We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Wonderful lodge on Lake Malawi” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Kaya Mawa

Best prices for -
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
and 1 more site!
Kaya Mawa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Likoma Island
Certificate of Excellence
London
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Wonderful lodge on Lake Malawi”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 20, 2009

We had a wonderful trip to Kaya Mawa with our 7-year-old. Swimming, snorkelling and kayaking in Lake Malawi whilst playing on beautiful beaches is a childs idea of heaven! Also a parents if the child is happy. The accommodation was first-rate. The service was warm and friendly, the staff were great with children and as the lodge was at the end of the island he could come and go as he pleased feeling completely safe - a rare luxury when holidaying with young children. We were lucky enough to be on Likoma Island at the same time as a football tournament sponsored by Kaya Mawa and felt privilieged to be involoved in such a local event. Lake Malawi is simply stunning and we would happily return.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank wst11c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

178 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    159
    13
    0
    1
    5
See reviews for
39
106
10
Business
0
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (51)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
South West UK
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 19, 2009

We stayed at Kaya Mawa with our 10 yr old daughter in July. I suppose I'm not too surprised by some of the negative comments on this site, but I felt I really had to address some points. We had a great stay, we loved it. We have stayed in many 5 plus type places around the world, and to be fair , Kaya Mawa is not some 6 star Dubai palace with hot and cold fluffy towels, no bugs and a pillow menu, but if you want that WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON AN ISLAND IN THE MIDDLE OF LAKE MALAWI ? The place is beautiful, the local people gentle and interesting , you are there to relax and see another part of the world and a totally different culture. If you really think that Africa has no insect life and can command guaranteed endless electricity, go on holiday somewhere else, maybe Disneyland? James and Susie were great with us, funny and laid back, but really caring. Susie took our daughter to the fabric factory so she could see what the hotel does to help the poorest on the island. Every night we fell asleep to the sound of the waves, it is another world.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Fran.sw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 18, 2009

My husband and I spent four lovely days at Kaya Mawa this past summer. It was at the tail end of a three week trip around southern Africa and Kaya Mawa was the perfect place to wind down, relax and be a bit indulged. You can stay on property and swim, do water sports, lounge, read and generally relax or you can walk, bicycle or four wheel all over the island. We did a bit of both. We enjoyed the atmosphere at KM as well as the food and the fun of dining in a different spot each evening. We also enjoyed how 'real' Likoma Island felt (when walking and visiting the town and villages) after having been on safari for a few weeks. The people at Kaya Mawa and on the island are welcoming and friendly and Kaya Mawa is a beautiful spot to spend some down time. We would certainly go back given the opportunity.

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank gmbeid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South East England
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 17, 2009

Blue, crystal clear waters with tropical fish, white sand beaches surrounded by Baobab and mango trees and bougainvillea and frangipani. The difference? The water isn't salty...AND it is in the middle of Africa!
Kaya Mawa is a delight. Enchanting rooms set on the beach or out into the lake. Dining each night is set in a different location. Lovely staff who will do anything for you. But don't forget, you are on an island on a lake in the middle of Africa...so if you want European style and security of supply, it isn't the place for you! And, I have read a couple of poor reviews of this place and can only say - you are right that if you want air conditioning and are frightened of ants or NON-stinging insects then this isn't the place for you - and what are you doing in Africa in the first place? If, on the other hand, you don't get stressed when the plane hasn't brought the plain yoghurt and you have to endure fresh fruit instead and if you appreciate the quirkiness of the extraordinary, then do go here. We made it the end of a safari and climbing trip and it was perfect.
Don't bring clothes and jewellery but bring a sarong and flip flops - that's all you'll need.
If you want night life and action, forget it. If you want beauty and things that are really out of the ordinary, this is the place for you!

