Discovering the failed to remember islands of Lake Malawi: the Marelli island chain


Having been included lately in David Attenborough’s most recent spectacular nature collection for the BBC, all eyes get on Lake Malawi presently. The Africa ending of ‘Seven Worlds, One Planet’ concentrated on the remarkable fish located in the lake and also there is no place much better to check out those than the islands of the Lake Malawi National Park. So, in this blog site we laid out to uncover even more concerning a collection of obscure islands in Malawi’s the Lake of Stars!

The Marelli Islands absolutely tick package when it involves taking a trip out of the ordinary, ignored from lots of maps of Malawi or highlighted as unlabelled pinpricks simply off Salima’s coast. Much much better recognized in the Lake Malawi National Park is the flourishing Cape Maclear, with close-by Thumbi, Domwe & Mumbo Islands. Yet the Marellis’ 3 rough outcrops climb over this terrific lake’s surface area, creating a remote place for animals, vegetation & bordering water life. Join us on a photo trip as we uncover Nankoma, Maleri and also Nakatenga Islands.

Pictured listed below is the Marelli island chain, revealing Nankoma Island (65 ha) initially, Maleri Island (168 ha) 2nd and also Nakatenga Island (18 ha) 3rd.

Boundaries of the globe’s initial freshwater national forest were developed in 1980. This was mostly for the security of the interesting varieties of fish: Cichlids, as seen on the BBC lately and also referred to as “an animal that would have amazed Darwin if only he’d known about it” (Ben Crair). In 1984, Lake Malawi National Park was stated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, advertising that “its importance for the study of evolution is comparable to that of the finches of the Galapagos Islands”. Aquarists worldwide are crazed by Cichlids, however watching them in a container is absolutely nothing in contrast to swimming among them in an all-natural fish tank: Lake Malawi.

While numerous Cichlids are native to the island to Lake Malawi, there are additionally Cichilds native to the island to the Marelli Islands themselves. Commonly detected are the Mbuna (‘rock-fish), of which lots of are blue with stunning tones of blue-green, nicknamed the “Blue Zebra”.

Adopting its name from those rainbowlike fish, in 2013 a tiny safari design lodge opened up on Nankoma Island: Blue Zebra Island Lodge, enabling a unique chance for individuals to experience the stunning all-natural appeal and also wild animals of the Marelli Archipelago. The lodge occupies just a portion of Nankoma Island, operating sustainably to make certain a considerate interaction with the island’s all-natural citizens, safeguarding all animals. Every visitor makes a monetary payment in the direction of security of the islands via the Department of National Parks and also Wildlife.

Even though Nankoma exists just 2 hrs from Lilongwe airport terminal and also a 20 min watercraft trip from the coast, site visitors that make that very easy trip will certainly discover a really wild island heaven “straight out of a fairy-tale with Jurassic Baobab trees and eagles everywhere” – Actress, Scottie Thompson. For the very best methods to be submersed in nature at the Marelli Islands, the adhering to leading tasks are readily available:

Nature tracks

The primary route around Nankoma Island is 2.3km, with numerous courses over the top of the island. With tracks broadening, you will certainly quickly have the ability to discover the obscure Maleri Island, with a brief watercraft trip or kayak throughout to the start-point of longer tracks.

It’s an unique sensation strolling amongst Nankoma Island’s ‘skyscrapers’: gigantic baobab trees that have actually stood the examination of time. In Chichewa, a baobab is mlambe, baobabs: mulambe, and also their ‘super fruit’: malambe. Malambe costs a high cost in the western globe, yet on Nankoma there is no financial worth and also after the rainfalls, fruits spread throughout Malambe Trail, offering a healthy dish for island citizens.

Looping along you get to the marvelous old fig tree, making the highest human feeling little. A sanctuary in the evening for bush children and also fruit bats.

By day, you might see strange looking trumpeter hornbills whacking their beaks versus bark, delighting in figs and also babbling away to every various other. Their startling phone call has actually been misinterpreted for a child sobbing, and also usually compared to buffooning giggling.

Early risers occasionally stumble upon the island’s tiny resident antelope: duiker and also bushbuck, though they are evasive. Other discoveries consist of flap-necked chameleons, blue-tailed and also rainbow Skinks, Nile display reptiles, and also varied varieties of birds. The water thick knee is called the island overview, scuttling along the route before visitors, as if leading them around the island.


Malawi is globe renowned for birdwatching. The nation flaunts over 650 various varieties of birds, 10 % of which are indigenous varieties non-existent anywhere else on the world.  Lake Malawi gives an excellent environment for bird life, with the greatest focus of African fish eagle (Malawi’s nationwide bird). The Islands sing with a variety of unique bird life, and also the cry of the African fish eagle is listened to over the remainder, regularly resembling throughout the skies over Nankoma Island.

The security used by its National Park and also UNESCO Heritage Site condition, paired with the truth that the islands are un-inhabited, separated and also without apes has actually given an unusual all-natural place and also reproducing ground for birds. With over 350 varieties detected at the islands, prominent discoveries consist of little-bee eaters & hamerkops, copper sunbirds, Burchell’s coucal, pied kingfishers, owls, storks and also various varieties of swifts, yeast infections, weavers and also spinetails.

Aquatic life

There are lots of methods to discover the islands, however the very best possibilities to stand up near water life are diving, snorkelling and also kayaking. Identifying a Cichlid in Lake Malawi is a tough art as they are extremely varied in regards to dimension, colouration, behavior, and also ecology.

With sufficient method, nevertheless, their distinctive markings and also qualities end up being a lot more recognisable. Divers have additionally seen varieties of catfish, eels, crabs and also rainbow fish.

If you’re fortunate, you might additionally stumble upon spotted-neck otters which have actually located security around the islands!

Photographs repaint just component of the photo – the all-natural appeal and also complete stimulating experience can just correctly be valued face to face. The Marelli Islands provide the ideal vacation for nature fans searching for a mix of experience and also leisure in a tranquil, personal setup. Perhaps it’s finest summarized by a current site visitor, Alisha Keirstead:  “Nankoma Island is truly jungle paradise… The island has a rhythm, whereby you wake to active birdsong which lasts throughout the day, transitions briefly to frogs in the early evening, and changes to the lapping of lake waves and gentle hum of insects in the trees – falling asleep to nature’s soundtrack was an immense pleasure.”

Kelly White is Director of the Malawi Travel Marketing Consortium. Malawi Travel Marketing Consortium intends to give you with the very best details to make Malawi your tourist location.

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