Pumulani Aerial View

Lake Malawi Safaris

Aerial view of Pumulani

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The perfect safari holiday to Lake Malawi

Known as the 'Lake of the Stars', Lake Malawi is nature's greatest aquarium, surrounded by beaches and forests

Occupying about one fifth of Malawi’s total area and Africa’s third largest lake, Lake Malawi, or Lake Nyasa as it’s otherwise known, is a vast trough that stretches from the very northern tip of Malawi to the south. Lake Malawi has drawn many explorers to its shores over the years, from David Livingstone to the more adventurous travellers of today.

Lake Malawi - South

Around Cape Maclear, at the southern end of this vast inland sea, lies Lake Malawi National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world’s first freshwater national park. Covering just 94km², the park encompasses one of the most beautiful sections of the lake. Its crystal-clear waters protect a veritable aquarium of freshwater tropical fish in abundant colours and sizes, including over 350 species of endemic Cichlids.

Also falling within the protection of the national park are several islands, including the beautiful Marelli Islands off the shores of Senga Bay, as well as Mumbo and Domwe Island near Cape Maclear. There’s also a significant stretch of inland territory around the forested headlands of Cape Maclear where baboon, hyrax and antelope can be found.

Naturally, this is one of the more popular sections of the lake. With a choice of upmarket lodges (mostly on private islands or in more remote bays), family-friendly beach resorts, and backpacker accommodation, most visitors are well catered for. Yet don’t expect huge overdeveloped tourist areas, as Lake Malawi’s charm is its unspoilt beauty.

Lake Malawi – North

More like an inland sea than a lake, Lake Malawi’s waves lap golden sand beaches and its waters hold a myriad of colourful tropical fish.

It’s little surprise, therefore, that two of the more popular activities are scuba diving and snorkelling. There’s a choice of lodges along the lakeshore and on its islands that offer diving trips or courses. For non-divers, the crystal clear waters, especially around some of the more popular spots, provide a treat for snorkelling, with fish of a vast variety of colours, shapes and sizes.

For those that like to stay active there are a range of other activities on offer, including kayaking, wakeboarding, horse riding and even kitesurfing.

The northern shores of Malawi are often overlooked, but there are plenty of accommodation options catering for different budgets. Follow in the footsteps of the famous explorer David Livingstone as you head north. Pass the infamous slave trade centre of Nkhotakota, to the beautiful stretches of beach around Kande, Chintheche and Nkhata Bay, and on to the historic settlement of Livingstonia, named after the man himself.

In Mozambican waters, but still part of Malawi, Likoma Island is a gem in the sparkling lake. The idyllic island can be easily reached by air or, for the more adventurous and less time sensitive, on board the Ilala Ferry.

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    Alistair

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