I recently read on article on the Yahoo Travel site that talked about the twelve most beautiful lakes in the world. Although all twelve were stunning, they were not all accessible by kayak.
Below are 6 of the most beautiful lakes from their list that are accessible by kayak and which according to ‘Yahoo! Travel’ showcase nature at its most spectacular.
Lake Malawi – Malawi
Lake Malawi lies at the southern end of Africa’s Great Rift Valley and is the ninth largest lake in the world and the third largest in Africa. It is 560km long, 80km wide and 700m deep. Half of the south-eastern section of the lake belongs to Mozambique, while the north-eastern shore belongs to Tanzania.
A popular area for kayaking Lake Malawi is the Lake Malawi National Park (a World Heritage Site) in the south and Likoma Island in the northern central part of the lake.
You can expect to see many brightly coloured little tropical fish called cichlids which are vital to the bio-diversity of the planet. In fact Lake Malawi is home to 1,000 species of fish which is estimated to be more than any other place on earth.
Taal Lake – Philippines
Taal Lake was formed when a large volcanic crater collapsed and is situated 37.28 miles south of Manila.
It is not only the deepest lake in the Philippines (at 563 feet deep) but it is also home to one of the world’s smallest yet most active volcanoes – the Taal Volcano which sits within the waters on the island of Luzon.
Taal Lake continues to be a popular destination for tour groups and kayakers, even though it has been declared a permanent danger zone because of the constant eruption warnings.
If you are ever in the Philippines and you decide to visit Taal Lake you may want to simply take in the view from adjacent Tagaytay City. If however you decide to brave the dangers and take a paddle, you will be rewarded with some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Personally I’ll sit this one out.
Loch Lomond – Scotland
I have always had a desire to go to Scotland and when I do this lake will be one of the first stops on my list.
According to Yahoo Travel Loch Lomond feels like it is straight out of a Victoria romance novel with the backdrop of rolling hills and medieval castles.
The Lake is 24 miles north of Glasgow and 66 miles west of Edinburgh. The lake itself is 24-miles long and is dotted with many little islands – some sparsely inhabited.
You can take a ferry to one of the largest islands, Inchmurrin (population 11) where you can get a look at the remains of a 7th-century monastery and the 14th century Lennox Castle which was often used as a hunting lodge for kings.
For kayaking there are many different access points around the lake and miles of territory that can be explored. Access to open water paddling is supposed to be particularly good within the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.
Lake Garda – Italy
Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and a very popular vacation spot. It is about halfway between Milan and Venice.
On the southern shore you will find hot springs, resort towns, villas and terra-cotta roofed hotels as well as 28 miles of beautiful beaches. On the northern shore there are the jagged peaks of the Dolomites Mountains which are popular with hiking and cycling enthusiasts.
For kayaking you can stay along one of the south shore’s small towns and enter the water from any of the pebbly beaches.
The best view of the lake is said to be from the top of Mount Baldo which can be accessed from a cable car ride in the town of Malcesine.
Lake Annecy – France
Lake Annecy is located in the heart of the French Alps. Surrounding this lake is eight miles of nature reserves, waterfront villages, and soaring mountain peaks.
It is a very popular destination for kayaking and water-skiers. The mountains surrounding the lake are busy with hikers and bikers during the summer months.
It is said that the best time to visit Lake Annecy is around the first Saturday of August as they have a nearly two hour long fireworks display that illuminates the water.
The closest major city is Geneva in Switzerland, 30 miles north of the lake. However most people who plan to do some outdoor activities will stay in one of the towns right on the lake.
Lake Matheson – New Zealand
Lake Matheson is known as Mirror Lake because of its reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman.
There are a few different kayak rentals available around Lake Matheson and it is said the best time to visit is just after dawn, when the water is extremely calm and the mirror images of the mountains are absolutely perfect.
You can also cross a suspension bridge near the Clearwater River and follow a 1-mile loop past kahikatea and rimu trees, which are said to look like something from a Dr. Seuss book with their super tall trunks and very bushy tops.
The nearest village is Fox Glacier township which serves as a base camp for trekkers.
Unless you happen to live close to one of these lakes you will need to either rent a kayak from one of the many kayak rental businesses close to them or you can bring a travel inflatable kayak along with you for easy access and exploration.