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Diving/Snorkeling Lake Malawi

Diving/Snorkeling Lake Malawi

Old Sep 17, 18, 7:14 pm
  #1  
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Diving/Snorkeling Lake Malawi

My wife and I are looking to fill in the gaps in southern Africa we haven't visited and Malawi is high on our list, specifically diving, snorkeling, and camping Lake Malawi. Does anyone here have an experience with the lake (is it doable by ourselves, tour company recommendations, etc.) and getting there? I'm assuming Lilongwe is the easiest city to access from the lake, or do Moz/Tanz offer better/easier access?
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Old Sep 23, 18, 7:17 pm
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I have never been there but there is article in the July-September 2018 edition of Travel Africa Magazine that is all about this. The snorkeling looks amazing!
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Old Sep 24, 18, 4:36 am
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We lived in Malawi for a while and have snorkeled off Likoma Island once (beautiful cichlids but not much else to see). Cannot comment on snorkeling other places in the lake or diving)
The lake is beautiful but it does have bilharzia. Treatment (1 dose, by weight) is available in pharmacies in Malawi.

On Likoma Island we stayed at Mango Drift and splurged on 1 night on the honeymoon island at Kaya Mawa - great memories from both. This was in 2007 so not sure what is available today.

Happy to answer any more questions about Malawi - we loved living there.
(we will be traveling soon so answers may be a bit slow).

Karin.
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Old Sep 24, 18, 4:43 am
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Forgot to mention about access to the lake through Mozambique. We traveled in Mozambique from Mulanje in Malawi across to Ilha de Mozambique in January 2011. We used public transport and had a great time but the infrastructure is poor and regular bus service is not available on all roads. Things may be easier if you have your own transport (not sure about road conditions) and if there are flights available but this will probably cost a pretty penny.
I know of one lodge on the Mozambique side - Nkwichi Lodge ? Luxury Beach Lake Malawi. In 2007 we met someone traveling there and were told that most visitors come via Malawi.
I would opt for access from Malawi to see the lake.
Karin.
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Old Sep 25, 18, 10:56 am
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Originally Posted by CalmKaren View Post
We lived in Malawi for a while and have snorkeled off Likoma Island once (beautiful cichlids but not much else to see). Cannot comment on snorkeling other places in the lake or diving)
The lake is beautiful but it does have bilharzia. Treatment (1 dose, by weight) is available in pharmacies in Malawi.

On Likoma Island we stayed at Mango Drift and splurged on 1 night on the honeymoon island at Kaya Mawa - great memories from both. This was in 2007 so not sure what is available today.

Happy to answer any more questions about Malawi - we loved living there.
(we will be traveling soon so answers may be a bit slow).

Karin.
Thanks for your offer! Do you have any recommended "must do" activities in Malawi? Thanks!
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Old Sep 25, 18, 12:50 pm
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Originally Posted by dantorsiello View Post
Thanks for your offer! Do you have any recommended "must do" activities in Malawi? Thanks!
A lot of this info could be dated so good to double check.
It's hard to make a "not to miss" list as people prefer such different things but here are some comments:

Liwonde NP - this park is easy to get to and has various types of lodging

Nyika NP - a very special park but a bit more difficult to get to and only one lodge (Chelinda). It's very beautiful but on the spendy side.
Previously they have had self-catering cottages but not sure about now.

Vwaza NP - were there in 2003 so may have changed a lot. We stayed in thatched huts on cement foundations and the hippos wandered around us at night.

Majete NP has had good reviews but we haven't been. We would be keen to try it next time.

Mulanje - good for hiking. The area around is full of tea plantations. Various types of accommodation but not far from Blantyre so doable for day visits if staying there.

Zomba plateau - nice place for walks. Zomba town is nice as well.

Dedza - we've driven through and stopped for lunch - pretty place.

Livingstonia (northern Malawia, not at the lake). We lived here for 2 years so I am biased! A bit quaint perhaps but beautiful location.
Previously could be quite time-consuming to get to without private transport but they have started to pave the "back road" up so this could be changing.

The Lake - Likoma is lovely. The ferry doesn't go very often so a bit time-consuming. Flights can be expensive.
We've been to Chinteche (reasonably quiet), Nkhata Bay (busy) and Nkhotakota (only 1 night and not sad to leave)

Mua - an interesting place to visit - the Museum is good and if you get to meet the Fathers it can be fun.

The "difficult to get to" is based on our own travels which is mostly by public transport. We have hired a car a few times.
As with many countries, a healthy budget will make things easier and faster (hired cars, air travel).

Happy to answer more questions.
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Old Sep 26, 18, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by CalmKaren View Post
Majete NP has had good reviews but we haven't been. We would be keen to try it next time.
Majete is probably the most under-rated park in Southern Africa. Definitely worth the visit and easily doable as a day trip from Blantyre, or with multiple lodges in the park itself.
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Old Nov 21, 18, 6:06 am
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Originally Posted by B747-437B View Post
Majete is probably the most under-rated park in Southern Africa. Definitely worth the visit and easily doable as a day trip from Blantyre, or with multiple lodges in the park itself.
Yes, agreed. We had 4 days there 2 years ago. I wouldn't recommend it particularly as a first safari experience since there are few lion and the elephant tend to be unpredictable having been traumatised in the past, but if you want something different it's wonderful.

Fantastic birdlife and a lot of interesting small mammals. The crashing Shire River when the open the dams is spectacular. It's a hilly environment with a lot of tree and shrub cover, which is not found in many other parks anywhere in my experience.

We stayed here, which was a great luxury tented experience, sung to sleep by the hippos in the Shire every night...
https://www.robinpopesafaris.net/cam...madzi#overview

I know the lodge management has changed since we were there, so can't advise on that, but they were lovely people when we were there, with a very high standard of guiding.
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Old Nov 23, 18, 11:35 am
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BTW if you are going to swim in Lake Malawi or stay in one of the nice lodges in, say, Cape Maclear (e.g. Mgoza Lodge Mgoza Lodge which I recommend) and use the showers, I strongly recommend having a chat to your doctor around 3 months after return about screening (or being treated for regardless) schistosomiasis. A lot of people will tell you it isn't a problem in their local area, by some strange co-incidence, but a colleague of mine in Infectious Diseases has collected a huge series of infected UK travellers returning to Cambridge.
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