* “Lake Malawi National Park is listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site due to its unique species”
* “Mulanje Mountain is another attraction in the small central African state that visitors can explore”
By Duncan Mlanjira
South African Airways (SAA) has resumed its flights to Malawi, flying to both Blantyre and Lilongwe from Johannesburg — at the breath markets The Warm Heart of Africa’s tourism attractions.
A report by www.getaway.co.za posted on Wednesday March 15 says the airline will operate a triangular schedule, flying from Johannesburg to Blantyre, Lilongwe, and back to Johannesburg.
In marketing Malawi, the report said: “Blantyre is the country’s second-largest city and commercial capital. At the same time, Lilongwe is the political capital and is closer to Lake Malawi, the country’s biggest tourist attraction and covers a fifth of the country.
“Leisure activities at the lake include boating, snorkelling, diving, kayaking, and many other water activities. Lake Malawi National Park is listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site due to its unique species.
“Mulanje Mountain is another attraction in the small central African state that visitors can explore. It is a large massif in southern Malawi, 3,000m high, formed by magma intrusion into the Earth’s crust 130 million years ago.
“The first European to report the massif was David Livingstone in 1859, but archaeological investigations reveal the presence of humans on the mountain in prehistoric times. For rock-climbing enthusiasts, Mulanje has the longest rock climb in Africa on the western face.
“Malawi has several national parks, the most famous being Nyika National Park, Kasungu National Park, and Liwonde National Park. Visitors can enjoy these parks’ game drives, bird watching, and other wildlife activities.”
The report further says SAA offers special opening airfares on these new flights until March 31, 2023 for travel between March 16 and May 31, 2023.
From March 16, the winter schedule will be in effect, and flight SA172 will depart Johannesburg at 09h55 on Thursdays and Sundays, arriving in Blantyre at 12h15.
The flight will depart Blantyre at 13h05 and arrive in Lilongwe at 13h55. It will depart Lilongwe at 14h50 and arrive in Johannesburg at 17h30.
From March 31 until the end of October 2023, the summer schedule will be in effect, and SA172 will depart Johannesburg at 10h10 and arrive in Blantyre at 12h30.
It will then depart Blantyre at 13h20 and arrive in Lilongwe at 14h10. The flight will depart Lilongwe at 15h00 and arrive in Johannesburg at 17h40.
When announcing the resumption of the Malawi flight, aviationsourcenews.com reported that it was after a series of negotiations between South African Airways CEO, John Lamola and Malawi High Commissioner, Stella Ndau in Pretoria.
This follows South African Airways restructuring of its business and also championing African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA) within Southern Africa.
It quoted Her Excellency Ndau as saying Malawi will benefit hugely from the opening of the route, as this will contribute to the tourism and transport sectors.
She further said Malawi is one of the most value-for-money holiday destinations in Southern Africa, and will aid Lilongwe in terms of economic recovery.
The report said South African airline previously ceased the triangular route during the time of travel bans leaving travellers with two choices — Malawian Airlines or Ethiopian Airlines.
The report said the resumption of the South African Airways service will give more options to travellers, with the hopes of bringing down airfares — adding that both the carrier and Malawi are expecting positive feedback for the route.