Lake Malawi is a large freshwater lake, covering about a third of Malawi. The landlocked African Great Lake is also shared by Mozambique and Tanzania. At approximately 560 km (~348 mi) long and 75 km (~47 mi) wide, Lake Malawi is the 9th largest lake in the world. In total, the lake covers an area of about 30,044 km2 (11,600 sq mi).
The first European to ‘discover’ the lake was Candido José da Costa Cardoso in 1846. Less than 15 years later in 1859 the missionary explorer David Livingstone visited the lake and named it ‘Lake Nyasa’. In Mozambique and Tanzania that name still holds today.
The lake is also known as the Lake of Storms, because of the unpredictable and incredibly violent gales that gust through the area.
The lake was officially declared a reserve in 2011 to protect the enormous number of freshwater fish species living in its depths. Lake Malawi is believed to be home to more species of fish than any other body of freshwater in the world; more than 1000 in total. For thousands of years the lake has been a major source of food for those living on its shores.
The land surrounding the lake is home many mammal species, including a small pack of painted hunting dogs - a breed previously believed to be extinct. Hippopotami, crocodiles, African fish eagles and monkeys also roam the shoreline and waters of Lake Malawi.
Lake Malawi is a popular tourist destination. Its shoreline is embellished with beautiful beaches and picturesque fishing villages. The golden sands are perfect for relaxing, sunbathing and beach sports while the clear, calm waters entice swimmers, snorkelers and divers. Water skiing, boating and trips to the lake’s islands are also available.