Malawi is an east African nation that shares borders with Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, with a long shoreline on Lake Malawi. The dominant feature of the landscape, apart from the lake, is the Great Rift Valley, which runs through the center of the country. Bantu peoples settled the region in the 900s, and the British colonized it in the 1800s, during which time it was known as Nyasaland; after forming a federation with Rhodesia in the mid-1900s, Malawi finally gained its independence in 1964. For the next thirty years the government was run by a single president, but free elections were held in 1994 and a new, democratic constitution drafted in the following year. Malawi nevertheless remains one of the least developed and most impoverished African countries, and suffers from repressive police and security forces.
Not surprisingly, golf is not a major pastime here, though there are in fact a few places to play around the country, including more than a dozen 9-hole layouts. The best of these is probably Peter Matkovich's design for Mbawa Country Club, which lives up to the standards this acclaimed architect has created around the world. There is also one full-sized layout in Malawi, located in the center of the capital city. Lilongwe Golf Club is a semi-private facility that first opened in 1930, during the colonial period that features lovely fairways and a recent irrigation system that now makes play possible in every season. This course is where the Malawi Open is played, which brings in top professionals from all over.