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Lake Malawi National Park

Lake Malawi © Joachim Huber
Lake Malawi © Joachim Huber

Established in 1980, Lake Malawi National Park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its importance in the study of evolution. The lake is said to contain the largest number of fish species, nearly all endemic, of any lake in the world: over 1,000 from 11 species, with approximately half occurring in the protected part of Lake Malawi.

The Lake Malawi National Park has some interesting attributes, including the fact that 4th-century Iron Age sites have been found in the area. Mammals found in the region include baboons, vervet monkeys, spotted hyenas, leopards and the occasional elephant. The varied bird life includes black eagles, fish eagles and many waders. Reptiles include the African python, crocodiles and abundant water monitor lizards, especially on Boadzulu Island.

At Cape Maclear, within Lake Malawi National Park, there are a variety of upmarket operations combining accommodation with lake activities. Danforth Yachting has a lakeside lodge and a 38ft catamaran available to visitors while Mumbo Island and Domwe Island camps offer pleasant island retreats. Cape Mac Lodge also offers accommodation and activities from Chembe village. Pumulani is also considered one of the lake's finest lodge destinations.

The National Park is on the scenic northern tip of the Nankhumba Peninsula, which divides the southern end of Lake Malawi, with a number of sandy bays including a fine beach near Chembe and Otter Point. There are marked seasonal variations in wind, temperature and rainfall.