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Malawi Geography - 2024


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


Southern Africa, east of Zambia, west and north of Mozambique

Geographic coordinates

13 30 S, 34 00 E

Map references



total: 118,484 sq km

land: 94,080 sq km

water: 24,404 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Pennsylvania

Area comparison map:

Land boundaries

total: 2,857 km

border countries (3): Mozambique 1,498 km; Tanzania 512 km; Zambia 847 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


sub-tropical; rainy season (November to May); dry season (May to November)


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


highest point: Sapitwa (Mount Mlanje) 3,002 m

lowest point: junction of the Shire River and international boundary with Mozambique 37 m

mean elevation: 779 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 59.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 38.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.4% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 19.6% (2018 est.)

forest: 34% (2018 est.)

other: 6.8% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

740 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

fresh water lake(s): Lake Malawi (shared with Mozambique and Tanzania) - 22,490

salt water lake(s): Lake Chilwa - 1,040 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Zambezi (shared with Zambia [s], Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Tanzania, and Mozambique [m]) - 2,740 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Congo (3,730,881 sq km)
Indian Ocean drainage: Zambezi (1,332,412 sq km)

Population distribution

population density is highest south of Lake Nyasa as shown in this

Natural hazards

flooding; droughts; earthquakes

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

NOTE: The information regarding Malawi on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Malawi 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Malawi 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.