The jewelry of the warm heart of Africa, Lake Malawi is one of the topmost tourist attraction places in Africa with the CCN travel and online directory www.org.com rating it among ten to go places in Africa in 2014 and 2016 respectively. It is the ninth largest lake in the world, third largest and second deepest lake in Africa. It is an African Great Lake and southernmost lake in the East African rift system, located between Mozambique and Tanzania. In Malawi, it covers 20% of the land, as it runs from the eastern part of the northern region through the southern region. The water of the lake pours into Indian Ocean through the shire and the Zambezi Rivers respectively. However, the most interesting thing about the lake isn’t just its vastness, but also its uniqueness in association with the political history, economy, maximum leisure, species and investment opportunities of Malawi as a nation.
To begin with, Lake Malawi is associated with the rich political history of the country. It is said to have been discovered by the missionary-explorer Dr David Livingstone over 150 years ago. Then upon interaction with the indigenous yao people who were practicing slave trade, the missionary heard that the word lake is translated Nyasa in yao language hence naming the country Nyasaland. However, during independence from the colonial era, the first president of Malawi, Dr Hestings Kamuzu Banda, renamed the country from Nyasaland to Malawi. This is from the fact that there is like flames that arise from the waters during sunny afternoon. The vernacular word for flames is Malawi.
In association to the political history of the lake and the country at large, there is Lake Malawi Museum is in town of Mangochi district. Mangochi, a lake district, was once an important anti-slaving centre and later a colonial administrative town. A colonial monument to Queen Victoria
stands near the bridge, overlooking the river is a memento of Lake Malawi’s rich history, a gun used in Britain’s first naval victory of World War 1.
Lake Malawi boasts of 1000 species of fish. And most of these fish are found only in Lake Malawi. Lake Malawi has world’s richest freshwater fish fauna with 90% of the species restricted to the portion of the Lake in Malawi. For example, Kampango is the only fish in the world that has unique habit of egg feeding and is found only in Lake Malawi and its outlet shire river. The lake is also a home of the best fish in the world, chambo which belong to cichid family. No one has come to Africa or Malawi if they have not tasted the chambo fish. It forms part of delicious meals in all the Malawian hotels, and restaurant. Malawi chambo is highly demanded on a global market due to its fresh water original taste. No wonder the lake plays an important part in the economy for the villages and their traditional means of fishing become the center of business attraction.
Lake Malawi provides an opportunity for almost any water sport. It is paradise for those who wish to swim, scuba dive, snorkel, water-ski, kayak and potter about in boats. The salt free water is a bonus. The tide and current free waters make for good sailing and small boats are available at most lake shore lodges. Furthermore, the lake gives opportunities of boat trips which include fishing along the way. If only one pleasure trip is to be taken, it should be out to the Lake Malawi National Park. Brightly colored fish are easily visible through crystal clear water, and feed from any hand placed in water holding bread or biscuit.
The lake provides best holiday avenues to those who seek memorable vacations. Fringed by beaches of golden sand, it provides families the opportunity for holiday, that gives an eternal memory. This is why the beaches of Lake Malawi has proven to be the best place for honeymoon in Africa and the world at large. It is not only a scenic wonderland but it provides water sport opportunities for those looking for something beyond the sun, sand and swimming. For family and friends vacation, the beaches host volleyball, soccer and braii.
The beaches are complemented by best luxurious accommodation places in the world. One of such is Lake Malawi national park. This encompasses the sandy beaches and granite islands of Malawi’s Cape Maclear peninsula, at the southern end of Lake Malawi. The park is home to eco-lodges and traditional fishing villages with facilities for snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking available. Other lodges such as makokola resort, hosts high profile business meetings so that delegates relax with the lake view during break.
Ministry of Tourism has said the lake will be used to develop other tourism products such as cultural and heritage tourism, wildlife tourism, water based adventure, golfing and international shopping malls. In the latest development, the Airport Development Limited (ADL) released a report that the Malawi government has approved money to build an airport at Likoma Island. This is likely to change the landscape of the tourism industry in the country and Africa at large. The Malawi Investment forum has also opened investment opportunities for local foreign enterprises who can take advantage of this “most go” place in Africa. The lake is an ideal place for aqua-research institutions, the hospitality industry, cultural tourism and food processing industries among others.