Lake Malawi is Africa's 3rd largest lake and owes its existence to the Great Rift Valley. Lake Malawi offers secluded, sandy bays, remote islands, beautiful white beaches combined with the crystal clear waters. Lake Malawi is 600km in length, running along the eastern border of the country. A visit offers superb conditions for water sports and water activities, including scuba diving and snorkelling.
Lake Malawi is renowned for its incredible diversity of fish and contains more than any other lake on the planet. It has therefore been named a World Heritage Site. Lake Malawi National Park, situated at the southern end of the lake, is the first in the world set aside for the protection of freshwater fish.
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.
The jewel in the crown of Malawi's tourist attractions is Lake Malawi, said to have been discovered by the missionary-explorer, Dr David Livingstone, over 150 years ago. It is now a World Heritage Site protecting a plethora of endemic freshwater fish.
The northern section of this 650km-long lake is extraordinarily deep at about 700 m, plunging well below sea level. This is a mind-boggling reflection of the enormity of the natural faulting of the Great Rift Valley, which is the origin of the Lake.
Lake Malawi is a top destination in the world for water activities, such as kayaking, sailing, snorkelling, scuba diving and water-skiing, which are all offered at various lodges dotted along the shores of this freshwater paradise.
About one quarter of Lake Malawi belongs to neighbouring Mozambique (where it is called Lake Nyasa). This portion of the lake includes the only two inhabited islets on the lake: Chizumulu and Likoma.
Lake Malawi is a haven for water sports and outdoor enthusiasts. Most lodges offer walking and biking around the island, offering the ideal opportunity to get to know the friendly local people and explore the lively markets.
Island picnics are popular and most lodges will pack a picnic lunch for guests. Water activities include swimming and snorkelling and some lodges have their own NAUI accredited instructors, which will take guests through the steps of scuba diving. Other activities include water-skiing, tubing and wake boarding, while fishing trips and sailing appeal to the keen boatmen.
Malawi is known for its indigenous trees and incredible birdlife with over 100 bird species recorded in the park; particularly water birds, including the African fish eagle and large colonies of White-breasted cormorant. Lake Malawi National Park is located in the southern section of the lake and incorporates a number of small islands and land mass. This is where guests will find an 800-year-old baobab tree, as well as a community of baboons.
Malawi’s climate remains at moderate temperatures for most of the year, only getting quite cold in the chilliest winter months of June, July and August. Early morning and evening game drives will require some bundling up, but by midday the sun is out and the skies are clear.
Summers are obviously much warmer and after the season starts changing in September and October, the temperatures start to climb and the clouds prepare for rains. The mountainous topography of the country means that the low-lying areas around Lake Malawi get a lot hotter than the higher levels.
November brings the rain, some years, while other years the rain abates until December. During December, January, February and March, Malawi receives its rainfall and the vegetation begins to grow until it is wonderfully green and lush. It is not the best season for game viewing, though, as the game spreads out and becomes more difficult to see. April and May see the return of the dry weather and the temperatures drop.
Kaya Mawa Lodge is simply magnificent and one of the most romantic destinations on the planet. It offers beautiful scenery of the beach and Lake Malawi with the addition of incredible sunsets.
Mumbo Island Camp is in a prime location on a remote tropical island in Lake Malawi. Mumbo can accommodate a maximum of 14 guests in their thatched-roof tents, which are raised on wooden decks or on the high rocks typical of this island.
Pumulani Lodge is a luxurious and exclusive beach lodge offering a secluded location on the shores of Lake Malawi. Luxurious accommodation at each villa with large bedrooms, spacious living areas and private decks; personal service and breath-taking views making Pumulani the perfect African beach lodge.
Chintheche Inn offers comfortable accommodation overlooking the beach and is the ideal getaway for families.
Malawi is primarily a driving destination and there is very little use of light air transfers. The country is very small and the roads have been well maintained, making for efficient and enjoyable road transport.
The primary international airport is in Lilongwe, the capital city, which is located in more or less the centre of the country. Sun Safaris will fly their guests into Malawi at Lilongwe International Airport from where they will connect with an arranged road transfer that will take them to their wildlife destination.
In other cases, Chileka International Airport, located 16km out of Blantyre, can be used as a domestic terminal for guests choosing to fly as close as possible to their destination in the south of Malawi.
Lake Malawi is vast and stretches across most of the eastern border of the country, dividing it from Mozambique. Guests will fly ot Lilongwe and take a road transfer to their booked accommodation on the lake.