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank DJGtravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mali
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 17, 2009

Our stay at Kaya Mawa was excellent. We had the family chalet on the beach by the lake, which was perfect for our family (3 young children). The chalets are far enough apart, that each visitor has its own space and privacy.
The children absolutly loved it : playing in the sand and swiming in the cristal clear waters of Lake Malawi all day.
The service was perfect, lots of flexibility to accomodate us with the children. The food was truly excellent.
We would love to go back and would recommend it to anyone looking for a quiet or active vacation by a beautiful lake (we spent a lot of time relaxing but also did some diving and waterskiing).

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank catabamako
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The world
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 17, 2009

We booked this trip with the purpose of relaxing in wonderful surroundings over an extended weekend and found that the place was exactly what we were looking for.

It was relaxed, laid-back, extremely beautiful and unique. I have travelled in Africa to similar type of remote, exclusive resorts in many ocasions in countries such as Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda...and Kaya Mawa was the nicest stay.

Yes, the lodge obviously is in Africa so there are bugs but significantly less than in any other place I have been to and we only found the odd harmless spider and some very cute lizards. There were of course some ants around the dinner table in one ocassion but nothing that couldn't be easily solved with some salt. Can one expect a bug-free experience in a remote lodge in the middle of disconnected Africa? I prefer to see them than to see ordes of people insect spray at hand constantly killing bugs to preserve a sterile environment, it is just not environmentally friendly nor does it respect the surroundings. In the end, I was very positively surprised to see that there were no mosquitoes, which should be the main concern when one travels in malaria infested areas. I do agree though that the tiny little bugs that were everywhere (it was a temporary problem we were told) could have been cleaned from the outdoor seating area in each room more than once a day.

We had a great time at Kaya Mawa and highly valued the intimacy and privacy that the resort affords. All rooms are secluded, they have their own access to the water, lovely sun beds and peace and quiet to read, chat or enjoy silence and relaxation. The fact that dinner was always in couples and every night at a different location around the resort also added a detail to the experience and I must say they were all very romantic. Especially if you couple the stay at Kaya Mawa like the majority of the people, with a safari in Zambia, I believe it is very much appreciated to have some alone time with your partner because, as nice and interesting as group dinners are, some people go on holidays to get away from everything, relax and be with the loved ones and having to keep conversation with the person sitting next to you with whom you may have nothing in common is interesting once or twice but not every night. In the end, if you want to interact with the rest of the guests, it is very possible to do so during lunch or at sunset, although most of the people prefer to see the sun set from the privacy of their room.

If one wants to do any activities it is possible and we took some kayaks out, took an island tour with the quad bikes and snorkelled around the lodge to beautifully clean and crystal clear waters. We also tried to take a bike ride but it was too hot and had to return soon after departing.

The lodge also sponsors a local workshop where the community beautifully decorate linen and cushions which they re-sale and it was nice to see that it contributes with sustainable opportunities for development in addition to the typical school building one sees in most lodges in Africa.

The Manager runs the place like it is his house which is pleasant in the sense that it puts you at ease and explicitly proves that one can do anything in Kaya: you can have breakfast, lunch or dinner anywhere you want, radio any of the staff asking for anything and that is in my opinion also better than having strict rules which make your vacation be on a tight schedule. He also has a particular British sense of humour which may sound slightly arrogant at times but it didn't bother us.

The food was always tasty and nicely presented and considering the remoteness of the location, they managed to prepare good menus every night. Deserts were always delicious too.

The rooms are all diferent and hand made, hence have character and personality and are really special. We had a nice bath tub carved out of stone which was wonderful. There was always hot water and electricity when we needed it and we had a mosquito net that covered the whole bed perfectly. We didn't see any bugs inside the beg nor did we get bitten by anything. It amy get a bit hot inside the room which is why you have no windows so that the air flows. Air conditioning would ruin the experience although I can understand it may be very unpleasant during the hot summer months, we were there at an ideal weather time (30 degrees during the day) and had no trouble sleeping.

