Lake Malawi National Park was the very first freshwater national park declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. This status protects the diversity of endemic fish as well as the aquatic habitat. Although the Lake covers one-third of the country, the National Park is only 94km2 including a land area around the cape, some islands, and of course, the lake up to 100 meters off shore. Lake Malawi National Park is located in the South of the lake near Cape Maclear.

Wildlife of Lake Malawi National Park

The transparent waters of Lake Malawi are home to over 350 species of endemic Cichlid fish…Cichlid fish? Yes, present in almost every aquarium across the world. In a variety of colours and sizes, these make for excellent snorkelling sightings! There is also abundant birdlife from the darting cormorant to the regal fish eagle and of course the famously large nested hammerkop for birders this is an aquatic bird paradise. Not to forget, as it is freshwater we have 2 species of otter here which are regularly sighted along the shoreline and even on some of the islands. You may also be shocked to hear that snakes are very good swimmers so if you are between the shore and the islands have a look out for a more unusual swimmer! 

Vegetation of Lake Malawi National Park

The lakes surrounding offers stunning scenery of rocky mountains plunging into the crystal clear water. Sunsets are one of a kind, and the nights provide the Lake its nickname of “lake of stars” as you can see hundreds of little lights coming from the fishermen boats.

What to do in Lake Malawi National Park

Scuba diving: The lake is a popular destination for scuba diving with people visiting especially to dive. Many resorts along the lakeshore offer scuba diving at very good prices. Some even offer night dives, which is extremely popular as all the nocturnal creatures come out to play.

Water sports: Different lodges offer varying water sports activities, some will offer motorized sports, such as wakeboarding and tubing, most will offer non-motorized activities such as kayaking.

Hiking: There are a few hiking trails around the national park. Each one offers fantastic and rewarding views. The difficulty isn’t particularly hard but be sure to take plenty of water.

Snorkelling: A dive is great and you can see some incredibly unique fish however if you don’t have your PADI don’t fear! Thanks to the beautifully clear waters you can see a whole lot by just putting on a snorkel mask. Ask us or your lodge for top snorkel spots.

Kayaking: Why not grab a picnic and a kayak and head off to explore the islands around the shore of Malawi? Explore the coastline of Lake Malawi, you are likely to spot a whole lot of aquatic birds, see the Fish eagle fishing and if you are lucky you may spot an otter or two. 

Who the park is good for

Passionate about fish, birds or diving? Lake Malawi will be your paradise! If you love to kayak, dive or even just swim Lake Malawi National Park is the right destination for you.

Park entry fees

Non-resident foreigner: USD10/person/day. Resident foreigner: USD7/person/day
Malawi citizen: MWK450/person/day. All below age of 12 years: NIL

Tours including this destination