Lake Malawi: Paradise for aquatic holiday in Africa

Africa | | December 9, 2010 at 3:21 am


Also known as Lake Nyasa, Lake Malawi refers to the Great Lake in the East Africa’s Great Rift Valley. Regarded as the third largest and second deepest in the nation and eighth largest on the planet, this lake is located in between Mozambique, Malawi, and Tanzania. Occupying more than 33% of the landlocked Malawi, this shimmering fresh water lake is just perfect for snorkeling, diving, and swimming to spot its rich marine life pulling an increasing amount of tourists every year. One of the most fascinating reasons as to why backpackers come here to snorkel is the fact that this lake is the home to the maximum fish species not to be seen in any water body on the planet. What is even more fascinating is the fact that you can spot the occasional Mbuna (rockfish) known for its odd behavior as well as unusual coloring. Further, its golden beaches, bountiful accommodations (budget and luxurious), and laid-back fishing villages have already put Lake Malawi on the tourist circuit.

On your this lake trip, you will find many calling the Lake Malawi as the ‘Calendar Lake’. Well, this is due to the fact that it is 52 (weeks) miles wide and 360 miles long. Nyasa is the term given by the people of the bordering Mozambique and Tanzania. The water of this lake is really not only pristine, but is also serene giving you a relaxed environment despite of the possible thrilling activities. Further, to add to its tranquil atmosphere, no ugly resort exists. All the forms of fun such as sailing, riding horses, and water skiing are quite affordable including the excitement of free natural scenes such as the spectacular sunsets.

For the tourists, the southern and northern shores of Lake Malawi are the hot spots. The former is the venue of campsites, hotels, settlement, and historical sites; while the latter is yet to be explored with sheer embankments making the Rift Valley’s walls majestic.

At the southern shore, the major attractions are the Senga Bay with beaches and sometimes rough lake water, the Mangochi zone holding many bigger lodges, ideal beaches, and calm waters of the lake, Cape Maclear as the best hangout for the backpackers for diving and snorkeling off the Mumbo Island and at Otters Point, Monkey Bay with a good beach, and Nkudzi Bay as well as Namaso Bay for renting a house.

The northern shore of the Lake Malawi is comparatively not much developed and is also less inhabited. However, it is an ideal spot during the summer and chillier during the rains. This is where you can explore the culture and history in the Livingstonia and Karonga towns. For stay, choose from Nkhotakota, Dwangwa, Nkhata Bay (Chikale Beach), Chintheche, and Kande Beach.

While you are around the Lake Malawi, take an opportunity to be at the Likoma Island in the Mozambique waters, which offers many highlights. Reaching here is just fun via the boat or the MV Ilala cruise. Check out for the big cathedral, many pretty beaches, and eco-friendly resorts on this peaceful destination. Walk or kayak; the option is yours to explore the island.

Besides scuba diving at the Domwe as well as Mumbo islands and snorkeling on Lake Malawi, do also take up kayaking, cruising on the MV Ilala, sailing Safaris on the Mufasa yacht, and a boat trip (dhow) from Likoma to Chizimula. For a diving certification, this lake is the most economical destination on the planet mostly because of the clear water and absence of currents.

  • Seasons:
    April to November that is the dry season
  • Wildlife:
    450 tropical fish and great amount of bird species such as kingfisher, jacana, fish eagle, heron, white-breasted cormorant, and egret.


Marijuana is prohibited here although it is served. Also, malaria is widespread here and so carry insect repellent and full sleeved clothes.

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