Lake Malawi (also known as Lago Niassa in Mozambique), is the southernmost lake in the East African Rift system, and is one of the Great Lakes of Africa. It is the eighth largest lake in the world and the second deepest lake in Africa, with a maximum depth of over 700 metres. Lake Malawi is home to more species of fish than any other body of freshwater on Earth, including more than 600 species of cichlids. Lake Malawi has been ranked by many to offer some of the most romantic lodges in the world with its palm fringed beaches, towering mountains and scenic fishing villages situated along the shoreline.
Where to Stay
Nkwichi Lodge is located in the north-western corner of Mozambique, on the eastern side of Lake Malawi, close to the islands of Likoma and Chizumulu. Nkwichi offers a choice of six individually designed chalets within the main lodge and two unique private houses set a short distance away. All chalets have thatched roofs with open plan bedrooms to catch the cool breezes from the lake. The main attraction of the Lodge is the beautiful white sand beaches and the breathtaking views of the lake, and the public areas of the Lodge are designed to take full advantage of this 600 metre long private stretch of beach.
More about Nkwichi Lodge here.
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Situated on the southern shores of Lake Malawi in an area known as Cape Maclear, Danforth Lodge offers superb lake side accommodation. Ideally situated overlooking many of the lakes southern islands, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful locations on Lake Malawi. Danforth operates as both a lodge and a yacht charter company, with the lodge providing accommodation in 8 en-suite bedrooms.
More about Danforth Lodge here.
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Things to Do
For the Colourful Mixtures
Lake Malawi is a haven for water sports and outdoor enthusiasts; the lake’s size, its warm freshwater and its beautiful surrounding beaches make it a Mecca for those seeking an all-year round location to swim, scuba dive, snorkel, water-ski, sail and kayak. Kayaking and sailing can range from an hour or so on the water to a full kayaking expedition or to living aboard a luxury yacht as it sails the length of the lake. For the adventurous, one can also make use of the local ferry, the Ilala. This is a functional ship used by the locals as well as tourists, as they offer passage and basic cabin accommodation to tourists.
For the Dive Adventurers
Lake Malawi is widely regarded as one of the best freshwater diving locations in the world. The clear, calm, warm, shark-free waters offer ideal conditions to explore the fascinating rock formations and the abundant fish populations (there are over 600 species of cichlids). Visibility can reach 30 metres at the best times of year (August to December). A 3mm wetsuit is recommended for the 22°C – 27°C waters.
Did you Know?
David Livingstone’s name for the lake was based on his colleague’s misunderstanding of African languages of the area. When Livingstone asked his staff members, who were not from the area of the lake, to state its name for him, they said the word “nyasa”, not realizing that this was the local word for any large body of water (such as a lake). In effect, “Lake Nyasa” literally means “Lake Lake”.