Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa that was formerly known as Nyasaland. It is bordered by Zambia to the northwest, Tanzania to the northeast, and Mozambique on the east, south and west. The country is separated from Tanzania and Mozambique by Lake Malawi. Malawi is over 118,000 km2 with an estimated population of 16,777,547 (July 2013 est.). Its capital is Lilongwe, which is also Malawi’s largest city; the second largest is Blantyre and the third is Mzuzu. The name Malawi comes from the Maravi, an old name of the Nyanja people that inhabit the area. The country is also nicknamed “The Warm Heart of Africa”.
Mount Kilimanjaro, with its three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira, is a dormant volcanic mountain in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world at 5,895 metres above sea level (the Uhuru Peak/Kibo Peak).
Mount Kilimanjaro is part of the Kilimanjaro National Park. The park is located near the city of Moshi. The park includes the whole of Mount Kilimanjaro above the tree line and the surrounding montane forest belt above 1,820 metres. It covers an area of 1,688 square kilometres. The park is administered by the Tanzania National Parks Authority. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Maasai (sometimes spelled “Masai”) are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people inhabiting southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. They are among the best known local populations due to their residence near the many game parks of Southeast Africa, and their distinctive customs and dress. The Maasai speak Maa (ɔl Maa), a member of the Nilo-Saharan language family that is related to Dinka and Nuer. They are also educated in the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania, Swahili and English. The Maasai population has been reported as numbering 841,622 in Kenya in the 2009 census, compared to 377,089 in the 1989 census.
The Tanzanian and Kenyan governments have instituted programs to encourage the Maasai to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, but the people have continued their age-old customs. Recently, Oxfam has claimed that the lifestyle of the Maasai should be embraced as a response to climate change because of their ability to farm in deserts and scrublands. Many Maasai tribes throughout Tanzania and Kenya welcome visits to their village to experience their culture, traditions, and lifestyle.
My first card from Côte d’Ivoire comes from Natalia. 🙂 It pictures a Senoufo craft.
Ivory Coast or Côte d’Ivoire, officially the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, is a country in West Africa. It borders Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Ghana; its southern boundary is along the Gulf of Guinea. Ivory Coast is a republic with a strong executive power invested in the President of Ivory Coast. Its de jure capital is Yamoussoukro and the biggest city is the port city of Abidjan. The official language is French, although many indigenous local languages are widely used, including Baoulé, Dioula, Dan, Anyin and Cebaara Senufo. The main religions are Islam, Christianity (primarily Roman Catholic) and various indigenous religions.
The algaita (also spelled alghaita, algayta or algheita) is a double reed wind instrument from West Africa, especially among the Hausa and Kanuri peoples. Its construction is similar to the oboe-like rhaita and the zurna. The algaita is distinguished from these other instruments by its larger, trumpet-like bell. Instead of keys, it has open holes for fingering, similar to the zurna.
Nigeria is often referred to as the “Giant of Africa”, due to its large population and economy. With approximately 174 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. The country is inhabited by over 500 ethnic groups, of which the three largest are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. Regarding religion, Nigeria is roughly divided in half between Christians, who live mostly in the southern and central parts of the country, and Muslims, concentrated mostly in the northern and southwestern regions. A minority of the population practice religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to Igbo and Yoruba peoples.
My first postcard from Malawi comes from Nabeelah. 🙂
Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa, or Lago Niassa in Mozambique) is an African Great Lake and the southernmost lake in the East African Rift system, located between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. The third largest and second deepest lake in Africa, it is also the ninth largest in the world. It is reportedly the habitat of more species of fish than any other body of freshwater, including more than 1000 species of cichlids, and was officially declared a reserve by the Government of Mozambique on June 10, 2011. Lake Malawi is a meromictic lake; permanent stratification and the oxic-anoxic boundary are maintained by moderately small chemical and thermal gradients.
My first postcard from Lesotho comes from Julius. 🙂 I just love that type of postcards – the ones that show something from the daily/real life in the country. 🙂
Lesotho, officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a landlocked country completely surrounded by South Africa. It is just over 30,000 km2 in size and has a population slightly over two million. Its capital and largest city is Maseru. Lesotho is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The name Lesotho translates roughly into the land of the people who speak Sotho. About 40% of the population lives below the international poverty line of US $1.25 a day.
My first card from Tanzania comes from Emmanuel. 🙂
Tanzania is a country in East Africa in the African Great Lakes region. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, is in northeastern Tanzania. The head of state is President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, elected in 2005. Since 1996, the official capital of Tanzania has been Dodoma, where the National Assembly and some government offices are located. Between independence and 1996, the main coastal city of Dar es Salaam served as the country’s political capital. It remains Tanzania’s principal commercial city and is the main location of most government institutions. It is also the principal port of the country.
Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged on 26 April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. On 29 October of the same year, the country was renamed United Republic of Tanzania (‘Tan’ comes from Tanganyika and ‘Zan’ from Zanzibar). The Articles of Union are the main foundation of Tanzania.
My first card from Réunion comes from Elena, who’s originally from Spain and just moved to this magical island! 😀
Réunion is a French island with a population of 840,974 inhabitants (as of January 2013) located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar, about 200 kilometres southwest of Mauritius, the nearest island.
Administratively, Réunion is one of the overseas departments of France. Like the other overseas departments, Réunion is also one of the 27 regions of France (being an overseas region) and an integral part of the Republic with the same status as those situated on the European mainland. Réunion is an outermost region of the European Union and, as an overseas department of France, is part of the Eurozone.
The island is 63 kilometres long; 45 kilometres wide; and covers 2,512 square kilometres. It is similar to the Island of Hawaiʻi as both are located above hotspots in the Earth’s crust.
The island has been designated by Unesco as a protected natural site.
My first card from Mozambique comes from Luis. 🙂 I absolutely love this card! As I wrote in my previous blog post – cards picturing aspects of real life are real jems! Instead of writing some random information about Mozambique, I’ll just quote what Luis has written on the back of the card: “Here you can see something common all along the Mozambican coast: fishmongers waiting for the day’s catch, fresh from the Indian Ocean. Notice that they’re dressed traditionally, with the head and lower body pieces.” A really great card! 🙂