Lake Nyasa

Lake Nyasa

Lake Nyasa (also known as Lake Malawi) is the third largest African Great Lake (after Lake Victoria and lake Tanganyika), the eighth largest lake in the world and has a total surface area of about 29,600 km?. It is 550 kilometers long and 75 kilometers wide. Lake Nyasa is situated between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania bordering all three. It is the second deepest lake in Africa and its tropical waters have more fish species than any other lake on Earth.

Lake Nyasa in the East African Rift Valley where the African tectonic plate is splitting in two (a divergent plate boundary). The lake was formed around 40,000 years ago.

David Livingstone was the first European to reach Lake Nyasa , arriving at its shores in 1859 and naming it Lake Nyasa. Much of the area surrounding the lake was subsequently claimed by the United Kingdom to form the colony of Nyasaland.

The Lake was the site of the first British Naval victory of World War I when, on August 16, 1914, the British gunboat Guendolen, commanded by Captain Rhoades, disabled the German Empire's only gunboat on the lake, the Hermann von Wissmann, commanded by Captain Berndt. The Guendolen disabled the Hermann von Wissmann with a single shot from a range of 2,000 yards.

The name of the lake is also disputed. Malawi claims the lake is 'Lake Malawi' while international maps and other countries (most notably Tanzania) name it 'Lake Nyasa'. It is also claimed that Livingstone's name 'Nyasa' came about as a result of a misunderstanding. Apparently he asked his staff to give him the name they said 'nyasa', without knowing that this is the local word for any large body of water.

The water in Lake Nyasa is typically alkaline with a pH of 7.7 ? 8.6. The lake water is generally warm, having a surface temperature that ranges from 24 ? 29 ?C and a deep level temperature of 22 ?C.

Matama Beach is on the northern shores of Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi). This beach is one of the most beautiful on the lake, which has been referred to as the most scenic body of water in Africa! Relatively undeveloped for tourism giving it an authentic feel (unlike the Malawian shores), this is a very relaxing destination and the lake water is blood warm and suitable for swimming. There are some interesting cultural excursions within the region, and lots of walking possibilities.

For more information on visiting Lake Nyasa, please contact us.

  • Minimum stay: 2 nights
  • Recommended Stay: night
  • How to get there: Drive
Where to stay

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    Serino Margaret

    United States of America, Jun 2013

  • We had a fantastic trip. Your excellent organisation, your guide - Max, was exemplary in every way, were major contributors to this. Many thanks for making ours, a trip of a lifetime.

    Richard Goldberg

    United Kingdom, Jun 2013

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    United Kingdom, Jan 2013

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    Maria Malkova

    France, Dec 2013

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    Katye Vytal

    United States of America, Jun 2013

  • The programme was excellent and we saw masses of game, less a leopard! So, entirely happy customers. Thank you for your efficient handling of the whole trip.

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    United Kingdom, Jan 2013

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    Jackie, David and Sarah

    Australia, Oct 2013