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Lake Malawi

Fishing time: dawn over Lake Malawi

East Africa's superlative lake

The name Malawi means "flaming water" and alludes to the reflections of sunlight on Lake Malawi. The English missionary and Africa explorer David Livingstone was the first European to see him in 1859.

With a length of around 600 kilometers, an average width of 50 kilometers and a depth of up to 700 meters, Lake Malawi is the ninth largest lake in the world and the third largest in Africa. The "East African Sea" fills the southern African rift and is nine times as long as Lake Constance. The shore is shared by three countries: Malawi in the west, Tanzania in the north-east, where the lake still bears its old name for political reasons, and Mozambique in the south-east. In Malawi alone, the lake occupies a third of the national territory.

Lake Malawi is also one of the clearest lakes on earth. Sometimes you can see up to 20 meters deep. It became famous for its diversity of endemic fish species. So far, around 50 genera with over 600 species have been discovered - and that is far from all. Approximately 1,500 species are suspected in Lake Malawi.

The unique blue lake has a drain, the Shire. There are numerous reefs that also make shipping impossible. The lake is fed by several inlets from the adjacent highlands, but most of the rivers dry up in the dry periods.

Malawi round tripsLake Malawi

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Tourist Attractions Lake Malawi

Close to nature tourism on Likoma Island: Kaya Mawa Lodge

Likoma Island

Island in Lake Malawi

The small island in Lake Malawi is five kilometers off the coast of Mozambique and is also called the Isle of Baobab. The two highest mountains on the 15 square kilometer island, Phonombo and Njakwa Peak, are both over 600 meters high. On the coast rocks and bathing bays alternate. Most of the 7,000 inhabitants make a living from agriculture or fishing. Some of the fish is sold to Mozambique or Malawi. Baobabs and mangoes cover another part of the food supply. The island was originally entirely forested, but the need for human habitat has taken a toll on the forest over the years. In the far north-east there are still remains of the jungle. This forest, known as the Makungwa Village Forest Area, has now been placed under protection. The aged steamer Ilala comes by twice a week, supplies the island with everything it needs and transports passengers and vehicles to and from Malawi and Tanzania.

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