Lake Malawi (don’t confuse it for the country, Malawi) is a 350-mile long lake that stretches from Tanzania to Mozambique and yes, to Malawi. The lake is so large that the surrounding vegetation and foliage varies wildly, meaning visitors can find everything from a sandy lakeside retreat to a tropical landscape. Lake Malawi is also home to several islands that lies within its waters that are quite popular with tourists. So when you’re in the area, don’t feel like there’s nothing to do but admire the lake from afar. Instead, get up close and personal by taking on of the many things to do in Lake Malawi.
The water is so deep that it’s a haven for cichlids (more than 700 species in fact!). You’ll want to visit Nkwichi since its surrounding beds are softened with sand (safe for divers to explore) instead of rocky canyons. In this specific area, the water is very clear, making it easy for divers to see hundreds of colorful fish swimming in front of them. Other fantastic destinations to go snorkeling include Cape Maclear (southern end of lake), Mumbo Island (underwater boulders), and Nkhotakota (conveniently close to resorts).
Paddle your way to the islands
Lake Malawi has two well-known islands: Domwe and Mumbo. Visitors love to stop by Kayak Africa to rent kayaks or paddle boats and make their way to the islands. The rental shops will assist you on where to paddle to find the islands. The islands are only accessible by boat, so this is a real gem of a place to visit.
Did you know there are several designated campsites throughout the lakeside as well as lodges with private cabin rentals? Many campsites have their own electrical hookups, hot showers and stunning views of the lake. The campsites are usually within walking distance from the shore as well. But if you want to go for something a bit unusual and more remote, consider staying at one of the campsites in Mumbo and Domwe Islands. The nearby kayak rentals allow visitors to keep their boats overnight for the camping experience on the islands.
Drop a line in the water
Snag your dinner by boat or land at Lake Malawi. You won’t find big game fish in these waters but you’ll be able to nab edible fishes like catfish, lake salmon, perch, tigerfish and many more. Several portions of the lake require a fishing license, but some limited areas like Lower Shire River (the only outlet of Lake Malawi) do not require them.
Enjoy a beachside bonfire and picnic
Sunset hours are ideal for beach-side picnics and bonfires where guests can dine on their freshly-caught fish and watch the sun kiss the water. Many campsites have a permitted bonfire pit that’s safe for travelers to cozy up to. Of course, this also applies to early risers who love to watch the sunrise at breakfast. Kande Beach is among the best places to view the sunrises and sunsets. Stick around after dark, stargazing is a must-do in the area as well since so many parts of the lake are far from city lights.
Get a bird’s eye view at The Mushroom Farm
Not far from the lake in Livingstonia is an incredible, organic Mushroom Farm that offers a bird’s eye view deck of the lake. The farm doubles as an overnight accommodation for travelers to have access to water from a natural spring, solar-powered electricity and compost methods for its gardens. Guests also enjoy the farm-to-table fare using ingredients grown right on the farm.
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15 Lakes In Kenya You Need To Visit
Beyond Backpackers: Finding Luxury In Malawi