Although a landlocked country, Malawi has an inland sea, Lake Malawi, a vast body of freshwater that stretches 350 miles between Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. As the most biodiverse lake on the planet, it has over 1000 cichlid fish species known locally as "mbuna", nearly all of these cichlids are endemic to Lake Malawi yet less than half of these have been properly identified.
As Lake Malawi is isolated from other bodies of water, these cichlid species demonstrate a significant amount of biological evolution and are an important example of adaptation, radiation and speciation. Despite this, there has been little attention on the lake’s fish species by the scientific and conservation communities. Furthermore the lakes important ecological, biological and socio/economic factors have also been mostly overlooked in recent years.
As a volunteer you will be a valuable part of the research team involved in carrying out crucial studies on the diverse ecological community in Lake Malawi. Trained as an underwater scuba researcher, you will gain technical field research skills and learn about research methodologies, whilst also helping conserve this unique habitat.
• Help to preserve Lake Malawi’s endemic species
• PADI scuba diving courses and qualifications available
• Extend your experience in tropical marine and coastal conservation field work
Location Kande, Lake Malawi
• Learn to dive in the beautiful Lake Malawi
• Record observations of species diversity and abundance
• Take part in critical habitat mapping
• Work with local communities to increase their awareness and appreciation of the marine environment.
Transport Airport pickup on arrival and drop off at end of project
Accommodation shared accommodation at the research centre
Before you go
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt (UK only)
Airport pick up and drop off
PADI open water
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ back-up
A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.