Lake Malawi

The Ilala on Lake Malawi

Travel to Lake Malawi – Wildlife and Water Sports Aplenty

Lake Malawi is also known as Lake Nyasa and it contains almost a third of the known cichlids – a species of freshwater tropical fish – in the world.

It is the most southerly lake in the East African Rift valley system, the third largest lake in Africa and the ninth largest in the world. It is situated between Malawi, Mozambiqu, and Tanzania and is also the second deepest lake in Africa but its placid nature at its northerly shore gives no hint of this feature. The lake’s tropical waters teem with more fish species than any other lake on Earth.

The lake itself is approximately 40,000 years old but David Livingstone was the first European to reach the lake, arriving at its shores in 1859 and naming it Lake Nyasa. This name of the lake, however, is disputed. Malawi claims the lake is named ‘Lake Malawi’ while international maps and other countries (especially Tanzania) claim the name of the lake to be ‘Lake Nyasa’.

In Lake Malawi itself there are wildlife to spot including crocodiles, hippopotamus and an abundance of fish. The lake contains approximately 30% of world’s cichlid species which are easily seen in the clear water and there are also caves and waterfalls to see. You can also visit the Lake Malawi National Park.

Lake Malawi provides the ideal place for snorkelers as most of the lakes cichlid species stay close to the rocky shoreline and are therefore easily spotted. You can also swim in the lake.

Relax by Lake Malawi by making use of its beaches and swimming opportunities.

It is possible to take the weekly Ilala ferry on Lake Malawi or to use a canoe, dugout boat or motorboat. In the surrounding area you can get around on foot or between the villages using hire car or local transport.

  • Experience the real Africa by taking a dugout canoe across the lake and witness native wildlife.
  • Snorkel in order to see the lake’s 400 colourful cichlid species.
  • Visit nearby Lake Malawi National Park.


Africa Travel Information