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Review of Kaya Mawa

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Kaya Mawa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Likoma Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 7, 2013

Enjoyed our stay on this stunning island/lake and as others have said, it's a great place to chill after safari. We stayed in Mbamba but would probably go for one of the lower level rooms if ever we returned. We scored some unseasonal crappy weather but there was plenty to do on the island...quad biking is major fun. Enjoying a few sundowners on the beach is special and eases into dinner at tables down on the sand...nice atmosphere. The food is very good though you need to be happy with relatively light meals and modest servings, probably a good thing after the non-stop gourmet jobs experienced on safari! Breakfast choice and quality is outstanding. Staff are very accommodating and quickly dealt with a couple of minor issues we experienced.

Room Tip: Go for a room with lake access.
  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank gonein60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 27, 2013

We spent five nights at Kaya Mawa at the end of a very luxurious honeymoon and it surpassed all expectations. Our room was a little house built into the rocks, very private with its own deck leading to the water. Having looked around some of the other rooms, they are all like this, hidden in the surrounding rocks. The island is amazing, incredibly friendly locals, awesome views and the water is warm and fresh - if you like water activities it's a real treat.

Service was fantastic with no request too much for the staff. The catering is excellent and the perfect blend of fine dining whilst remaining rather healthy. Every dinner was private and unique as the tables were dotted around the beach. As a fairly active couple there was plenty to do - we spent time snorkelling, kayaking, sailing and stand-up paddle boarding and cycling, all of which was included in the price (the laundry service is also included). We also did a private boat trip around the island and plenty of kitesurfing and wakeboarding! (fresh water makes this even more fun). They also do diving courses. They offer a range of spa treatments and we would certainly recommend the massage. To get to the massage "room", you cross a small rope bridge onto a tiny rock island which just has room for a round construction with curtains around it for privacy, but which let you hear the sound of the waves hitting the rocks all around you. Pretty special.

To top off our experience one of the staff bought his 30 person African choir for pre dinner entertainment one night complete with drummers. Impossible to sit still! Overall we can't recommend this place highly enough, super relaxed and quiet, genuinely friendly staff, do as much or as little as you like. Wonderful.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank BobandSally2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 22, 2013

A simply stunning location, quirky but luxurious accommodation and exceptional service from a dedicated team make this beach resort one of the best we have visited. Nothing is too much trouble whether it be the room service, the laundry service (both of which are inclusive) or any other request that can be dreamt up. We stayed in Ngani which was slightly away from the other chalets and so afforded a feeling of real seclusion. With a pool and easy access to the lake via a private jetty it was difficult for us to tear ourselves away. The chalet is surrounded either by water, rocks or trees and the bird life alone is fascinating. I mentioned that I regretted not bringing my binoculars and within minutes a pair was delivered to our chalet complete with a book on the birds of South Africa. When one strayed across to the main beach there was plenty to do including the free use of canoes or sail boats which you just helped yourself to. Another excuse to leave our chalet was for the evening meal which was served on the beach. The vision of the twinkling lights scattered around the shoreline, each identifying an intimate flower laden table for two, will be one I will forever remember. Lunch was generally taken on our terrace alongside the pool.

If you go be sure to take the boat trip around the island where you will be shown the textile workshop set up by the owners of Kaya Mawa to provide much needed employment for widowed mothers, the merchandise from which is used to adorn the chalets and can also be purchased. You will also stop for some snorkelling, a visit to the cathedral and of course a picnic. Fishing rods are supplied if you are not content to simply relax and enjoy the views.

I am sure we will return.

Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
2  Thank Susan H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2013

We stayed at Kaya Mawa in the Mdimba house for 4 nights on the backend of a 20 day honeymoon Safari through South Africa and Zambia. Initially we thought of Mozambique but some friends persuaded us that Kaya Mawa was a more culturally relevant and "authentic" African experience. They were right. Not only is Kaya Mawa the most relaxing, beautiful place you can think of, the staff is outrageously sweet and accomodating and the native residents of the island are wonderful. The Mdimba house is set high above the beach and is huge, secluded and beautiful. It is about a 5 minute walk to the restaraunt but the staff are happy to bring any meals/tea/coffee directly to your room to save you the walk.

As far as activities go, we took a 2 hour stand-up-paddleboarding excursion, kayaked, went fishing (caught a fish and gave it to our boat captain for dinner), a long biking excursion through the island that ended with us carrying our bikes along the coast over a goat path, got massages, went on hikes, etc. There is also scuba and kite surfing. All to say there is no lack of things to do and also no reason to do anything other than read, sleep, and relax if that is more your idea of vacation.

