The lake is extremely important for the population living around it. There are countless fishing villages on the shores of the lake, which boasts rich harvests. The lake is also an important provider of drinking water, irrigation and hydroelectricity.
The mean annual temperature around Lake Malawi is 22.7°C (72ºF), with the average annual rainfallamounting to 766 millimeters (30 inches). This climate sustains the woodland and scrubby vegetation that is seen dotting the national park’s hills and flatter expanses around the lake.
Steamboats, motorships, and air transport are the most common means of transportation between the villages on the shores of Lake Malawi.
Lake Malawi was the scene of a naval battle on August 16th, 1914. The British gunboat SS Gwendolen disabled the German Empire’s only gunboat on the lake, the Hermann von Wissmann, with a single cannon shot from about 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles). It was hailed as the British Empire’s first naval victory in World War I.
Overfishing, water pollution from runoff like sewage, sediment loading, receding water levels due to climate change, increased nutrient inputs, and changes in phytoplankton composition are among the threats researchers cite as most greatly affecting Lake Malawi’s fragile ecosystems.
In January 2015, contaminated tailings from the Kayelekera uranium mine near Boma, were accidentally released into the lake. Official statements say that only 50 liters (13 US gallons) leaked, but other pieces of evidence suggest that the environment may have been affected as far as 35 kilometers (22 miles) away.