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“Warm heart of Africa”
Review of Kaya Mawa

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Kaya Mawa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Likoma Island
Certificate of Excellence
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
2 reviews
“Warm heart of Africa”
Reviewed 1 November 2011

Kaya Mawa Lodge and the Likoma Island is a treasure of hospitality, warm-hearted, humble people, crystal clear water and very healthy cuisine. Richard and Michelle - our hosts- make a formidable team - always available , yet granting all the guests their privacy. This was the case with all the staff at the Lodge as well. Meals were served wherever you wanted to eat, the rooms were rustic yet luxurious. A definite TO DO on anyone's holiday list. A great place for a honeymoon as well as a family getaway. Safe swimmimg , lots to do, beautiful scenery and enough space to still be private if you wanted to. The snorkelling is very safe and absolutely breathtaking! Awesome sunsets and beautiful bird song all day around!

Room Tip: Best to ask the managemnet team what your requirements are. THey are very accommodating and will ens...
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank ilse080
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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182 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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  • French first
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English first
Coventry, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 October 2011

To the uninitiated Traveller considering Africa. Before you read any further please remember I rate this five stars.

What people need to know about Africa, that includes this paradise island. There is a shortage of many basic materials/supplies in this continent and it is further exaggerated by the fact that Kaya Mawa is an island on the lake. So, the power might fail due to a lack of fuel, back up generators might also fail due to the same problem and the back-up batteries might lose their charge because it is hot, so don't expect everything to work all the time.
Africa is also home to many bugs, spiders, creepy crawlies and even snakes, this island is no different, the water doesn't keep them away. That said, there are great mosquito nets that defend you from anything that is likely to want a three course meal out of you. My body is normally a treat for such activities, and I was almost unscathed from the seven day experience (I couldn't say the same whilst on safari...)
Rich is the master in the kitchen and his cullenary skills are top drawer, having trained in France and also India as well as Africa. What comes out of his kitchen is a delight worth waiting for each day (whether there is a power cut or not, he never failed to deliver.)
His partner, Michelle, is the hostess with the mostest and you feel like you have known the pair for years as the build up an instant rapport. That said they also fade into the background when they realise they are not required.
The bar is well stocked with international drinks and a great selection of South African wines. Bearing in mind this place is on an island where everything has to be flown in, the bar bill at the end of the week was as refreshing as the drinks during the week - $2 for a beer, you can't go wrong.
Talking of flying, this is a small island, so has a small runway, therefore needs small planes. So if you don't like the idea of flying for an hour in a 6 seater Cesna, the only other option is a ferry twice a week.
Activities, do as much or as little as you like , loads of water sports, some of which are complementary and other are reasonably priced, including PADI diving. Also loads of on land trips and activities on two or four wheels.
We stopped in two rooms during our seven day stay, both had small, but beautifully formed pools and the rooms are everything you would expect of in Africa. This is not London, Paris or New York, so don't expect the floors to be even or the windows to fit or anything else you would expect of a five star, this is Africa. Beautiful Africa.
I can't recommend this place highly enough and I have tried to highlight some of the things that might shock the uninitiated so everyone's eyes are wide open. Now read all the other reports including the comical terrible one's, including James' rather amusing responses (James is the owner by the way, he's also very approachable too)
You will not regret setting a foot on this island

Room Tip: They're all great rooms
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank thompssx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
1 review
Reviewed 26 October 2011

My wife and I enjoyed a fantastic honeymoon at Kaya Mawa, staying here for seven nights after a three night safari on the Shire River. When we arrived we were totally blown away not only by the island but also the setting of Kaya Mawa; the beach, the bar area, the room, the service - everything seemed too good to be true. It wasn't. We had the most wonderful stay.

Our room - the closest room to the bar - was beautiful, cleaned and tidied twice a day while we were at breakfast and dinner and had its own sun deck and shaded outside lounge area. There were great products in the bathroom and a bag each containing snorkel mask and flippers. Real rustic luxury. We were offered an upgrade to the Honeymoon Island half way through our stay, which was really thoughtful, but we loved our room so much we stayed put!

Rich and Michelle - the couple who run Kaya Mawa - were helpful and friendly throughout our stay. They were both chatty and attentive and we enjoyed sitting at the bar with them most evenings before dinner, but they also knew when to leave you to your own devices. The rest of the staff - all from Likoma island - were always available for whatever you needed, happy to bring drinks to your room or help you rig up a sailing boat to take out. And they were all super friendly.

