Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa, covers one fifth of the country and was declared a World Heritage Site on account of its incredible diversity of fish. As a holiday destination it is beautiful and unique - crystal clear waters offer fantastic diving and snorkelling, while the lovely sandy beaches are the perfect place to laze away the day in a comfortable hammock.
Africa’s third largest lake, Lake Malawi (previously Lake Nyasa) is also referred to as the calendar lake as it measures 365 miles long and 52 miles wide (days of the year by weeks of the year) and takes up approximately a fifth of the country's surface area. The National Park at Cape Maclear is the world’s first freshwater park and offers great wildlife viewing.
Lake Malawi is one of the cleanest fresh water lakes in the world and is safe for watersports and swimming. While sports fishing is limited on the lake, there are in excess of 500 endemic cyclid fish which can be easily viewed around almost any rocks along the lakeshore.
The part of Lake Malawi’s shore that lies in North Malawi is its most varied – everything from high cliffs dropping sheer into the lake, to secluded coves accessible only by boat. The Chintheche area has some of the best beaches on the lake, with long stretches of white sand. This is also an area of cultural interest with the Bandawe Mission site nearby.
Nkata Bay is better described as a large village than a town. It is at the most northerly point on the Lake reached by David Livingstone. Its small sheltered harbour is a focus for the Lake’s fishing industry and a major stopping point for the lake ferry, the Ilala.
Off the eastern shore of the Lake is Likoma Island: a little piece of Malawian territory in Mozambican waters. Likoma’s claim to fame is its cathedral (the size of Winchester’s) on which work began in 1903. The island also boasts some stunning beaches. Access to Likoma is by boat or aircraft.
The southern portion of the lake is the most commercially developed. The bays and beaches tend to be the most sheltered and calmest. Access to this part is by road (which take s approximately four hours from Lilongwe), or by plane, using the airstrip at Club Makokola.