Malawi Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Malawi?

Overview:

Completely landlocked in southeast Africa, Malawi borders Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique. Malawi's southern tip lies 130 miles inland from the sea. Altitude varies from less than 200 feet above sea level at Nsanje in the south to almost 10,000 feet at the peak of Mount Mulanje. Malawi's topography consists of high, well-watered plateaus broken by large hills.

Malawi covers 46,066 square miles and is about the size of Pennsylvania. A deep depression, its chief physical feature, runs through the center and forms part of the Great Rift Valley. In this depression are Lake Malawi and the Shire Valley. Lake Malawi, about 1,500 feet above sea level and 380 miles long, is Africa's third largest lake and Malawi's major tourist attraction. In Malawi's north and central areas are the Nyika, Vipya, and Dedza uplands, rising from 5,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level. In the south, the Shire Highlands plateau averages 3,000-4,000 feet, with occasional peaks such as Zomba (7,000 feet) and Mulanje (10,000 feet).

Geography - note:

landlocked; Lake Nyasa, some 580 km long, is the country's most prominent physical feature; it contains more fish species than any other lake on earth

Climate:

Malawi has wet and dry seasons. The wet season is from November to April; the heaviest rainfall occurs between December and March. The dry season begins in May and lasts until November. It is hottest just before rains begin.


The capital, Lilongwe (altitude 3,400 feet) is in a high, central plateau area. The average daily temperature in Lilongwe during October is 84.6°F. June, July, and August are the coolest months, and nights can be quite chilly when temperatures drop to between 41°F and 57°F. Frost occasionally occurs in Lilongwe. During the dry season, particularly September and October, high winds and some dust occur. The annual mean temperature in Lilongwe is 67.4°F, and the annual rainfall is 31.9 inches. Nights are generally cool and pleasant in Lilongwe, even during the hottest weather. Dry season days are generally sunny and warm; rains during the wet season are brief. The Blantyre area is more mountainous, and its weather more humid. The climate is also more hot and humid around Lake Malawi.

Malawi Use of Natural Resources

Malawi Environment

Climate:

Malawi has wet and dry seasons. The wet season is from November to April; the heaviest rainfall occurs between December and March. The dry season begins in May and lasts until November. It is hottest just before rains begin.


The capital, Lilongwe (altitude 3,400 feet) is in a high, central plateau area. The average daily temperature in Lilongwe during October is 84.6°F. June, July, and August are the coolest months, and nights can be quite chilly when temperatures drop to between 41°F and 57°F. Frost occasionally occurs in Lilongwe. During the dry season, particularly September and October, high winds and some dust occur. The annual mean temperature in Lilongwe is 67.4°F, and the annual rainfall is 31.9 inches. Nights are generally cool and pleasant in Lilongwe, even during the hottest weather. Dry season days are generally sunny and warm; rains during the wet season are brief. The Blantyre area is more mountainous, and its weather more humid. The climate is also more hot and humid around Lake Malawi.

Terrain:

narrow elongated plateau with rolling plains, rounded hills, some mountains

Natural Resources:

limestone, arable land, hydropower, unexploited deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite

Natural Hazards:

NA

Irrigated Land:

284 Square Miles
735 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

deforestation; land degradation; water pollution from agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial wastes; siltation of spawning grounds endangers fish populations

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Malawi Geography

Geographic Location Africa
Total Area 45,747 Square Miles
118,484 Square Kilometers
Land Area 36,324 Square Miles
94,080 Square Kilometers
Water Area 9,422 Square Miles
24,404 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 1,790 Miles
2,881 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 284 Square Miles
735 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Mozambique 1,569 km, Tanzania 475 km, Zambia 837 km
Geographic Coordinates 13 30 S, 34 00 E
Terrain narrow elongated plateau with rolling plains, rounded hills, some mountains
Highest Point 3,002 Meters
Highest Point Location Sapitwa (Mount Mlanje) 3,002 m
Lowest Point 37 Meters
Lowest Point Location junction of the Shire River and international boundary with Mozambique 37 m
Natural Resources limestone, arable land, hydropower, unexploited deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite
Time Zone UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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