Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi is Malawi’s stellar attraction, great for kayaking, diving and yachting.


March to September


Lake Malawi is the stellar attraction of a Malawi safari, enriching every aspect of its life. A stay at one of the Lake Malawi resorts is the ideal wind-down at the end of your Malawi safari. Effectively it doubles as a ‘beach stay’. The sandy shores of Lake Malawi are by far the closest “beach” to the prime game reserve of South Luangwa and Kafue.

This vast expanse of bright blue water makes up some 20% of the whole of Malawi! Over 2,000 species of fish occur in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Malawi. This includes the colourful endemic cichlids that are easily spotted when snorkelling.

A quirky off-the-beaten-track destination on Lake Malawi is Likoma Island. This is a remote island near the Mozambique border with a cathedral which would be at home in Britain. All mixed in with a laid back tropical island ambiance.

Lake Malawi beach resorts

The beautiful mountainous terrain surrounding much of Lake Malawi doesn’t make for productive farming. So the lake itself is a vital part of the Malawi economy. Fish such as chambo and kapenta make up the main protein source for the lakeside people. So at night, the lake is sparkling with the tiny lights of the fishermen using lights and paddle bangs to attract the fish.


Why you may love it

  • Miles of palm-fringed sandy beaches, rounded granite boulders and romantic wooded islands
  • Great for kayaking, diving and yachting.
  • The colourful endemic cichlids fish are easily spotted when snorkelling or freshwater diving
  • There are no currents or tides to contend with, just warm fresh water that is really clear

When to visit Lake Malawi

December to March

Hot and Rainy Summer Season

Lake Malawi has a hot and rainy summer season from mid-November to early April. The northern parts of the lake have the most rain especially late in the season in March. Sometimes Malawi can be affected by tropical cyclones that penetrate inland from the coast bringing wind and torrential rainfall. So consequently many of the lakeside lodges close from mid-January to the end of March as it is not exactly beach weather.
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉
MIN TEMP 21 ℃ / 70 ℉

April & May

Dry season starts

This is a transitional period when the dry season starts. However, the daytime temperatures stay hot at 28-30c due to the lower altitude of the lake.
MAX TEMP 30 ℃ / 86 ℉
MIN TEMP 21 ℃ / 70 ℉

June to August

Cooler and more Pleasant time

Temperatures drop down but it remains a very pleasant 26 to 28C during the day whilst the night-time temperatures are cooler.
MAX TEMP 26 ℃ / 79 ℉
MIN TEMP 15 ℃ / 59 ℉

September to November

Seriously hot

Temperatures rise steadily from mid-August onwards becoming seriously hot by October and November (max 32c with high humidity) just prior to the start of summer rains. Night-time temperatures are also high. So this time is really suited to those who cope well with heat!
MAX TEMP 32 ℃ / 90 ℉
MIN TEMP 21 ℃ / 70 ℉

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Still a rustic island paradise – Mumbo Island

I last saw Mumbo island back 2014 and so i was keen to see how it was now. Bottom line is it hasn't changed at all. I still think it is absolutely charming and I would love to go back and spend 2-3 nights there with my family.

(Please read my original review, as well as my comments still stand)

BUT it is very rustic and it will not suit everyone. There are five reed chalets set on a tiny island connected by a wooden walkway to the beach on Mumbo Island. They are very simply furnished with a private bathroom complete with eco-loo and bucket showers. Some of these are almost en suite. But some are a few metres away.

We can request specific chalets but which one we would recommend depends on when you are visiting. I loved all of them but each was slightly different.

I am not so keen on the Forest family tented unit. So personally I would wait to come here with older children/teenagers so that you can all stay in the reed chalets.

This is ideal for people who love the idea of a digital detox and who don't need loads of activities. You can enjoy some kayaking (50-60 mins to kayak around the island), a sunset cruise with sundowners, even a sunset kayak though then you have to balance your drinks so not as restful. There are easy walks around the island and snorkeling.

But really its all about relaxing on the beach with a good book, having an afternoon siesta or enjoying a family board game.

Food is simple but delicious. The main lodge is also rustic but charming (to my taste).

Important Notes

Dec to mid March – they don’t recommend, even though they are open as it is simply so hot. October – very hot and dry. November is hot but very pretty with orange and yellow NEW leaves (go figure!)

No electricity so cameras and phones should be fully charged on arrival. (Though there is one spot in the main lodge where you can sometimes charge but it is not guaranteed. Think digital detox.

No electricity means no fans or air-con in the chalets. So think about whether you can cope with sleeping in the heat if you come in Oct or November.

They can offer PADi or RAID dive courses via cape Maclear Scuba (pre-booked basis)

They can offer massages (again if pre-booked). Moira will come out to the island to do them.

Any dietary requirements need to be given ahead of time so that they can get in supplies from Lilongwe, as the local shops at Cape Maclear sell only regular items,

Cedarberg : Kate Bergh
Did you know
  • Size600km long and up to 80km wide
  • FishingFish provides 70% of the protein diet for Malawians).

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Gloria Darvall

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I’m Gloria, I’m here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience

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