Rich, who is the head chef instructing a kitchen full of local women, produced amazing food (we were at a Michelin starred restaurant just weeks before our stay and this food was definitely up to that standard). As much as you want for breakfast (cooked and continental), lovely two-course lunches and incredible three-course dinners. The bar was really well stocked - regular top shelf stuff like Makers Mark and Glenmorangie as well as our new favourite, Malawi Gin! The wine list was extensive and Rich and Michelle picked out a couple of corkers for us to try, although I would say some of the wines were slightly over priced - most between $40 - $50 a bottle. The wine by the glass was pretty good and this was only $4, beers were only $2...

You can do as much or as little as you like, we had some days just relaxing on our sun deck reading, we took out a sailing boat, regularly used the kayaks, took mountain bikes around the island, went for a walk to the local textile workshop and through the nearby villages, and on the last day tried waterskiing - all of which I'd certainly recommend!

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank mikeandem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 October 2011

It is a long way to go to get there but it is worth it!
I travelled with my wife and 3 sons aged 18 to 23 and as experienced world wide travellers we were bowled over by the place.
Fantastic environment and views over this massive freshwater lake.A range of outstanding accomodation to suit every different type of requirement and great food available throughout the day and a very comprehensive wine list .
Delightful staff and a truly discreet and perfectly delightful team of managers and hands on owners for whom nothing is too much trouble and always done with a smile.Great bunch and the lovely bonus is that the resort really interacts with the nearby village and the islands' small population, being responsible for employing many of them either directly or indirectly .You can become as involved as you want to but I highly recommend a trip to hear choir practice .Lots to do for everyone or just chill out on the beach or on your sun deck (every room has at least one!)
A paradise to which I will return.

Room Tip: ask resort for advice
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank ochiclamidi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne
Level Contributor
84 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 October 2011

We arrived at Kaya Mawa after a fun but exhausting safari in Zambia.

Kaya Mawa is one of the few places we've ever been that looks exactly like it does on the website! It is a beautiful location and we were lucky enough to get the room with its own private bridge connecting it to the shore.

The food was great, the rooms beautiful and the managers, Rich and Michelle, were very helpful. The entire atmosphere is so relaxing you hardly want to move. However, we decided it would be a good idea to do a quad bike tour which was lots of fun. Pete the guide was great and showed us the highlights of the island, and we were lucky enough to see a wedding take place at the cathedral - weddings at home could certainly use the music and joy of this one, they'd be much more fun!

We ran into a few honeymooning couples and we can see it would be a lovely place to just hang out and spend quality time together if you're looking for relaxation, peace and quiet - it's probably best for a short stay if you are a little more active, but definitely go there!

We had a great time there and would highly recommend Kaya Mawa.

Room Tip: Depends what you want - the room we had we absolutely loved - you had to cross over a bridge to get...
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Brunswick_travellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Aalst, Belgium
Level Contributor
283 reviews
276 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 261 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 September 2011

Last part of our journey through Malawi, and indeed the best was kept for last .. After a 1 hour flight from Lilongwe we arrived at this small island, short car ride to the lodge and then .. just enjoy !! We stayed in the Nkwhazi room (has a private plunge pool, 3 decks, and open bath room with excellent view on the lake). The room was all (and more) what we expected, the service was impeccable , Michelle and Rich are wonderful hosts, their staff is very friendly, food (made by Rich) was great, we'll remember the dinners on the beach .. Nothing is too difficult for this place, breakfast or lunch in your room or anywhere else, no problems.. Minor problem , they'll solve it asap ! In fact we spent here 3 days being lazy, doing some snorkeling (great), some short walks and we went to see one of the choirs (nice). And to mention too, the really amazing sunsets you can see out of your room..If you want privacy, romance, good food, and lot's more, this is the place you should go to. For us : one of the most romantic places we've ever been (and we've seen many..)

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank yvakat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lancashire
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 20 September 2011

We have just spent a wonderful few days at Kaya Mawa which was the ideal setting for a romantic wedding. And we must say it was perfect! As well as the stunning location, Michelle did a fantastic job with all the arrangements, including the flowers, choir, and the wedding cake, etc. Thanks to Richard for making the cake and all the delicious meals we enjoyed during our stay. There was no stress at all, the friendly staff looked after us very well - it was a relaxing, fun time with many happy memories to treasure. Thank you.

  • Stayed August 2011
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Helpful?
Thank SJCLancashire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kaya Mawa

Property: Kaya Mawa
Address: P.O. Box 79, Likoma Island, Malawi
Region: 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
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Also Known As:
Kaya Mawa Likoma Island
Kaya Mawa Malawi/Likoma Island

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