Reasons to Visit
The majestic Lake Malawi covers a fifth of the country, its sparkling waters stretching for 500 kilometres. Fringed by idyllic sandy beaches, it is often more reminiscent of the ocean off a tropical island than a rare body of water in a landlocked African country.
With excellent guides and a range of water habitats, Malawi is a great destination for birding enthusiasts. Possibly best of all is the Nyika Plateau, home to a range of species that you will not find in neighbouring countries due to its utterly unique environment.
Always peaceful and welcoming, Malawi boasts a rich cultural and colonial heritage. An integral part of the missionary route trodden by Livingstone and his followers, echoes can be seen in Blantyre and Zomba, but nowhere is it more apparent than at the awesome St Peter’s Cathedral on Likoma Island.
For the freshwater and cychlid enthusiast, Lake Malawi is a spectacular arena for snorkelling and diving. On the lake there are several places that offer top class snorkelling and diving spots, including Kaya Mawa on Likoma Island and Danforth Yachting in the Cape Maclear area.
In the shadow of Mount Mulanje, the tea plantations of Thyolo are a wonderfully relaxed place to visit and enjoy the brilliant green fields, mahogany forests and small water falls. Time can be spent learning about how the tea is made or exploring the lush landscapes under your own steam.
Lake Malawi is a mecca for enthusiasts of smaller aquatic life, with more freshwater fish species than Europe and North America combined. The sparkling tropical waters are filled with over 1,000 different rainbow-coloured cychlid fish, many of which are endemic to the lake.
Malawi isn't a Big 5 Safari destination however Liwonde National Park does offer beautiful riverine scenery, large herds of elephant, big hippo pods, crocs, several different antelope species and a myriad of bird species including the rare Pels Fishing Owl. The boat safaris are a real highlight here. With a couple of new camps opening up Malawi's Majete Reserve is also an intriguing destination for those seeking an off the beaten track wildlife experience with the chance to see black rhino, elephant, buffalo and a variety of plains game.
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Africa and The Indian Ocean
Kaya Mawa is a unique lodge in Malawi on Likoma Island. Accommodation is luxurious with great attention to detail. The staff are extremely friendly and accommodating and make you feel at home.
Likoma Island is found towards the north eastern part of Lake Malawi, within the territorial waters of Mozambique but part of Malawi and linked to the rest of the country by a steamer service. The island is quite hilly in places, mostly dry and sandy since it lies in the rainshadow of the Mozambique shore. Baobabs are a common feature of the landscape but big trees are generally scarce. The population is over five thousand people, scattered in little villages throughout the Island.
Kaya Mawa is set on a rocky promontory on the southern tip of the Island. The name means 'maybe tomorrow' and is the perfect phrase for this wonderful retreat. It is has been sensitively refurbished and a new central lounge and dining area has been built with lighter colours and contemporary style. It is a perfect location for beach dinners or a relaxing lunch, with comfortable sofas with huge cushions, so you can listen to the water lap the shore whilst having a G&T.
There are 11 rooms in total, each is individually designed and built in sympathy with the rocks on the island and often built around the boulders themselves. There are four standard, three premium rooms and four houses tucked away on the beach. Totally separately is the Ndomo Point house a private self-contained property.
At Kaya Mawa, full board is included; the food is excellent with a range of choices, served by cheerful and friendly staff. Most of the soft furnishings are hand crafted on the island by Katundu designs which is based on Likoma Island and employs 26 ladies, single mothers and adult orphans, from the local orphan program.
Lake Malawi is renowned for some of the best freshwater snorkelling and diving in the world and being an island Likoma is a perfect spot. As well as water activities, there are plenty of other lovely excursions to enjoy here during your stay.
This sleepy island is steeped in colonial history: its cathedral which was built by missionaries inspired by David Livingstone. The Mozambique shores can be reached by a boat trip from Likoma Island.
Our rating: First Class
Likoma Island & Mozambique Lakeshore
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Further reading:Tours in MalawiWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout MalawiCountry Guides
Other countries in Africa:BotswanaKenyaMadagascarMauritiusMozambiqueNamibiaRwandaSouth AfricaTanzaniaThe SeychellesUgandaZambiaZanzibar ArchipelagoZimbabwe
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