Five things you’ll love about Cape Maclear

There are very few places along Lake Malawi that can compare with Cape Maclear when it comes to beauty and things to do. From boat tours to hiking to simply sunbathing.

Cape Maclear, also known as Chembe, is a fishing village on the northern tip of Nankumba Peninsula on Lake Malawi. The village is located in the Lake Malawi National Park, the first freshwater national park in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lake Malawi World Heritage Site sign at the entrace to the park

World Heritage Site sign at the entrance to the Lake Malawi National Park

Here are some of the things you can do in Cape Maclear on a budget.

Visit Mwala wa Mphini

Mwala wa Mphini

Mwala wa Mphini, literally translated to Rock marked with traditional scars, is a natural geological formation along the road to the cape. The huge rock has grooves on its flat face that resemble tribal scarring. The patterns are believed to have been made by a geological event although there are many myths told about it. The rock is a national monument.

Take a boat ride

Cichlid fish in Lake Malawi

The water around Cape Maclear is home to hundreds of species of cichlid fish or mbuna. Almost all these species are endemic to Lake Malawi with a few other species found in Lakes Tanganyika and Victoria. A boat ride to Thumbi West island is a great way to see these fish in their natural environment, the rocky shorelines of the island. There are many boat operators in the cape. A list of registered operators is available from the national park gate.

Bird watching

African fish eagle on Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi National Park is home to a variety of birdlife including egrets, kingfishers and hornbills. The most popular is probably the African fish eagle. The eagles mainly live on the uninhabited Thumbi West island and spend the day hunting for fish in the bay. They live in pairs for life and are highly territorial.

Enjoy the sunset at Otter Point

Otter Point on Lake Malawi

Otter Point, as the name suggests, is famous for otter sightings. The otters in question are very elusive but you are likely to spot a few monkeys. A boat ride to the spot is a great way to catch a beautiful sunset.

Soak up the sun on the beach

sun bathing in Cape Maclear

If boat rides are not your thing, you can soak up the sun while taking a leisurely stroll along the beach. You are likely to meet vendors selling wood carvings, anything from personalised key rings to board games. Or you could visit any of the lodges along the beach, set up your beach chair and enjoy a serving of Chambo fish and chips.

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