The tiny nation of Malawi is part of the sub-Sahara of Africa, and is a landlocked country located in the southeastern part of the continent. It is bordered in the north and east by Tanzania, to the east, south and southwest by Mozambique, and to the west by the nation of Zambia. Composed of 45,747 square miles, the country is about the size of the state of Pennsylvania or the European nation of Portugal.
Malawi lies within the Great African Rift Valley system. On the east side of the country is Lake Malawi, the twelfth largest freshwater lake in the world. The lake is 360 miles or 576 km long and about 1,500 ft above sea level. It is the principal tourist attraction in the country and is set among rolling hills covered in tropical palm-lined beaches, which are positioned primarily south of majestic mountains.
Much of the land surface of Malawi is a large plateau that is between 3,000 to 4,000 feet above sea level. Elevations rise over 8,000 feet in the Nyika Plateau in the north. In the regions of Mt. Mulanje elevation is about 10,000 feet, and at Mt. Zomba 7,000 feet. The Shire highlands in the south are the lowest area in the country with elevations extending from 2,000 to 3,000 feet.
In the north are rugged highlands that contain rolling hills in the Nyika and Vwanza plateaus, while in the southern part of the country the landscape forms part of the Great African Rift Valley.