This week’s scuba destination spotlight is one that most people never knew was an option for scuba divers. Its not the most accessible and easy to get to destination in our series, but that on its own makes Lake Malawi pretty attractive for the more adventurous divers. Running nearly the entire length of the Eastern Africa country of Malawi, with a giant ferry running regularly up and down the lake to each of the little villages along the way.
Scuba Diving Lake Malawi
To get to Malawi, most people will fly into the capital of Lilangwe, and to get the the coastal villages you would rent a car or take local transportation from there. Malawi should be safe if you use common sense, but there isn’t a whole lot of infrastructure if you are looking for luxury. You will however be able to find suitable hotels or budget accommodation where ever you decide to go.
Besides flying directly into Malawi, it is also common for backpackers and travelers to cross over the borders from Tanzania, Zambia or Mozambique, in fact that is how I entered the country. After scuba diving Mozambique, I took public transport north and crossed into Malawi, and then headed to Monkey Bay, at the southern end of the Lake. After a few days there I took the Ilala ferry north to the end of the lake, and then took buses to the border of Tanzania.
Even though scuba diving Lake Malawi is an awesome experience, the industry and infrastructure just isn’t developed hardly at all. But luckily in Monkey Bay, as well as other coastal villages, you can usually find a hotel or guest house that either offers diving, or knows who does. There was a PADI instructor from UK who was living in Monkey Bay, who was happy to have a customer and take me exploring underwater.
Have you ever seen a African Cichlid at your local aquarium fish store? These popular fish are almost exclusively imported from Lake Malawi. These fish are neon and nearly glow in the dark, and are cool to see in their natural habitat. You won’t see the normal reefs and critters that you can expect from our other destination spotlights, but the lake is good for its unique fish, rock formations, and crystal clear waters, oh and don’t forget you won’t be diving with big crowds, intact, you’ll probably have the whole giant lake to yourself!
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