I think despite it was really one of the nicest places we have stayed at it may not be the type of location for everyone, purely because this is genuine Africa and that comes with its pros and its cons. However, having travelled in Africa vastly, it would rate it in my scale as one of the places where we had to put up with the least nuissance. Aside from the small bugs, everything else was just PERFECT and it is likely to be the only place I have stayed I would love to go back to!

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank c980040
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York, New York
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 15, 2009

Likoma is beautiful, make no mistake about it. The lake is clear and fresh, and the island barren but interesting. The locals are fairly friendly -- we were hustled a bit on the three-mile walk into town, but less than other comparably poor places in Africa. And the chalets at Kaya Mawa are secluded and peaceful, each with a gorgeous view of the lake.

So what's not to like?

Lots. The bugs are plentiful, there's no air conditioning, and the food's pretty lousy, but given the location -- on an island in one of the poorest countries in Africa -- those problems are sort of unavoidable. The biggest problem with the hotel is its manager (and part-owner), James, who runs the place as if it's his house and you are a not very welcome guest. While James and his friends and family members drink and waterski and hang out together, you get to watch, or to pay extra for those activities on top of the thousands of dollars you've already spent. James also has the odd habit of discouraging guests from socializing with each other. There are no communal meals or activities. I understand that many people staying there want privacy, but wouldn't it make more sense to allow guests to decide whether to eat together?

If KM were cheap, the attitude might not matter. But the place costs between $600 and $800 a night per couple, and flights are another $640 round-trip per person. So you're looking at $800 to $1,100 per night. At these prices, the resort should be far friendlier and more welcoming than it is.

My advice: if you do want to go to KM, plan on no more than two nights, and don't book in advance. You may be able to get a deal on the flight ($320 round-trip instead of $640) if you book it when you're in Malawi -- and you might save some money on the resort too. Likoma is worth seeing, but not at any price.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank eastvillagetraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kayamawa, owner at Kaya Mawa, responded to this review, October 16, 2009
I remember these guests well. I am slightly perplexed by this travellers review. I have had no family or friends out to the island since I was married here two years ago. The only people that I socialise with are the guests of Kaya Mawa.
In the evenings these guests would come up to the bar and sit in the corner playing scrabble. I spoke to them every evening, checking that they were happy and if they wished to do anything the next day, they never mentioned any issues, problems or complaints, in fact precisely the opposite. No effort was made by them to talk to the other guests. Again I am confused.
There were guests who were engaging in watersports whilst these guests were here and should they have wished to have a go the facilities were there for them too. It is made clear prior to any booking that motorised activities are extra.
Kaya Mawa has never had communal dining or activities and for this we have until now always been complimented. However we do have guests that ‘make friends’ whilst they are here and request to eat together which is absolutely not a problem and in no way discouraged.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near Likoma Island
0.0 mi away
President Walmont Hotel
President Walmont Hotel
#3 of 12 in Lilongwe
3.5 of 5 bubbles 75 reviews
0.0 mi away
Bridgeview Hotel & Conference Centre
0.0 mi away
Grand Palace Hotel
Grand Palace Hotel
#1 of 6 in Mzuzu
4.0 of 5 bubbles 22 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
0.0 mi away
Kumbali Country Lodge
Kumbali Country Lodge
#1 of 46 in Lilongwe
4.5 of 5 bubbles 120 reviews
0.0 mi away
Skinny Hippos Lodge
Skinny Hippos Lodge
#6 of 18 in Mangochi
4.5 of 5 bubbles 9 reviews
0.0 mi away
Huntingdon House
Huntingdon House
#1 of 2 in Thyolo
4.5 of 5 bubbles 91 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Kaya Mawa? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Kaya Mawa

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Kaya Mawa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 7
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com, Expedia and Travelocity so you can book your Kaya Mawa reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Kaya Mawa Likoma Island
Kaya Mawa Malawi/Likoma Island

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing