World Heritage site

Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.


Located in the South-western part of Lake Malawi, Lake Malawi National Park is the smallest of Malawi’s National Parks but perhaps the most ecologically important.

Established in 1980, the park was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1984 in recognition of the outstanding universal values that it possesses. The park and the larger Cape Maclear area form a key tourism destination. The conservation and management of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) contributes greatly for the site made the site to be a sustainable tourism destination. The key OUV include Mbuna fish species and outstanding scenic beautiful beaches, coupled with crystal clear waters.

The area is of exceptional natural beauty with diversity of fish species, over 500 cichlids species which are endemic to Lake Malawi. The area has a rich historical back ground which includes the coming of early Scottish missionaries in honour of a great explorer by the name of Dr. David Livingstone. Accessibility to the area is throughout the year by use of road network from the major cities and other districts. This World Heritage destination is a combination of natural ecosystem and enclave village with high human population. The community within area of destination relies on fishing for their livelihood. However, tourism also plays a significant role in the community as can be seen by the increasing number of lodges and accommodation within the village. There are number of stakeholders involved in tourism operations.

The tourism strategy will promote coordination among stakeholders who are involved in the tourism industry. It is expected that local communities will benefit from this programme as they will also be directly involved in the tourism activities.

Due to the many issues taking place within Lake Malawi National Park World Heritage Site, within the enclave villages and the surrounding areas, it was found essential to come up with a Sustainable Tourism Strategy. This process was facilitated by AWHF and UNESCO Office Paris through a series of workshops that were conducted in Lake Malawi National Park. The strategy and action plan have been prepared by a task group of Government departments, tour operators and local communities with the technical and financial support from UNESCO and AWHF. The implementation of the strategy and the action plan will be coordinated by a working group of the stakeholders including governmental bodies, tourism industry bodies and local communities. Where needed additional funds, particularly for lager initiative will be sought from the participating stakeholders and International Organization.