Diving & Snorkelling in Malawi
As a body of fresh water, Lake Malawi has a high alkalinity and exceedingly high proportion of endemic fish - mostly of the cichlid family. This means that although Malawi is land-locked, it offers some of the best freshwater diving and snorkelling in Africa.
Lake Malawi belongs to the African Great Lakes and is the southernmost lake in the Great Rift Valley system of East Africa. It's the second deepest lake and the third largest lake in Africa - located between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania - so there's plenty of space for diving and snorkelling!
Lake Malawi probably hosts the largest number of fish species of any lake in Africa. Most of these endemic fish belong to the cichlidae family and are known locally as nbuma. These are often small and brightly coloured - and so are very attractive as pets for aquarists, as well as for travellers who are diving and snorkelling in Malawi.
Lake Malawi offers many types of habitat and often these niches are filled with individual species of specially-adapted fish. About 30% of the lake is rocky. Due to the water's high alkalinity, there are few plants and relatively little organic material. This means that there's often very good visibility above the sandy and rocky bottom of the lake, so it's often possible to see fish clearly in all of their beauty.
Our 5 favourite places for diving & snorkelling in Malawi
Danforth Lodge|100% (3 reviews)Danforth Yachting has an on site PADI scuba diving centre, complete with a resident dive instructor. Lake Malawi is a perfect scuba diving spot, and there are many fascinating dive sites within easy reach of Danforth. The lodge also offers PADI dive courses and casual dives. More about Danforth Lodge
Kaya Mawa|93% (14 reviews)Lake Malawi offers some of the best freshwater snorkeling and diving in the world. There are plenty of brightly-coloured and often endemic cichlid fish; the lake is always warm and the currents are usually moderate. Being an island, Kaya Mawa is a particularly good spot ... More about Kaya Mawa
Livingstonia BeachFreshwater snorkelling is an attraction here More about Livingstonia Beach
Makokola Retreat|95% (4 reviews)Excellent freshwater snorkelling More about Makokola Retreat
Yacht MufasaMufasa is perfect for the keen diver, being kitted up with excellent equipment and with a dive platform at the back. The yacht can cruise to some excellent diving spots around the lake. More about Yacht Mufasa