Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi is the southernmost Great Lake of the African Rift. Today, it is over 560 kilometres long, up to 80 kilometres wide and, thus, one of the largest lakes in the world. The lake's basin started forming 8.6 million years ago and the water body itself has reached deep water conditions in the early Pliocene. Lake Malawi is most famous for its cichlid fish fauna. It is also known to harbour endemic molluscs, ostracods and sponges.
Age (my) 3.65.5
Biogeographical region South-East Africa
Surface area (km2) 29,250
Altitude (m asl) 474
Maximum depth (m) 706
Mean depth (m) 292
Catchment area (km2) 116,200
Number of species  
Number of endemic species  
Key endemic taxa Cichlids, Mollusca, Ostracoda


Suggested readings:

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male Bellamya capillata (photograph: R. Schulthei├č)
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Lake Malawi at Cape Maclear (photograph: T. Geertz)
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Local fishermen in Malawi (photograph: T. Geertz)