Lake Malawi occupies one-fifth of the country’s total area. It is the third-largest lake in Africa. Its approximate dimensions are 590 km north to south and 85 km broad at its widest point. The Lake drains an area larger than Malawi itself yet, surprisingly, only one river, the Shire (pronounced “shiray” – the old spelling) flows from it. Eventually, the water spills into the Indian Ocean via the River Zambezi. The surface of the Lake is 470m above sea level. In the north it is quite extraordinarily deep: 700m, plunging well below sea level. This reflects the enormity of the natural faulting of the Great Rift Valley which is the origin of the Lake itself.
For much of the year the Lake is placid, a gentle giant, but, especially when strong winds blow north or south, it can become an angry monster. Because of its potentially rich harvest of fish, the Lake plays an important part in the country’s economy. Fishing villages are scattered along the length of the lakeshore and the traditional industry and practices are an attraction to visitors.
All ATC trips that go to Malawi spend 4 nights on the banks of Lake Malawi, tents can be put upright on the beachfront within a few metres from the gentle lapping waves. Malawi, known as the Warm Heart of Africa, and aptly named so, is a generous and friendly country and one of the best opportunities for clients to truly immerse themselves into the African warmth and way of life. Days can be spent exploring the village, drumming on the beach, swimming, snorkelling, fishing, horse riding, or just sitting back and enjoying the slow pace of Africa. Malawi is also hosting to some of the greatest wood carvings found on our travellers; excellent craftsmanship and quality make it a souvenirs shoppers dream!! Those looking for something more active to do, they can join a local guide and hike up to the Livingstonia mission, a good 6-10 hours round trip which gets the muscles working and allows for great views on the route and from the mission.