Also known as Lake Nyasa, Lake Malawi forms Malawi’s boundary with Mozambique and Tanzania. It is the third largest East Rift Valley lakes of East Africa.

Measuring 560-580km long and 75km wide, Lake Malawi features a depression in the north central part, marking the deepest point at 706m and 400m at the shallowest point. It has 14 inlets with the Ruhuru River being the largest, and has an outlet in the Shire River, a tributary to the Zambezi River.

At the Southern end of the lake is Lake Malawi National Park, which is home to number of animals. It is also home to a large baobab tree, believed to be 800 years old, where Dr. David Livingstone gave sermons and talk with missionaries.  There are also graves of missionaries in the park.

Read: Lake Retba: Africa’s Pink Lake

Beach at Cape Maclear near Monkey Bay. Photo: Stefan7/ Wiki CC/GNU-FDL

The UNESCO inscribed the Lake Malawi National Park into the World Heritage site in 1984. It acknowledged its natural beauty and outstanding example of biological evolution, as well as, its importance of the biodiversity conservation. 

Read: Lake Tanganyika: an African Great Lake

Apart from fish, Nile crocodiles and hippos live in the lake. There is also a significant population of African fish eagles, which survive on the lake, catching and eating fish from the lake.  Among the fish in the lake are cichlid, which experienced evolutionary radiations; as well as the chambo fish, which are now seriously threatened. 

Fish Eagle, Cape McLear, Malawi. Photo: Joachim Huber/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

The lake is also famous for tiny but harmless flies, which appear from the water and easily confused with plumes of smoke. They larvae of the flies are important as food to fish. The local people collect the adult flies to make kungu cake/burgers, which is rich in protein.

In 1914, the Lake was the scene of a short battle between Britain and Germany. The British boat SS Gwendolen attacked the German Hermann Von Wissmann, which was under repair.

One can access the Lake along its shore and take part in various activities including kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling and water skiing. Cruises all the way to the Shire River is also possible.

Along the shores are also a number of game lodges for visitors to spend their visit. Other places to find accommodation include Senga Bay, Dwanga, Nkhata Bay and Karonga, which is one important archaeological centres in Malawi.