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What to see in Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi Attractions

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is by far the most popular destination in Malawi. The main activities along the lake shore are freshwater diving and snorkelling, game viewing, kayaking, boat rides to various islands and beaches, fishing, horse-riding and sunbathing.

In most of the tourist hubs mentioned below, it's possible to enjoy the resort attractions of watersports and well-tended beaches, as well as shopping in craft markets and homestays with local families.

Tourist facilities are varied, with some luxury resorts offering an all-inclusive experience and other areas remaining largely non-commercialised. ATMs are available here and there and credit card acceptance is on the rise, but neither should be relied upon when exploring the Lake Malawi region. It's best to find out in advance from your resort what to expect and arrange accordingly.

Most of the lake is accessed by short dirt roads leading off the tarred roadways that run its length. Outside of the dry season (May to October) these dirt roads can become difficult to traverse. Even in the dry months, a 4x4 vehicle is required for those planning extensive travels.

Although the infrastructure is not always impressive, getting around is comparatively easy, especially as the locals are generally friendly and helpful. Lake Malawi is also pleasantly uncrowded, despite its undeniable appeal, and visitors seldom struggle with reservations for accommodation, restaurants and activities.

Cape Maclear

This unassuming tourist hub is the gateway to some of Lake Malawi's most popular upmarket lodges and camps, and therefore a very common entry point for those visiting the region. Located on Lake Malawi,…

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Lake Malawi National Park

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,…

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Likoma Island

Likoma Island is an isolated enclave of Malawi, completely surrounded by Mozambican waters, and was colonised by Anglican missionaries in the late 1800s. This island is a popular holiday destination,…

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Monkey Bay

A small port town on the southern end of Lake Malawi, Monkey Bay (Lusumbwe) gets its name from the large monkey population in the area, and spotting them can be great fun. Though perhaps Malawi's best-known…

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Nkhata Bay

Nkhata Bay is a busy fishing village on the shores of Lake Malawi, near Mzuzu. The town is well-placed for tourists to take advantage of the beaches at Chikale, where they can kayak, take day cruises,…

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A small and basic town on the shores of Lake Malawi, Nkhotakota has a traditional market and a few hotels and bars, but the main attractions for travellers are in the surrounding region. The Nkhotakota…

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Salima, the most convenient entry point to Lake Malawi, is a one- to two-hour drive from Lilongwe. The town is home to some great holiday resorts, such as Sunbird Livingstonia Beach Resort, and boasts…

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