Lake Malawi National Park, Malawi
Lake Malawi national park is a national park at the southern end of Lake Malawi in the Republic of Malawi. The park is the only national park that was established for the purpose of protecting the aquatic life like fish. Besides protecting the aquatic life, Lake Malawi national park includes a fair amount of land like the headland, the foreshore and several small rocky islands in Lake Malawi.
Established in November 1980, Lake Malawi national park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 for being a global importance for the biodiversity conservation due to particularly its fish diversity. Other attributes of the park besides the aquatic life include the outstanding natural beauty of the area alongside its craggy landscape that contrasts with the clear waters of the lake.
Lake Malawi national park covers an area of approximately 95 square kilometers of land and water at the southern end of the lake. Lake Malawi is located in the Great Rift Valley and it is 500 m above the sea level with a depth of 700 m. The lake is one of the deepest lakes in the world. With 95 square kilometers of land, Lake Malawi national park consists of the Nankumbu Peninsula, a mountainous headland that projects northwards into the lake terminating in cape Maclear, the surrounding areas of the water, Mwenya Hills, Nkhudzi Hills, Nkhudzi Spit and other 3 islands of Otter, Domwe, Thumbi West, Zimbabwe, Thumbi East, Mpanda, Boadzulu, Chinyankhwazi Rock, Chinyamwezi Rock, Nankoma, Maleri, Nakantenga and Mumbo.
Fauna of the park
Formed several years ago, Lake Malawi’s water level has fluctuated greatly over the millennia which have made a number of different niches available to the cichlid s and the other fish living there. Its estimated that the number of cichlid living in Lake Malawi is more than 700 and all these species are nearly endemic.
Besides the fish species, Lake Malawi national park is a home to a number of mammal species including the chacma baboons, hippos, vervet monkeys, common duikers, bushbucks, klipspringers, greater kudus, crocodiles and others.
Lake Malawi national park is one of the best destinations for birding. Sight these beautiful and colorful species along the shores and banks of Lake Malawi. Among the birds at the park include the African fish eagles, white breasted cormorants, kingfishers, hornbills, nightjars, kestrels, swallow tailed bee – eaters and many others.
Best time to visit the park
Lake Malawi national park can be visited all year round but the best time is during the dry season which runs from the months of April/May through October/November. At that time, game viewing is at its best due to low vegetation and the animals gather at the water shores. Also in this season, the grounds of the park are always not slippery and thus making the movement for different experiences easier. However, bird watching is good in the park in November through April.