landlocked country when it has incredible beaches like this?! Lake Malawi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the ninth largest in the world and third largest in Africa! It is home to more species of fish than any other lake in the world, and provides a livelihood and food source for the population. There are plenty of good (and cheap!) lodges that run along the lakeshore that make for a picture-perfect weekend away from the villages.

It’s not spoilt!

Malawi features stunning beaches and coast line to visit as part of a voluntary trip

Despite having incredibly scenic destinations, Malawi isn’t full of tourists. In fact, the majority of the foreigners you’ll meet there are either NGO workers or volunteers. It’s a massive secret to the western world! Because of this, the beaches are quiet and unspoilt and you get a real feel for local life. Volunteering in a country where you don’t have constant access to wifi and electricity can be a struggle, but it means being able to take in your surroundings without a distraction!

The Wildlife

Malawi wildlifeSource: www.malawitourism.com

Whilst it may not have quite the sheer numbers of large mammals as its neighbours Tanzania and Mozambique, it makes up for this in other ways. Malawi provides intensive and exclusive wildlife viewing in unspoilt areas of genuine wilderness. Liwonde National Park in the south is due to become a “Big 5” destination in the future, but while mammals are being reintroduced, you can commonly spot Elephants, Hippos, Zebras and Monkeys!

Mount Mulanje

Mount Mulanje is a must for all travelling around MalawiThe view of Mount Mulanje taken from the town of Chitakale

A walker’s dream, the highest point Sapitwa Peak reaches 3002m with some smaller peaks reaching heights of over 2500m. If you’re going to walk up it, do hire a guide! They know all of the routes and will ensure you get up and down safely. If you’re not up for some physical exertion, enjoying the views of the massif from the tea plantations that surround the base of the mountain is definitely worthwhile!

If you’re thinking of volunteering overseas, but you’re not sure where, don’t rule out Malawi! There is SO MUCH to see and do! Lattitude offers both teaching and medical placements throughout the country, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference to rural communities.

Click here for more information about Lattitude’s Malawi placements!

Mount Mulanje Bonus photo of my guide, Mackenzie, looking towards Mount Mulanje from the tea plantations!

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