Malawi's defining feature and most famous attraction, vast Lake Malawi is a huge freshwater lake measuring approximately 587km long and 83km wide. Easily mistaken as an inland sea, the illusion is fostered by an extraordinary depth of 700m and golden beaches of inviting sand.
A haven for water sports enthusiasts, the lake can be explored with snorkelling, sailing, kayaking and water skiing. However, the remarkably clear waters particularly lend themselves to scuba diving, which is not only an exciting activity to enjoy but a great way to uncover the lake's incredible biodiversity.
Holding one of the highest concentrations of fish in any lake in the world, the endemic Lake Malawi cichlids are most noteworthy: their brightly coloured scales providing a vibrant display. The lake's impressive fish population has been a long-time provider for Malawi's economy, with fishing villages scattered along the shorelines.
However, the shores are hardly dominated by the fishing industry and there are plenty of uninhabited beaches to steal a quiet moment. Reminiscent of an Indian Ocean Island escape, beach holidays to Lake Malawi are a surreal experience; with the surrounding natural beauty extremely convincing that this is anything but a lakeside holiday in a landlocked country. Accommodation such as Mumbo Island Camp and Kaya Mawa cleverly take advantage of such an envious setting, both embracing a castaway feel and both found on tropical islands on the lake.
The southern end of Lake Malawi is a dedicated World Heritage Site and National Park. Strongly rooted in conservation, the park is an excellent place to see cichlids as well as a magnificent array of mammals and birdlife.
Our favourite itineraries, showcasing the best of Lake Malawi
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