Lake Malawi, Malawi

Lake Malawi

Dominating this slender country, the enormous Lake Malawi fills the famous Rift Valley.

Beside the lake, life is slow moving and traditional. Fishing sustains the countless communities that dot the beautiful shores, with some villages inaccessible by road and still sustained by the ageing MV Ilala as it potters its way around the lake.

Beaches line the lakeshore along its entire length, but it is the handful of offshore islands that are arguably most unspoilt and beautiful. The wealth of marine life – including hundreds of species of colourful cichlids – makes for fantastic snorkelling and diving. And for those who want to stay above water, activities range from paddleboarding and kitesurfing to sailing and kayaking.

Kayaking, Lake Malawi, Malawi
Lake Malawi, Malawi
Swimming, Lake Malawi, Malawi
Lake Malawi, Malawi

Why travel to Lake Malawi

  • Explore this vast lake that fills the Rift Valley
  • Snorkel in the warm, salt-free waters
  • Kayak, sail, dive and more
  • Stay at isolated island camps, only accessible by plane or boat
HIppo spraying water, Liwonde National Park, Malawi
Liwonde National Park, Malawi

Highlights of Malawi

This 14 day itinerary showcases the wildlife and conservation success stories of the country, as well as time to relax on the shores of Lake Malawi.

14 days

from £9,995 pp

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Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Pumulani Lodge £££££

  • Malawi
  • Beach and Island Escapes

Pumulani is a beach lodge on the protected shores of Lake Malawi within Lake Malawi National Park. There are 10 villas spread out along a lush hillside overlooking the lake. Each villa boasts a large bedroom, spacious living area and a private deck with lake view. There is also a pool and private beach access. Activities include waterskiing, sailing, diving, wakeboarding, kayaking, snorkelling, fishing, and bird watching. Sunset cruises on a traditional wooden 40ft sailing boat are also available. Lake Malawi National Park is a World Heritage Site worth exploring, especially for its rare species of fish such as colourful cichlids.

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Mumbo Island £££££

  • Malawi
  • Beach and Island Escapes

Mumbo Island is an exclusive camp situated on a pristine and otherwise-deserted tropical island floating on the clear waters of Lake Malawi. The camp comprises five large safari tents, each fully furnished with its own shaded view-deck and hammock, and blending seamlessly into the lush foliage. There is a dining area, bar and water sport gazebo. With waters that are so crystal clear, the diving and snorkelling are among the best in Lake Malawi. This is the perfect place to relax in tranquil surroundings and eat delicious cuisine and for the more energetic there is a variety of activities. Sea kayaking, snorkelling and scuba facilities are on offer. Birders will enjoy the abundant Fish Eagles and snorkellers can view enormous numbers of the Cichlid fish species.

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Kaya Mawa £££££

  • Malawi
  • Beach and Island Escapes

Kaya Mawa is a beach safari lodge on Likoma, an isolated island covered with mango trees and ancient baobabs and surrounded by sandy beaches and rocky coves. With breathtaking views of the mountains and wilderness of Mozambique, Likoma remains almost untouched since its discovery by Scottish missionaries at the end of the 19th century.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Chris Johnston

Chris is the Conde Nast Traveller chosen Specialist for Africa.

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.

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