Since its beginnings in 2004, non-profit Lake of Stars Festival has garnered attention from an international crowd of festival goers, pulling a positive spotlight onto its host country Malawi in the process. The 3-day event takes place on the palm-fringed shores of Lake Malawi, one of the largest bodies of freshwater in the world, and the most southern of Africa’s Rift Valley great lakes. The people come to dance outside to eclectic music lineups, see shows by local theatre performers, listen to poetry readings and partake in open discussions about Malawi’s future.
Add to this refreshing dips in the lake during the festival itself, stargazing up at a haze-free sky, the experience of Malawi’s welcoming people and an opportunity to discover new musical talent. The growing attendee numbers say it all, Lake of Stars is one-of-a-kind and has become a worthwhile stop in the traveller’s Southern Africa adventure.
Most essentially, the festival’s mission is out front and center, as organisers strive to bring the fields of arts, tourism and development together, providing entertainment while bettering the lives of the Malawian people. Founder Will Jameson is committed to the local communities, supporting nearby schools, providing employment and aims to develop Malawi’s cultural clout in the process.
As for the revelry itself, festival-goers can expect to dance with wild abandon while staying up late enough to see the sun rise across the vast lake. Last night’s antics will slip away and a new day in the warm heart of Africa begins.
WORDS OF WISDOM
- Challenge those Africa assumptions. Malawi pushes back against common stereotypes with a mission to carve out a more dignified future for their people. Visitors are continually surprised by the nation’s vibrant culture, evidence of positive community work, stunning landscapes and wildlife on par with other popular safari destinations.
- Learn how to dive. Lake Malawi has some of the best fresh water scuba diving in the world, with schools of exotic fish, catfish and dolphin fish to be seen. It is also one of the cheapest countries to learn to dive in.
- Post festival, recuperate at luxury resort Kaya Mawa. It’s considered the gold standard of rustic African luxury and is right at home on the shores of Lake Malawi. Access is via a guest-only seaplane that leaves from Lilongwe’s airport.
PRE-FESTIVAL WATCH: Lake of Stars 2015 Highlights
Visit Lake of Stars