Lake Nyasa, History, Geography, Water Characteristics, and Wildlife

Lake Nyasa, also known as Lake Malawi in Tanzania and Lago Nyasa in Mozambique, is a large African lake and southernmost lake in the East African Rift System, located between Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

It is the fifth largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, the ninth largest lake in the world by area – and the third largest and second deepest lake in Africa. Lake Malawi is home to more fish species than any other lake, including at least 700 species of tilapia. The Mozambican government officially declared the Mozambican part of the lake to be protected by the Mozambican government on June 10, 2011, while part of the lake in Malawi is included in the Lake Malawi National Park.

Lake Malawi is a meromactic lake, which means that its water layers do not mix. The permanent stratification of Lake Malawi waters and their oxidation-oxygen boundaries (relating to the oxygen in water) are maintained by fairly small chemical and thermal gradients.
Lake Malawi is between 560 kilometers (350 miles) and 580 kilometers (360 miles) long, and about 75 kilometers (47 miles) wide at its widest point. The total area of ​​the lake is about 29,600 square kilometers (11,400 sq mi). The lake has a height of 706 m (2,316 ft) at its deepest point, and is located in a large depression in the north-central part.

Another smaller depression in the far north reaches a depth of 528 m (1,732 ft). The southern half of the lake is shallow. Less than 400 m (1,300 ft) in the south-central part and less than 200 m (660 ft) in the extreme south. The lake has shores in western Mozambique, eastern Malawi and southern Tanzania. The largest river that flows into it is the Rohu, and there is an outlet at its southern end, the Shire River, a tributary that flows into the very large Zambezi River in Mozambique.
Evaporation accounts for more than 80% of the water loss from the lake, which is much more than the flowing Shire River. The outflows from Lake Malawi into the Shire River are vital to the economy as water resources support hydropower, irrigation and downstream biodiversity.

European discovery and colonization
Portuguese merchant Candido Jose da Costa Cardoso was the first European to visit the lake in 1846. David Livingstone arrived at the lake in 1859 and named it Lake Nyasa. He also referred to it by a pair of nicknames: Lake of Stars and Lake of Storms. The nickname Lake of the Stars came about after Livingston noticed lights from Malawi fishermen’s lanterns on their boats, which, from afar, resembled the stars in the sky. Later, after experiencing the violent and unpredictable storms sweeping the area, he also referred to it as Storms Lake.

On August 16, 1914, Lake Malawi was the scene of a brief naval battle when the British tugboat SS Gwendolen, commanded by Captain Rhodes, heard that World War I had broken out, and received orders from the High Command of the British Empire to “sink”. Or burn or destroy “the only gunboat of the German Empire on the lake, Hermann von Weismann, commanded by Captain Berndt.
The Rhodes crew found Hermann von Weismann in a bay near Svenkshaven, in the German territorial waters of East Africa. Gwendolen disabled the German boat with a single gun from a range of about 1,800 meters (2,000 yards). The Times of England hailed this very short battle over gunboats as the British Empire’s first naval victory in the World War