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.
According to 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 in Mozambique.
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.