As well as Lake Malawi itself, rivers and smaller lakes and reservoirs provide varied fishing opportunities in Malawi. Light tackle will cover most situations and some equipment may be available for hire at the lodges, though it’s always best to bring your own.
The majority of the 1000 or so species in Lake Malawi are small tropical aquarium fish, mbuna. However, sungwa (perch), ngumbo (lake yellow-fish), mpasa (lake salmon), sanjika (smaller relative of lake salmon), ncheni (lake tiger), kampango (catfish) and vundu (catfish) offer interesting possibilities. Fishing is year round but best between September and April.
The best river fishing is usually off banks of reeds and heavy weed beds. The Bua river, running through the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, is excellent for salmon with the Luweya, Lufira and North Rukuru not far behind. In the Lower Shire Valley, below the Kapichira Falls on the southern boundary of the Majete Wildlife Reserve, tiger fish are abundant, joined further down by vundu and barbel as the river broadens. Heavier tackle and a boat are needed here. Dry season fishing between May and November is possible on the Lower Shire.
The streams and dams of Zomba Plateau, Mount Mulanje and Nyika Plateau are well stocked with rainbow trout. Only fly fishing is permitted, with flies tied on single hooks. The season is September to April. At Chimwenya Game Park, just outside of Blantyre, Lake Bvumbwe offers a leisurely opportunity to fish for wide mouth bass and tilapia.
Places offering Fishing
Chimwenya Game Park is a serene, beautiful and privately owned 500 acre game park, in one of the last remaining indigenous forests inteh Shire HIghlands.
Chintheche offers some of the best beaches on Lake Malawi, with a collection of luxury lodges right by the shore.
Likoma Island sits on the far side of the Lake Malawi in Mozambican waters. The island is home to stunning beaches and lodges, with access by boat or aircraft.
Majete Wildlife Reserve is a unique conservation and tourist destination for all visitors. An amazing success story of recovery and restoration, and now home to the Big 5.
The Mangochi Lakeshore is a strip of southern Lake Malawi where many popular hotels and resorts offer beachside accommodation.
Mount Mulanje is Malawi's highest peak. At 10000ft (3000m), Mulanje dwarfs all that surrounds it. It lies to the east of Blantyre and is easily accessible.
Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is one of the two large wildlife areas in Central Malawi. A true wilderness, it has a promising future after recent mass restocking.
Nyika is Malawi’s largest park. Superb wildlife and landscapes in one, it offers breathtaking, unique, scenery combined with wonderful safaris.
Salima is an important service and trading centre set back from Lake Malawi whilst Senga Bay has a stretch of sandy beach with a range of hotels, lodges and campsites.
Tea has been grown at Thyolo, south-east of Blantyre, since 1908 and the primly trimmed bushes (strictly, trees) give the whole area the appearance of a neatly kept but vast garden.
Known for its views, Zomba Plateau is a great slab of a mountain with vast tracts of cedar, pine and cypress and criss-crossed by streams with tumbling waterfalls and still lakes.
Malawi has such beautiful and varied scenery throughout, that walking and trekking is popular at pretty much any location, even along the lakeshore.
There are a few places around Malawi where horse riding can be enjoyed – scenic locations that can be leisurely explored on horseback.
The change in scene over relatively short distances, and the varied terrain, make Malawi a great country for cycling.
With its variety of mountains and highlands, it's no surprise that Malawi has a few places that can offer some great climbing experiences.