The country’s treasure, Lake Malawi, has once again made it into the top most tourist attraction places in Africa, with a review by online directory www.org.com, rating it among ten places to go to in 2016 in Africa.
Southern African countries dominate the list on the website, with South Africa alone being mentioned twice.
“The New York Times recently published their annual list of 52 places to go to in 2016. Seeing that there were only a handful of destinations from Africa in the past few years, we decided to put together our own list of our favourite cities, countries, and attractions on the continent. Maybe you can visit one of these majestic places this year,” reads a post on the website supporting the list.
Despite Lake Malawi being on number 10, the website has hailed the freshwater body for being home to “more than a thousand species of African cichlid.”
A National Geographic Traveler, Andrew Evans, is quoted on the website describing the beauty of Lake Malawi.
“At 300 miles long and almost 300 miles wide, Lake Malawi is one of the largest in Africa, boasting a unique aquatic ecosystem that contributes to such a diverse palette of fish life. Today, catching and collecting aquarium fish remains a small but regular industry for those who live near Lake Malawi.
“I spent a good day splashing among the marvellous fish of Lake Malawi as they swam contentedly in their native habitat. I loved the dream-like sensation of plunging myself into the world’s original freshwater aquarium and meeting one fish after another, and all of them so different,” says Evans.
Despite a majestic lake stretching through its eastern border that gives way to beautiful beaches, Malawi is less-travelled.
Named one of the top 10 places to go in the world in 2014 by Lonely Planet, the country is also a lesser known destination on the travel guide’s annual list, which includes Brazil, Sweden and the Seychelles.
Malawi has numerous attractions, though it hasn’t become a booming destination like Tanzania, Kenya or South Africa.
In response to the international recognition and exposure the lake continues to attract, the Ministry of Tourism has said it is mapping out all tourist attraction sites along the lake.
In an interview, Director of Tourism, Patricia Liabuba said the Ministry wants to turn the lakeshore area into a major hub for tourism targeting Karonga, Rumphi, Nkhatabay/Chintheche, Nkhotakota, Salima and Mangochi.
“Lake Malawi has received international recognition as Africa’s top 10 tourists’ destination based on its uniqueness as a fresh water lake with its clean, Sandy golden beaches; unspoilt islands; and hosting the first fresh water marine park (Lake Malawi National Park) with over 1000 species of ornamental ‘mbuna’ fish which is unique to lake Malawi.
“This park offers a unique freshwater diving experience. In addition, the major international tourists’ accommodation is boutique style eco-based, offering the Malawian warm hospitality.”
Liabuba added that the Ministry is currently mobilizing resources to carry out a mapping exercise of potential tourists’ sites and to further zone the areas for tourism development.
She said the project will also see the development of a tourism development master plan which will be a long term strategy.
Added Liabuba: “The lake will be the nucleus to further develop other tourism products such as cultural and heritage tourism, wildlife tourism, lake cruises and boating, water based adventure tourism, mountain tourism, water theme parks, health tourism, agri-tourism, golfing, international shopping malls and other soft adventure tourism products.”
Botswana tops the list for being home to the largest elephant population in Africa, the glistening waterways of the Okavango Delta, and the vast skies above the stark salt pans of the Kalahari Desert.
Mozambique comes second due to “its Mediterranean-style architecture, waterside setting and wide avenues lined with jacaranda and flame trees, Maputo is easily one of Africa’s most attractive capitals,” while Mount Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania comes third.
South Africa’s Cape Town is fourth while Johannesburg is sixth on the list with Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park taking the fifth spot.
Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda takes the seventh position followed by Nosy Be in Madagascar while Nairobi, Kenya trails on position nine. Lake Malawi is on position ten.