Kaya Mawa means 'maybe tomorrow' and to visit Likoma Island is to step back in time. Measuring just 17 square kilometres, the local people survive largely by fishing and rice or cassava farming. The island has hundreds of huge baobab trees and a number of glorious sandy beaches and rocky coves. In the main town of Mbamba, is the beautiful and vast St Peters Cathedral - supposedly bigger than Winchester Cathedral.
The waters surrounding Kaya Mawa are crystal clear throughout the year and the diving and snorkelling is excellent. With a range of water sports from gentle paddling of a kayak to learning to wake-board, Kaya Mawa has something to suit all ages and stages and the excellent PADI dive school will teach beginners or escort experienced divers to the wondrous underwater world. Lake Malawi has an enormous diversity of fresh water fish and the waters around Kaya Mawa are widely known to offer the very best diving in the whole of the lake.
This small lodge is built on and around a rocky outcrop jutting into the lake with two beaches and the stunning views over the expanse of blue fresh water. Just 26 guests can be accommodated at any one time and each of the cottages has its individual style- many of the rooms have part of the rocks, trees and headlands forming features of the rooms, it is a very organic and natural style. Five of the rooms have two bedrooms making them ideal for families. The lodge is very welcoming of children and is an ideal destination for all ages.
Ndomo House is set on a private beach around the corner from the hotel. This is a four bedroom private house equipped with its own chef, butler, nanny and speedboat. The house has a gorgeous private pool. This is the perfect set up for a family or group travelling together wanting total privacy and plenty of space.
Kaya Mawa accommodates 26 guests in a delightful range of accommodation each one entirely different from the next.
There are four Standard Rooms, however, these are far from standard and are cleverly built in to the rocks overlooking the lake.
The three Premier Rooms have private plunge pools .
There are five houses at the lodge. There are three two-bedroom ones (perfect for families) and one one-bedroom house (perfect for honeymooners!) and Ndomo House - a four bedroom private house with private pool and staff.
There are 3 standard rooms which all have a private sitting area/deck, ensuite bath and shower and lovely views over the lake. There 4 premium rooms which have double bedrooms with en-suite bathroom and also have a private plunge pool.
There are 4 houses which are set apart and can accommodate up to 4 guests.
This gorgeous house is separate from the lodge but guests can use all lodge facilities. There are 4 double bedrooms 3 are en-suite and as well as plenty of sitting areas the house has a private pool and staff.
Kaya Mawa is a family friendly lodge with good facilities for children, small size equipment like snorkels, water skies etc. Food and meal times can easily be adjusted to suit the younger guests and babysitting can be arranged for those that need it.
There is a lovely bar and dining area from which guests enjoy stunning sun down views looking out over the lake, delicious and varied cuisine can be served up almost anywhere for a private dinner if required. Kaya Mawa offers a PADI accredited dive school, a wealth of water sports equipment as well as mountain bikes and quad bikes.
There are plenty of activities on and in the water, including snorkelling, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and with three speed boats guests can enjoy waterskiing, wake-boarding, knee-boarding or doughnutting. Instruction in any of the water-sports is available for those that need it. Fishing is also on offer and a catch and release policy is adopted unless you intend to eat your prize. Kaya Mawa is partnered with Likoma Island Divers a PADI dive school with instructors waiting to share the underwater world with novice or experienced divers. On land guests have the option of exploring the fascinating island on foot, mountain bike or quad bike.
When to travel
With varied topography across Malawi, from the high mountains to the Shire Valley below 180m, Malawi has very varied weather. The Shire Valley is tropical with high temperatures and humidity. The rainy season is roughly from December to March, in which the wettest districts are the mountains in the south. It begins to be dry again throughout April and May, in which the days between May through to Novemeber are clear and warm, making it the best time to visit.
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Location and directions
Likoma Island, Lake Malawi
Kaya Mawa is on the remote Likoma Island, in the middle of Lake Malawi. Lake Malawi is situated on the eastern boarder of Malawi, in which Likoma Island is nearest to the eastern shores of Lake Malawi, across from the Kahingina Forest Reserve.
How to get there
Kaya Mawa can be reached by a 10-hour international flight to Lilongwe Airport in Malawi, in which Likoma Island is another 50-minutes international flight from Lilongwe Airport. Once on the island, the hotel is a 15-minute transfer by car.