Malkangiri District is named after its headquarters town, Malkangiri. During formation of Odisha Province in 1936, Malkangiri was a ‘Taluk’ of Nabrangpur sub–division of Koraput District of Odisha. In 1962 it was upgraded to a subdivision of Koraput District. The present Malkangiri got its identity as an independent district due to reorganization of districts of Odisha as per a notification on 1st October, 1992 and with effect from 2nd October 1992. Almost the whole of the district is a vast dense jungle, with a very small percentage of the population residing in the urban areas. The district is divided into two distinct physical divisions. The eastern part is covered with steep ghats, platues and valleys, sparsely inhabited by primitive tribes, notable among who are Bondas, Koyas, Porajas and Didayis.
The climate in the district is generally cold during winter and hot in summer with temperature ranging from 13 degree C to 47 degree C. The average annual rainfall is about 1700 mm. Relative humidity is generally high, especially in the monsoon and post–monsoon months. During the rainy season, most areas of the District become impassably swampy and heavy floods isolate it from the outer world. This district lies within the malaria prone belt.