Natural Heritage

Natural Heritage consists of services that encompass the management, description and interpretation of natural, botanical, and zoological sites, which are of outstanding universal value with historic, aesthetic, scientific, environmental, or social significance. The Natural Heritage sub-domain includes nature parks and reserves, zoos, aquaria and botanical gardens such as Lake Malawi national Park

Lake Malawi-Rift Valley Biodiversity landscape

Lake Malawi National Park was designated in 1984 by UNESCO as a natural heritage site in recognition of its more than 500 endemic species of cichlids fish which are more than those found in America and Europe combined and its biodiversity.

The potential threat to the site and I ts biodiversity of the oil exploration was a concern to UNESCO which started engaging the Government of Malawi to map the way forward to ensure the continued protection of the fish species which evolve over millions of years and oil spillage has the potential of halting this evolution and wiping the fish completely. This would be a tremendous loss not only to Malawi but to humanity as a whole since the park’s designation as a world heritage site means the world at large has a stake in it and must be concerned with its preservation and protection for posterity. Contact: Department of Parks and Wildlife, Mobile: ……..E-mail:


Khulubvi/Dzalanyama Mountain Range (For more details contact: Mrs. Chrissy Chiumia, Monuments Division. Mobile: +265   E-mail: or Mr. Simfukwe, Karonga Museum. Mobile: +265 (0)888861014. E-mail: )


Mount Mulanje Conservation Area (For more details contact

Apart from the natural endemism of the cider trees, the abundance of water and the beauty of the massif and the surrounding landscape, Mount Mulanje has, since time immemorial, been a significant source of healing. There is a strong belief among the area’s traditional healers that the spirits of the mountain handed over the gift of knowledge of healing plants to ancestors, a knowledge that has been handed over from generation to generation and which, still exists now.

Some of the plants are used for healing diseases while others for protection against danger (accidents, wild animals, enemies).

For more details contact: Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust
P.O. Box 139, Mulanje, Malawi. Tel: 265 1 466282/179. E-mail:



Vwaza Marsh

The history of Vwaza requires remembering in all its complexity as a natural heritage site in accordance with the Operational Guidelines for the implementation of the World Cultural Heritage Convention (UNESCO 2003) Article 2 that defines criteria for Natural Heritage sites. Vwaza Marsh Natural features consist of physical and biological formations or groups of such formations, which are of outstanding universal value from the aesthetic or scientific point of view, geologically and physiographical formations constitute the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants of outstanding universal value from the point of science and conservation. Its natural sites are unique areas of outstanding universal value from the point of science, conservation and natural beauty.

Vwaza was once a home to thousands of people from the Early Iron Age who practiced subsistence agriculture, iron smelting works, hunting in the last twenty century and can be considered as an ‘aesthetic quality’ because no one lives there anymore. A site at Phopo Hill was excavated and revealed pottery, iron slags, tuyere fragments and bone fragments which contain elements which are not unlike the Gokomere pottery of Zimbabwe and southern Zambia. indicated human occupation during the third century A.D (McShane 1985  quoting Robson, 1972).


Nyika National Park


Lake Chilwa Watershed

Lake Chilwa is very rich in birdlife hence, was proclaimed a Ramsar Site in 1997 (with a registered area of 224,800Ha) – the only Ramsar Site in MW. Lake Chilwa is an outstandingly rich in plants among the wetlands in Africa (for its very large area of Typha swamp – 640 to 700km² which is the basis for productivity of the lake. Lake Chilwa is an inland lake which is very shallow (4-5m depth) characterised by a rich plant biodiversity in swamps, marshes and grassland. Lake Chilwa is an “entirely” natural wetland and of outstanding example of a lake in a closed basin that is subject to large fluctuations water levels and salinity. Occurrences of sand bar formed 8,000yrs ago due to prolonged drought and drying of the lake exposing the alluvial sand on the lake bed to prevailing strong south-east winds – mwera (75m high and 25km long separating Lake Chilwa and Lake Chiuta and cuts off Lake Chilwa’s outlets thereby creating a closed system). About 164 species of birds recorded of which 43 are paleartic for which Lake Chilwa is an important wintering sites (Dec – April). BirdLife International have identified L. Chilwa as an important area for congregations of water-birds;