Why Lake Malawi?
“Hakuna matata” – that famous phrase from The Lion King and roughly translated as “no worries” – could have very easily originated in Malawi as this is probably the most laid back nation in Africa, and its people are known for their smiling, friendly ways.
You won’t find the classic Big 5 safari in Malawi, although Liwonde National Park is worth a visit if you are in the area.
Rather, this tiny, landlocked country ironically offers a fantastic beach holiday to round off your safari, or simply the perfect retreat to chill at during your hard-earned break from work. Lake Malawi is an iconic destination for that idyllic beach holiday – without the salt, unpredictable weather, and the crowded, soulless resorts that so often go hand-in-hand with beach holidays.
Lake Malawi offers rustic fishing villages and laid-back lodges, idyllic islands, secret coves, white sand beaches and crystal clear waters that offer excellent conditions for swimming, fishing, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking and scuba-diving. And, of course, it’s ideal for those intent on simply soaking up the sun in the hammock and enjoying sundowner cocktails and those awesome African sunsets.
The lake is 580km long, and runs for most of the length of Malawi and part of north-west Mozambique and south-west Tanzania. It is home to more species of fish than any other lake in the world, including an estimated 1 000 species of cichlids, a colourful family of fish popular in home aquariums. The water is warm and clear, with visibility up to 20m in parts.
Your beach holiday on Lake Malawi could be a fitting end to a thoroughly exhilarating, but exhausting, safari in nearby Zambia, or a short two-and-a-half-hour flight from Johannesburg.
When to visit Lake Malawi
Malawi has a temperate climate and can be visited at most times during the year. The summers are hot, with the rainy season occurring from January through to March. Many travellers visit Lake Malawi during the drier and cooler winter months of May to October.