Scuba Diving in Lake Malawi, 1 of the Greatest Fresh Water Diving Locations in the Globe

Scuba Diving in Lake Malawi, 1 of the Greatest Fresh Water Diving Locations in the Globe

As the sunshine bakes down on the glistening surface area of Lake Malawi, a few divers arise shut to the rocky outcrop of Masimbwe Island, a dive web page off Likoma Island in Lake Malawi. Bursting with exhilaration they return to the boat, take out their package and talk about the fish they spotted on the limited journey back again to shore. With unspoilt white beaches and pure blue h2o stretching as much as the eye can see, you constantly remind yourself that you are not diving in the Caribbean, but in the 3rd largest lake in Africa. Collectively with about 1000 distinctive species of Cichlid fish, as nicely as cat fish and even otters, it is no marvel Lake Malawi has been cited as one of the very best fresh new h2o diving spots in the environment.

Malawi is a landlocked place in the Southern Region of Africa and is bordered by Tanzania to the north, Zambia to the west and Mozambique to the east and south. The landscape is dominated together its eastern aspect by the 3rd major Lake in Africa, and the ninth largest in the environment. Lake Malawi is regarded as the Lake of Stars, thanks to its remarkable means to mirror the star’s constellations at evening in its crystal obvious new waters. The lake is of considerable relevance to the nation not only as a means of transportation but also as a source of the two food and drinking water. As a Scuba diver, its significance lays in its remarkable abundance of different fish species- building it the most biologically numerous new drinking water environment in the environment.

Lake Malawi incorporates a higher range of indigenous species (about 1000) of Cichlid fishes than any other lake. Scientists have determined more than 500 species to date that are endemic to Lake Malawi, which is far more than all of the freshwater species identified in all the waters of equally Europe and North The usa. The Cichlids of Lake Malawi, maybe even a lot more so than the Cichlids from the other two rift lakes, Victoria and Tanganyika, are brightly colored and patterned. Cichlids have evolved from a solitary common species into the hundreds discovered these days, coexisting within the lake ecosystem. The variable species have formulated differential feeding methods to maximise productiveness. Some species have formulated teeth specialised in scraping algae from the rocks, or aquatic plants. Others use a sand filtration approach to sieve aquatic animals or invertebrates from the sand. Also observed are species specialised in snail, plant and fish usage.

A person of the most interesting phenomena found on dives is the protective character of the mouthbreeders, built renowned in the BBC documentary sequence ‘Planet Earth’. The Cichlids of Lake Malawi are among the a comparatively smaller number of fishes that glance after and defend their offspring. The mothers have their eggs and fry in their mouths until finally the juveniles are big more than enough to fend for by themselves. Even at this phase, in many species, the newborn fry continue to be shut to their mom in a tight shoal when at the 1st sign of predatory hazard, she opens her mouth and the whole brood are taken in for basic safety. In the scenario of many of the mouthbreeders, the males show no parental care immediately after spawning, they shift on to locate yet another feminine. Usually divers can see the males dig large spawning pits- huge round craters – in the sand, at h2o depths of all-around 2-20 meters (6-65 feet), in purchase to catch the attention of even further girls.

Other species in Lake Malawi have formulated some quite exceptional looking adaptations, which make them fun to notice while diving. At least two species entice compact fish within range by feigning dying and lying motionless in the sand! These have been presented the nickname of “The engage in-lifeless fish.” A single of the premier fish that can be found even though diving is the Kampango. Increasing up to 2m in length, the Kampango is a huge, territorial and predatory catfish endemic to Lake Malawi, occurring from the lower reaches of rivers to the deepest habitable sections of the lake. A nocturnal predator, it feeds largely on lesser cichlids. Juveniles predominantly feed on eggs unveiled by the female, and when somewhat more mature, the male helps the youthful in looking for invertebrates in and all around the nesting website, which the two parents will protect. If you are lucky ample to uncover a catfish pair with toddlers, you will see correctly shaped miniature catfish – up to 80 of them in a single nest! The Kampango is inquisitive and will solution divers coming into its territory, specifically when breeding.

Lake Malawi is a clean water environment as a end result there is no coral advancement on the reefs. Nevertheless, that does not imply to say there is no plant life. Lake Malawi boasts an endemic genus and species of freshwater sponge, Malawispongia echinoides. This minimal colonial animal occurs nowhere else on earth.

About just one third of the lakes’ coast is rocky, which is dwelling to the vegetarian cichlids, the Mbuna, as properly as the occasional refreshing water eel. These underwater rock formations make for spectacular dive web pages together with countless swim throughs and fall-off partitions. The rest of the coastline is characterised by sandy seashores and bottoms. This is exactly where the bulk of the open-water piscivores (take in other fish), named Haps, dwell. A few Cichlid species inhabit the muddy and weed-strewn bottom exactly where much larger rivers move into the lake.

Lake Malawi is abnormal in that it does not have tides or significantly powerful currents, building it a great natural environment for open up h2o instruction. Diving is possible all 12 months spherical. Even so, in between August and November, the lake is at its calmest, with extremely little wind. Drinking water temperatures can rise up to 30 Degrees Celsius throughout this time, with visibility as very good as 20 metres. With these circumstances, 3-5mm wetsuits with small or no fat units are flawlessly appropriate in this freshwater paradise. Provided that Lake Malawi sits at nearly 500m higher than sea level, exclusive treatments are demanded when diving at altitude.

Night diving is certainly regarded as a distinctive experience in the lake. Dolphin fish, resembling very little like their names sake, can be found using the torch light of divers to facilitate an uncomplicated food. Quite a few unique catfish can also be observed increasing from the depths of their daytime lairs in search of food items. In the shallower waters a myriad of blue crabs can be found on the sandy bottom, whilst a sharp eye can location very small contemporary h2o shrimp situated in and all-around the rocky boulders.

For those days that divers desire to keep topside there is normally something to do on Lake Malawi. Kaya Mawa, an award-successful lodge on Likoma Island, provides activities for its visitors, these as sailing, kayaks, bicycles, waterskiing and wakeboarding, round island boat trips and quad bicycle excursions. For the 2012 season, Malawi’s very first Kite-surfing college has also opened. For all those eager on birdwatching, Lake Malawi is a haven for hundreds of species. If you are lucky, you may location the crimson-rumped waxbill, discovered only on Likoma Island, or the Majestic Fish Eagle, swooping down to capture it is really prey.

There are numerous global airlines that fly into Malawi, like South African Airways, Kenyan Airways, Air Malawi and Ethiopian Airways. Inside transportation is possible by bus, taxi, rental vehicle, inside flight providers (Ulendo Airlink) and the Ilala ferry, that travels a continuous route around the Lake.