Malawi, landlocked as it is, might not jump into your mind as the most obvious of beach destinations. However, the spectacular freshwater Lake Malawi (sometimes known as the Lake of Stars, for its reflection of the stars at night) ticks all the boxes for a relaxing beach holiday: miles of golden sandy beaches lapped by crystal clear waters, sheltered coves and inlets, glorious tropical fish and a wide variety of watersports.
Lake Malawi works very well in combination with a Zambia safari (Malawi itself is not a traditional safari destination).
Lake Malawi: activities
A good range of watersports are available on the lake, including sailing, kayaking and scuba diving (the lake is as deep as 700m in places - below sea level!), not to mention swimming and snorkelling in the crystal clear waters, or lounging in a hammock on the beach. There are plenty of tiny islands to explore. Likoma Island also offers cathedral tours, visits to community projects and mountain biking trails.
Lake Malawi: where to stay
Our favourite lodge in the area is Kaya Mawa Lodge, surrounded by mango trees and ancient baobabs at the head of a bay on Likoma Island. Build using locally sourced materials and surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of Lake Malawi, Kaya Mawa is authentically African and perfect for a holiday of total relaxation. In 2014 it was awarded a Condé Nast Gold Award as a top 5 beach hotel.