Terrain shapes and bedrock
The long and narrow Malawi lake, whose surface is 474
meters above sea level, forms most of the country's border
to the east.
COUNTRYAAH, the rest of Malawi has a topography that varies greatly,
is quite high and is mountainous. The country is part of the
East African Rift system.
Along the western side of the lake there is a narrow
coastal plain, where swamps and lagoons are abundant. From
the southern tip of the Malawi Lake, the Shire valley
continues in a deep depression to the south, and the river
Shire, which forms a drain for the lake, falls into Zambezi
West from Lake Malawi, the plateaus of the central region
rise with an altitude of 750-100 m above sea level. Higher,
isolated mountain areas are found in the north with the
Viphya and Nyika plateaus, the latter up to 2,606 m above
sea level, and partly in the southwest where the
Dedza-Kirkberger rises. To the south, the isolated massif of
Mulanje Malawi's highest point, Sapitwa, is 3,000 meters
above sea level.
The bedrock consists mostly of rocks, and the soil is
mainly red, lateritic soil, but also brown soil, black clay
soil, sand and river deposits.
Due to the height of the country, warm temperate climate
dominates. In the lower areas, the average temperature for
July is 21 °C and for October 29 °C. At 1,000–2,000 meters
above sea level. are corresponding temperatures 14 and 20 °C, respectively. During May – October there is dry time and
during November – April rainy season. The amount of
precipitation in the highlands amounts to 2,300 mm/year,
while the lower areas receive 600–900 mm/year. Frost
occurs in July on the Mulaney massif and other high peaks.
In the lowlands around Lake Malawi and in the plains
lower than 600 m above sea level. dominates savannah forest
with, among other things, various acacias, an Adansoʹnia
species and Terminaʹlia seriʹcea with undergrowth
of tall grasses. In the mountain areas below 1,500 m above
sea level. and on the surrounding mountain plateau there are
dry forests with different Brachysteʹgia species as
well as mountain rain forests. Piptadeʹnia buchanaʹnii.
On the high mountains, more than 1,500 meters above sea
level, evergreen mountain rainforests are spreading with,
among other things. Ekebe'rgia, Rapane'a,
Chrysophy'llum, Cusso'nia and
Podoca'rpus. In the mountain rain forest is also the
tall mulberry cedar (Widdringtoʹnia whyʹtei), whose
wood is not attacked by termites.
Along the rivers, the natural vegetation has usually been
allowed to give way to crops, but in undisturbed areas on
more humid land you will find, among other things.
Syzyʹgium cordaʹtum and the oil palm Elaeis
[elɛ: ʹis] guineaeʹnsis.
As the land is intensively utilized, wildlife is largely
restricted to wildlife reserves. In the deciduous forests
there are among other things. bush pigs, rocker and larger
kudu (Trageʹlaphus strepsiʹceros). On the savannas
are small herds of common zebra, elephant and various
antelope species. Savannah baboon (Paʹpio
cynoceʹphalus) and green markata are the most common
monkeys, and of larger predators small populations of
spotted hyena, lion, cheetah and leopard are found. Ground
pigs are relatively common.
The bird life is quite rich with about 630 species, among
other things. many species of birds of prey, sunbirds and
weavers. In Malawi, there are 400 to 500 species of
cichlids, all but two of which are endemic; their diversity
is likely due to the lake's long isolation and the absence
of larger predatory fish. Hippos also occur in the lake.
There were five national parks in 2010, among them part
of southern Malawi Lake, Nyika in the north with open
savannah with lots of ungulates, lions and rich bird life
and Kasungu in the west with open forest with elephant,
antelope and leopard. There are also four game reserves.