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Lake Malawi

Idyllic waters

The jewel in Malawi’s tourism crown is indisputably Lake Malawi. The huge expanse of clear, blue water and golden sands is a breathtaking site, attracting many tourists each year. This freshwater lake boasts a World Heritage Site in Lake Malawi National Park and is home to rare species of Malawi’s brightly coloured cichlids and exceptional aquatic wildlife.

Lake Malawi is located between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. With a width of 75 km, a length of about 600 km and a depth of 700 metres in the north, the lake is the third-largest in Africa and one of the most intriguing tourism hot spots in southern Africa. Less than two hours from Lilongwe, tourists will find themselves in an unspoilt paradise surrounded by nature and beautiful views.

Lake Malawi combines a classic beach holiday experience with adventure, sport and wildlife.The quiet beaches are ideal for relaxing, while water sports activities keep everyone entertained.

Beach - Lake Malawi

Another fond nickname for the lake is ‘Lake of Stars’, stemming from the many lanterns set adrift by local fisherman as they set out each evening, which from a distance look like stars. The Lake of Stars Festival is an annual three-day music event held in October on the shores of Lake Malawi. The festival was started in 2004 and attracts thousands of attendees and international musical acts.


The shores of Lake Malawi are dotted with a variety of accommodation. From backpacking self-catering options to secluded lodges and luxury resorts, the area has something for every type of traveller. Most accommodation can be found in the lakeshores areas of Mangochi, Monkey Bay, Salima, Cape Maclear, Nkhatabay and Karonga.

Mumbo and Domwe Islands offer idyllic getaways while Blue Zebra Island Lodge tucked away on Nankoma Island, a Part of the Maleri Islands archipelago; the Norman Carr cottage and Pumulani Lodge offer some of the best upmarket options. other Purse friendly options exist across the entire stretch of the lakeshore.


Lake Malawi National Park is the first freshwater national park in the world. Located at Cape Maclear, the park comprises the land surrounding the bay, the lake and the Marelli Islands up to 100 metres offshore. The national park was declared a World Heritage Site in 1984 and is the only park in Malawi to be created for the conservation of fish and aquatic life. The abundance of tropical fish species makes this area a much-sought-after aquarium.

Away from the water, the national park has a variety of animals, including baboons, antelope and hyrax, and a bird population that includes fish eagles, cormorants and hamerkops. A walk through the national park to the rocks at Otter Point is recommended. In addition to the splendid view, visitors can feed the fish from the rocks directly from the hand.


For adventure seekers, a number of activities are available at Lake Malawi. One of the most popular is kayaking, which offers a great way to explore the coves and coastal wildlife up close. This eco-friendly activity allows you to watch fish, birds and otters in their natural habitat or circle the islands at leisure.

Boat trips are another great way of discovering what Lake Malawi has to offer. Enjoy a spot of fishing, experience the pleasure of cruising across the calm waters, or watch the sunset over the Nkhotakota hills in the distance with a sundowner. The highlight of the sailing calendar is the Lake Malawi Sailing Marathon, an international 560 km race held every July over eight days. Visitors can also go water skiing and sailboarding.



Lake Malawi contains the largest number of fish species of any lake in Africa, making the area extremely popular among scuba divers and snorkellers. There are several diving spots located around the island, so why not delve below the surface and experience the extraordinary and seldom seen side of this ancient lake? From beginners to professional divers, Lake Malawi can cater for everyone. A number of units have their own dive instructor and equipment, perfect for getting in some practice before heading out into the waters.

With clear waters that allow up to 30 metres of visibility, snorkellers can see Lake Malawi’s extensive fish population just metres from the shore. Snorkelling is best in the protected area of Lake Malawi National Park, safe from poaching and with a real focus on conservation.