Scuba Diving schools, Lake Malawi
Scuba Diving schools, Lake Malawi Reviews
Scuba diving all along Lake Malawi Jun 04, 2011
Having worked in Malawi as a dive instructor, I thought I'd give an overview of where to go for some good freshwater diving in the lake.
Starting in the south...
Frogman Divers - This used to be Scuba Shack until it was taken over by a South African named Rob, who had been living in Cape Mac for years and instructing for Kayak Africa. He has trained a wonderful Malawian up to instructor level, and between the 2 of them they run an excellent PADI dive school providing courses up to Divemaster, as well as recreational dives. Cape Mac offers a great variety of diving off Thumbi Island. You can see amazing fish at "The Aquarium", swim through a 12m tunnel at "Baker's Oven" and play on a wreck, "The Usipa". A great spot if you're only planning on diving one location on the lake, or want to do a course with a variety of dives.
Danforth Yachting - Danforth offers beautiful accommodation in Cape Mac, as well as yacht charters/sunset cruises. They have a dive school, but contact them in advance, as they often do not allow outside divers in while their in-house guests are doing a course.
Aquanuts Dive School - This dive school is located at Kande Beach backpackers in the Kande area. This is about 60km south of Nkhata Bay in the north. Aqaunuts has very recently been taken over by an awesome couple who are really motivated and love diving. Justin and Joy will provide you with excellent service in a very well-established dive school. This is one of the most professional setups on the lakeshore and you won't be disappointed if you do a course through them. The dive sites are a bit limited, so if you only want to do 1 or 2 dives, you'll be fine here. Kande Beach is a great place to stay while you're doing your course.
Aqua Africa - Another excellent dive school, also recently sold to some old Malawi hands, Tom and Janey (who own Mabuya Backpacker's in Lilongwe). Aqua Africa has been in Nkhata Bay forever and is extremely busy. They run set courses, so book in advance. The dive sites are also varied in Nkhata Bay, and they do excellent night dives. 100% great service and value.
Mango Drift Divers - an instructor couple run this dive school in paradise. Also a PADI dive school, they are well-equipped and religious about standards. You will dive some beautiful dive sites here, including Masimbwe Island which has an amazing 40 metre drop-off down one side. The variety of sites is also good here, so spend a week and dive at leisure.
Wakwenda Retreat - the owner of Wakwenda, Nick, is a divemaster and will happily buddy up with you to lead you on some beautiful dives around the island he has called home for 17-odd years. The famous Taiwanee (which I have yet to dive!) is supposed to be spectacular, for advanced divers. Nick has equipment and a compressor, so stay for a while and enjoy the diving and the fabulous bar!
Diving in general:
Lake Malawi has some of the best freshwater diving in the world. Clear, warm water and the biggest variety of freshwater cichlids in the world have made it an extremely popular destination for divers. Personally, I love the giant rock formations you find all over under the lake - you feel like you're flying alongside mountains at times.
There are no surprises in the lake, so expect a relaxing dive. You will see brightly coloured fish, huge catfish (up to 5 feet!), a few crabs and if you're lucky, the funky eels. I once saw a 6 foot eel on a night dive - quite scary, but it was more scared of us and shot away. I think we were lucky as I have only known of one other dive to have seen a big guy - they're normally around 10 inches long :)
Enjoy the lake!
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