Lying within the Western Rift Valley, Lake Malawi is one of the deepest lakes in the world. The area is of exceptional natural beauty, with the rugged landscapes around it contrasting with the crystal clear waters of the lake.
The Lake is home to many hundreds of cichlid fish, nearly all of which are endemic to Lake Malawi, and are known locally as “mbuna”. The mbuna fishes display a significant example of biological evolution.
Due to the isolation of Lake Malawi from other water bodies, its fish have developed impressive adaptive radiation and speciation, and are an outstanding example of the ecological processes.
Habitat types vary from rocky shorelines to sandy beaches and from wooded hillsides to swamps and lagoons. Granitic hills rise steeply from lakeshore and there are a number of sandy bays.
The lake water is remarkably clear and water levels fluctuate according to season. Lake Malawi is the third deepest lake in the world and occupies an elongated crack of the Rift Valley.
Lake Malawi contains the largest number of fish species of any lake in the world. There are between 500 and 1,000 fish species. Endemism is high – thought to exceed 90% – and the Cichlidae, of which all but five of an estimated 350 species are endemic to Malawi. Other fish species include 28 endemic to the lake.
Diving in the fresh water Lake Malawi is like diving in an aquarium. The water is clear, warm, fresh and has no currents or tides. The visibility is crystal clear and there are stunning geological rock formations, dramatic caverns and sheer cliffs as backdrops to the rainbow of colourful fish.
In addition to the cichlids, large catfish, eels, lungfish, Killifishes and even large fresh water crabs are often seen on dives and the massive area of the lake ensures many interesting and different dive sites.
Lake Malawi is perfect for a rest, relaxation and diving by itself or combined with a safari in Malawi or Zambia. We offer some superb properties in Malawi and Zambia – contact one of our Malawi experts for help and advice.
There are many lodges and camp situated around Lake Malawi and we would be happy to recommend lodges and camps which have dive centres on site or have good access to a dive centre. Call us on 01984 667420 or email [email protected] to start planning your Malawi journey!