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Diving & snorkelling in Malawi
Diving & snorkelling in Malawi
Diving & snorkelling in Malawi
Diving & snorkelling in Malawi
Diving & snorkelling in Malawi
Diving & snorkelling in Malawi

Lake Malawi probably hosts the largest number of fish species of any lake in Africa.

Diving & snorkelling in Malawi

Amazing 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.

Kaya Mawa

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.


Kaya Mawa

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.

Best camps & lodges for Diving & snorkelling in Malawi


Kaya Mawa

Kaya Mawa

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.


96% (27 reviews)
Makokola Retreat

Makokola Retreat

Excellent freshwater snorkelling


97% (6 reviews)

Best camps & lodges for Diving & snorkelling in Africa

Diving & snorkelling elsewhere in Africa

Our top ideas and inspiration for Diving & snorkelling in other countries.


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Seychelles

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Diving & snorkelling in Tanzania

Tanzania

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Zanzibar

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Where to see wildlife species in Malawi

Maximise the chances of seeing your favourite animals based on traveller sightings reports from the field.


Elephant

Elephant

Loxodonta africana

By far the biggest of the so-called Big Five – indeed, the largest land animal on the planet – the elephant shapes the very landscape it inhabits and is a defining presence on any safari.

91% SUCCESS

3,722 sightings from 4,097 observations

Where to see elephant in Malawi

Leopard

Leopard

Panthera pardus

The most numerous of Africa’s big cats, leopard occur across many habitats, from wild tracts to populated areas. Their grace and their elusive nature make them a unique safari drawcard.

47% SUCCESS

1,993 sightings from 4,246 observations

Where to see leopard in Malawi

Lion

Lion

Panthera leo

Lions are at the top of the food chain and also most safari wish-lists, but with their numbers falling fast, any encounter with these majestic apex predators always feels like a privilege.

81% SUCCESS

3,106 sightings from 3,826 observations

Where to see lion in Malawi

Cheetah

Cheetah

Acinonyx jubatus

The cheetah is the fastest land animal and the only cat that hunts by pure speed. Found largely in open grasslands, its slim, elegant form is today an increasingly rare sight.

33% SUCCESS

1,066 sightings from 3,256 observations

Where to see cheetah in Malawi

Wild dog

Wild dog

Lycaon pictus

African wild dogs are among the continent’s most compelling animals. Much misunderstood, these rare, tie-dyed canids are amazingly efficient hunters with a fascinating social life.

32% SUCCESS

901 sightings from 2,847 observations

Where to see wild dog in Malawi

Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Crocuta crocuta

The spotted hyena may be thought of as ‘ugly’ and ‘cowardly’. In fact, this versatile and intelligent carnivore is one of Africa’s most fascinating and warrants attention on any safari.

55% SUCCESS

2,215 sightings from 4,039 observations

Where to see spotted hyena in Malawi

Black Rhino

Black Rhino

Diceros bicornis

The black rhino is the smaller and rarer of Africa’s two rhino species but has the more fearsome reputation. Shy and heavily persecuted, it tends to stick to cover.

30% SUCCESS

632 sightings from 2,093 observations

Where to see black rhino in Malawi

Giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis

The world’s tallest land mammal, giraffes are herbivores which have evolved many unique adaptations. Their iconic outlines tower above the bush in many of Africa’s wildlife areas.

86% SUCCESS

3,585 sightings from 4,170 observations

Where to see giraffe in Malawi

Buffalo

Buffalo

Syncerus caffer

One of the ‘Big Five’, buffalo earned a fearsome reputation in hunters’ tales. By contrast, big herds of these sociable bovids are placid, but mount formidable defences against predators.

83% SUCCESS

2,627 sightings from 3,173 observations

Where to see buffalo in Malawi

Hippo

Hippo

Hippopotamus amphibius

The territorial calls of the hippo create a signature soundtrack to Africa’s rivers & wetlands. Despite an endearing smile, this aquatic herbivore has a notoriously aggressive disposition.

89% SUCCESS

2,723 sightings from 3,051 observations

Where to see hippo in Malawi

Sable antelope

Sable antelope

Hippotragus niger

Perhaps Africa’s most beautiful antelope, sable are renowned for their combative nature, even holding off lions. Shy and restricted in range, sightings of sable are always special.

23% SUCCESS

471 sightings from 2,086 observations

Where to see sable antelope in Malawi

Eland

Eland

Taurotragus oryx

Africa’s largest antelope, eland are culturally important from prehistoric rock art to modern game farms. Though widespread, they are also shy so sightings are uncommon and often fleeting.

49% SUCCESS

1,486 sightings from 3,042 observations

Where to see eland in Malawi

Roan antelope

Roan antelope

Hippotragus equinus

Africa’s second largest antelope and one of its most handsome, with a powerful build and distinctive markings, roan are wary of people, but renowned for their bravery against predators.

24% SUCCESS

494 sightings from 2,087 observations

Where to see roan antelope in Malawi

Wildebeest

Wildebeest

Connochaetes sp.

Superficially bovine in appearance, wildebeests are known for their spectacular migrations sometimes in huge numbers. These resilient animals are some of Africa’s most successful herbivores.

68% SUCCESS

2,543 sightings from 3,753 observations

Where to see wildebeest in Malawi

Zebra

Zebra

Equus sp.

The zebra is a quintessential African animal: the horse in stripy pyjamas at the end of every child’s A–Z. There are three species, of which the plains zebra is much the most common.

84% SUCCESS

3,920 sightings from 4,659 observations

Where to see zebra in Malawi

Pangolin

Pangolin

Smutsia sp.

Pangolins appear to be more pine cone than animal in their unique armoury of scales. These nocturnal, ant-eating oddities are not only highly elusive but also increasingly rare.

2% SUCCESS

57 sightings from 3,411 observations

Where to see pangolin in Malawi

Aardvark

Aardvark

Orycteropus afer

The aardvark is one of Africa’s most bizarre and enigmatic animals. A shy, nocturnal termite-eater, signs of its presence may be scattered about the bush whilst sightings remain elusive.

2% SUCCESS

72 sightings from 3,406 observations

Where to see aardvark in Malawi

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Need inspiration?

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Other styles of holiday in Malawi

Discover all that Malawi has to offer


Beach holidays

Beach holidays

Discover Africa's coast and tropical islands.

Birdwatching

Birdwatching

Diverse habitats, discreet hides and superb guiding.

Cultural experiences

Cultural experiences

Get an insight into Africa's cultures and history.

Diving & snorkelling

Diving & snorkelling

Find captivating marine life beneath the waves

Luxury

Luxury

First-class service, scenic vistas and unparalleled comfort await you during these carefully selected luxury holidays. 

Private villas & houses

Private villas & houses

Enjoy Africa with just your friends & family

Riding holidays

Riding holidays

Explore Africa's wilderness on horseback.

Walking

Walking

Explore Africa's most scenic trails on foot.

Wildlife safaris

Wildlife safaris

These trips include hard-hitting game and fascinatingly elusive species alike, as well as superb guiding and a variety of diverse ecosystems.

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