Fondly known as the “Warm Heart of Africa,” in the native language, Malawi locals exude friendliness. It’s common for strangers to wave and greet visitors as if they know them.
And it’s easy to make them smile with a “moni” (pronounced mo-nee, not money), which means hello in Chichewa, the local language, and “Zikomo” (thank you).
Curious kids often come by to say hi and see what you’re up to. The refrain I heard repeatedly was, “Welcome. You are welcome.”
Although overt friendliness often arouses suspicion in the world traveler, especially when someone’s trying to sell you stuff you don’t want, there’s hardly any hawking or selling of tacky souvenirs in Malawi — the people are genuinely friendly.
Founded in 1964, Malawi has never had a civil war.