Lake Malawi offers warm, clear and calm freshwater diving. This in itself is a good enough reason to dive the lake, but in addition to this the lake is blessed with the amazing Cichlid tropical fish.

Diving in Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi is famed for the abundance and diversity of its fish life and holds a greater array of freshwater fish species (over 1 000) than any other lake on Earth and more than all of Europe and North America combined. The majority of these are colourful fish called cichlids (their local name is mbuna) of which the Lake contains more than 400 types, 30% of all known species. Other fish species such as chambo form the primary protein source of the people that live on the lakeshore and beyond.

Much of this astounding underwater diversity is protected within the Lake Malawi National Park at Cape Maclear in the southern part of the Lake, the first park in the world set aside for the protection of freshwater fish and a World Heritage Site.

Cichlids - Diving in Lake Malawi

Dive Sites

Bakers Oven

Bakers Oven is a huge "swim-through" with multiple entry and exit points, with the deepest point being 15m. This dive gives the impression of a cavern dive, but with very few of the risks normally associated with cavern diving due to the multiple exit points and the ambient light. This dive really showcases one of the more exciting aspects of diving in the lake, namely diving through recesses between the massive granite boulders that constitute the underwater section of the islands.

The Aquarium

As its name suggests this is the place to see the fish! Scientists researching the remarkable Cichlids of Lake Malawi have routinely used the Aquarium as a dumping site for live fish captured for research from this and other parts of Lake Malawi. This has resulted in an amazing density and variety of fish at this site. It is a shallow, safe dive suitable for even the most inexperienced divers.

The Wreck

The wreck is a 15m steel hull sunk specifically for diving. It rests in 30m of water. Penetration is possible and is safe due to the simple layout of the superstructure. There are resident catfish and the ever-present Cichlids.

The Canyon

This site runs from 18m to 48m in depth, offering large drop-offs, pinnacles, boulders and swim-throughs. You find yourself in an underwater canyon with huge granite boulders and slabs towering over you. A truly spectacular dive.

Zimbawe Rock

This pinnacle is found 9kms from Cape Maclear in the deep waters of the lake. It thrusts almost vertically up from the lake bed offering huge drop-offs and an endless supply of maze like swim-throughs. This is for the experienced diver and an advanced certification is the minimum requirement to participate.