In this guest blog from Likoma Island Divers, a recognised PADI resort, we look at why the Lake Malawi waters surrounding Likoma Island offer some of the best diving experiences in the country.
Not very many people know of this untouched, mostly unexplored area of water. Set at an altitude of 500m above sea level and with a max depth of 700+m Lake Malawi is the 9th largest fresh water lake in the world and thought to be the most diverse fresh water environment on the planet. With amazing bolder fields dropping down in the abyss, clear waters, minimal currents and over 1000 different species of fish life inhabiting the area it is no wonder the lake is a perfect place for both beginners and those who want to explore the unknown.
Probably the most well known are the Cichlids, these tropical coloured fish can be found globally in fresh water aquariums but here we have them living free in their natural environment. Certain types of Cichlids are very interesting in the way they look after their offspring, with the young living in their mothers mouth until old enough to fend for themselves, hence the name mouth-brooders. This can be seen while diving normally in the shallower areas, on approach to a school of young the mother will open her mouth to allow all the young to seek cover and once in she will close up to protect them. If you have the patience you can wait in bubbly silence till she is once again comfortable, she will open her mouth and let these little guys come swimming out, this is great for those who like photography and capture something not many have. Another interesting observation of the sand dwelling species is the way they make their nest, moving mouthful-by-mouthful sand to create sometime 4/5m in circumference craters around 50cm deep. These nests are then constantly maintained throughout the nesting period and are found at depths between 5-10m. After this the male will gain his full breeding colours ready to find his perspective mate.
Other species include the African catfish, which make their home under rock in the deeper areas and venture into the shallows at night. The females will make a hole under a rock to bring up her young and if you are lucky enough you can get close enough and see all of these beautiful little young catfish hiding behind, protected by sometimes as big as 1.5m adults.
Likoma Island is considered one of the best diving on the lake and with no other dive centre in the area Likoma Island Divers can guarantee you that, other than our groups you can enjoy relaxed dives with not another group in sight, giving great opportunity to spend time finding the hundreds of swim throughs, taking pictures and enjoying this diverse environment. We also offer a wide variety of PADI courses ranging from Skin Diving, DSD/ Open water courses, to full Divemaster/ Assistant Instructor training, with specialties like; Deep diver, Altitude Diver, Recreational Sidemount, Self reliant Diver and much more.
Our centres are located on a 5* Resort, Kaya Mawa, with service second to none and secluded beach chalets perfect for families and couples that want their own little quiet piece of paradise. The Island really has something for everyone including a range of other water activities including kite boarding, wakeboarding and water skiing, for any non- divers visiting. All in all a wonderful African experience both in and out of the water, come relax with us and take in the sunshine, H20 and starry night skies.
Learn more about Likoma Island here.
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