Lake Malawi: The Boater’s Paradise

Malawi hasn’t taken the top of any tourism lists in recent years, or perhaps ever. That’s not to say though that it isn’t well deserving of the tourism that it doesn’t actually receive. Many people might not even know where Malawi is, which warrants a bit of an explanation.

Malawi is a country in southern Africa and it shares a border with Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe, among a few others. It’s not that easy to find on a map either as it’s a long sliver of land—not unlike Chile but smaller and landlocked. Like much of Africa, Malawi was once part of the British Colonial Empire (and as a result most people there still speak English making it a convenient choice for anyone able to read and understand this blog). During the colonial area, the wealthy, colonial elite often spend their holidays on the shores on the region’s gem: Lake Malawi, from which the country obvious gets its name (though in the past it was called Nyalaland).

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The lake is one of the largest in southern Africa and to this day offers one of the best experiences of freshwater lakes in the world. The lake is so vast and fruitful that for tens of thousands of years it has been inhabited by humans—in fact, it’s one of the oldest regions that has been inhabited by humans, dating back scores of thousands of years before the invention of writing and the rise of the Indus Valley or Mesopotamian civilisations. The lakes are so huge that you will certainly need to prepare with some weight lifting for kayaking before attempting to cross one at any sort of pace.

Its waters have provided, and still continue to provide, fisherman with enough food to feed themselves and their communities, while still being able to sell their excesses catches on the market. Traditional methods of fishing are also still practised and like most methods of farming, hunting and fishing developed before the Industrial Revolution they are sustainable.

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As it’s not always the easiest place to get to, I can recommend flying to South Africa and then from there catching any number of daily flights to Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe. It’s quite the journey, but the experience will be one that lasts a lifetime and the boating there can hardly be matched anywhere else in the world.