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Scuba diving in Malawi

With some of the best freshwater diving in the world, Malawi is the perfect country for fine-tuning your scuba skills. Expect to see fascinating endemic species and interesting rock formations.
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Diving in Malawi

Quick facts

Malawi is reputedly home to some of the best freshwater diving in the world. The large Lake Malawi is perfect for all levels of diver and especially suited to those beginning their scuba adventure or learning new skills. It has very little current and no swells. In addition, it is home to interesting rock formations and is unexpectedly colorful, with hundreds of species of cichlids buzzing around its clear waters.

The diving in Lake Malawi can be split into two different regions. The first is Nkharta Bay which hosts 11 different sites on the middle west coast of the lake. The second is Lake Malawi National Park which is further to the south. Here divers can enjoy sites around Mumbo Island, Domwe Island, and Cape Maclear Nature Reserve. The lake does bottom out at 2300 feet (700 meters), but most diving is done above 65 feet (20 meters). However, there are a few advanced dives which include tunnel swim throughs as well as one penetrable wreck. With that said, most of the dives in the lake are completed around rock formations and sandy bottoms. You won’t find any coral reefs here, but you will probably be surprised by the number of colorful fish in this freshwater environment. Companies access the dive sites from shore as well as by boat.

Diving in Lake Malawi is possible year-round. The summer months (November to April) are warm and stormy while the winter months (May to September) are cool and dry. Water temperatures range from 73 to 86°F (23 to 30°C) and at most times, visibility is approximately 50-65 feet (15-20 meters). The most interesting time of year for diving in the lake is from September to December. At this time, the many endemic species of cichlid begin their complex mating rituals. Their mouth brooding is fascinating to watch. Whether its your first freshwater dive or one of many, you are sure to make unforgettable memories during your dives into Lake Malawi.

When to go

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Pricing on request
Pricing on request
Pricing on request
Pricing on request
Pricing on request

What to see

Over 500 species of fish are found in Lake Malawi, giving it more fish species than any other lake in the world. In addition, more than 90% of these species are thought to be endemic. Most of the fish are colorful cichlids which is why many visitors claim diving here is like diving in the middle of an aquarium. Over 1500 varieties of cichlids in Lake Malawi have been described. A few of the most sought after include the Cobalt Zebra and Mumbo Yellow. The rock dwelling Mbuna cichlids of Lake Malawi National Park also create a colorful sight. In addition to these rainbow creatures, a large population of catfish and dolphin fish can be found in the Lake Malawi.


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Most likely sightingsPossible sightings
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