We were there around the third week of August and the temperature literally could not have been more perfect, not up one degree, not down one degree. It was probably 80 during the day and maybe 68 at night. Water was perfectly clear, refreshing without being cold, and a blast to jump in all day. Others note that villagers wash their clothes in the morning at the foot of Mdimba house which is true but not a problem. You are probably 300 feet up and back from the beach so they aren't close enough to be a bother and the little kids running around throwing all their clothes in the water are adorable and very sweet. They love finger nail polish so bring extra if you go.

The food was the best we had in Africa. My wife and I don't eat gluten and keep a pretty strict (healthy) diet and the chef not only accomodated us but every single meal was outstanding. Fresh veggies with creative dips, huge breakfasts with eggs, bacon, and sausage, and very creative and well done dinners that consisted mostly of really fresh meat and vegetables but prepared in "clean" versions of various cuisines- thai, jerk, etc. Not to mention every night you have a bautiful, candle lit dinner at various spots along the beach.

Can't recommend this place enough, it was so perfect and so amazing. Of all the bush camps and places we went on this trip in Africa, this was the only place that I WILL come back to at some point, it was worth it.

Room Tip: Mdimba house is amazing. It is worth every penny more than any other room. All the houses are beauti...
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Justin G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2013

Like being on a tropical island, although not stranded. Beautiful white sand beach, crystal clear and warm water. The service is fantastic, the hosts are lovely people and the cuisine is awesome too. Our villa was brilliant, decor typical of a romantic getaway....step out of your room onto the beach.

I had the priviledge of spending New Years' Eve with all the other guests, was a great little party.

Quite a special place.......

Do yourselves a favour though......spend the extra dollars on flying in and out, the lake trip on that big boat was horrendous.

Room Tip: Ask for the last two-roomed villa on the beach.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Graeme G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2013

we passed a week at kaya mawa. The most wonderfull place on earth I have ever seen. our daughter said: is this a paradis? thanx to Christina ande the hole staff who made our trip to Ndomo house unforgettable. Hope to come back, a day!! fam vd Zanden

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank noortje v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2013

You will not be disappointed with a stay at Kaya Mawa – and you may never want to leave! Likoma is a stunning island and the lodge is situated on a beautiful sandy beach - as you will see when you fly over on your journey to Likoma by light aircraft!

Robinson Crusoe style rooms and suites, very tastefully revamped in 2012. All materials sourced locally, clever and sympathetic design to the local environment, trees etc. All have good big showers (some have double showers), most have baths, some have outdoor plunge swimming pools filled with lake water. Electricity supplied by a mix of solar, generator and invertor supplying 24 hr power. Very private rooms with lake views, all have a deck (varying sizes) with sun loungers and direct access to the lake.

Bar and restaurant area is down on the beach, with a large chill-out relaxing area. Staff are great, well trained and knowledgeable. Breakfast and lunch served in the restaurant and for dinner they put all the tables out dotted along the beach under stars and candlelight. Beautiful tableware, white linen napkins and huge wine glasses! Great breakfasts, help yourself to juice and cereal and fruits then choose from a menu for hot breakfast ranging from full English, fresh toast, pancakes, omelettes and top pick – the eggs benedict! Lunches and dinners are set, so you must say in advance if you have an allergy or something that guests do not eat and they can easily make an alternative. Lunches are light and fresh with a small dip to start and then salad or pasta or noodles – sometimes vegetarian. Dinners are three courses and beautifully presented and served and not rushed. Puddings were amazing…! Also a fantastic wine list – like no other in Malawi – and not overly expensive considering where you are! It is the best food I have had in Malawi and I have no idea how he manages it on the tiny island of Likoma where everything is flown in!

Do as little or as much as you like! Lots of water based activities. PADI dive school with 3 very experienced instructors – probably some of the best diving in the lake and reasonably priced. Good quality equipment too. Also speedboats, snorkelling (good straight from the beach), rings, tubing, make boarding etc. Someone is on the beach to help at all times. Snorkel gear is in each room so you can swim from your room.

You can also do a boat tour of the island, walks, quad bike tours, walk over to Katundu (where they emply local women to make textiles which are used in the lodge but also exported). Likoma is very friendly, its like walking around ‘old Malawi’. Visit the cathedral and small town of Chipyela – to see how island life works. If anything is going on the staff at kaya will let you know – such as dancing or singing competitions in the villages and you are welcome to go and watch. The managers at Kaya Mawa are great and they come round and make a plan with you and can arrange picnics and guides etc and nothing it too much trouble.

Room Tip: We stayed in the honeymoon suite - which was AMAZING, totally private, with plunge/swimming pool, ma...
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Lucy O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kaya Mawa

Address: P.O. Box 79, Likoma Island, Malawi
Location: Malawi > Northern Region > Likoma Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Likoma Island
Price Range: $527 - $682 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Kaya Mawa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 7
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Also Known As:
Kaya Mawa Likoma Island
Kaya Mawa Malawi/Likoma Island

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