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“A Dream Location”
Review of Kaya Mawa

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Kaya Mawa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Likoma Island
Certificate of Excellence
Lagos, Nigeria
Level Contributor
50 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“A Dream Location”
Reviewed 1 November 2013

My family of 5 spent 4 nights at Kaya Mawa. I fell in love with this lodge by reading Trip Advisor reviews and decided to book a trip to Malawi. I can honestly say we were not disappointed! Likoma Island is a hidden paradise where we felt like the rest of the world just dropped away. The sunset over the lake is spectacular. The lake itself is safe for children and my kids splashed and played in the water all week. We snorkeled, went ringo tubing, and kayaking. The location feels like a tropical hideaway with its lovely beach, turquoise water, and thatched roofed villas tucked into the rocks and trees. Our 2 bedroom villa was ideal for our family. It is right on the beach with easy access to the main common areas, yet far enough from the other villas so everyone has their privacy. The decor gave the perfect light and airy coastal feel.
We visited the local school and donated some supplies I brought with us. We also went to the cathedral and village market.
Dining on the water's edge was fabulously romantic. At the suggestion of the manager, we arranged for the children to eat first so we could have dinner after. It was perfect. The service overall was excellent. All of the staff at the lodge made sure we were very well taken care of.
Our one suggestion to put on the list of 'things to pack" would be water shoes. The sand on this beach is coarse and difficult to walk on barefoot. You will need flip flops to walk around and water shoes to protect your feet from the rocks in the water.
We will remember forever our amazing Kaya Mawa experience.

Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
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2 Thank JessTex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (51)
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English first
Winchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 October 2013

We stayed at KM after 2 weeks safari in Zambia with 3 separate camps and 6 internal light aircraft flights so were well & truly ready for some relaxation!

This resort is spectacularly beautiful and on just the most pleasant island you could imagine. We travelled in September and the Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa were bone dry and dusty - what a contrast at Likoma which is just such a fantastic place to stay. We were in Nhkwazi which is the most spectacular space - whatever you do, beg steal or borrow but definitely go for a premium room.

All the staff were absolutely great with nothing being too much trouble. We were even tutored by Helen and Martin to begin speaking the language with some predictable fun over errors. There is tons to do here or simply relax - its up to you. I would say our only small negative concerned the food. In Zambia, we had stayed in top notch camps where to food was incredible given the locations. At KM the food was OK in the main but not up to the same standard. There was one seriously tough piece of beef and salmon for dinner (bit bizarre in an African lake resort??!!) which was not good. lunches were good but on 2 or 3 mornings the juice was fizzy and the milk off, a gentle pointer to below standard food storage?? Overall, its is not a problem but the contrast with where we stayed on safari was noticeable.

Could not recommend this resort more highly for all the reasons that you will read about in all the reviews - overall a fabulous experience.

Room Tip: Pay for a premium room!
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank 44Gray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 October 2013

We have just returned from seven nights at Kaya Mawa and simply cannot praise this place enough. We are seasoned independent travellers; we've been doing the rounds for 20-odd years and always like to end our travels with a week or so of rest at a spoiling resort. We are seldom disappointed but rarely are we as comprehensively thrilled by the style, luxury and quality of service.

The staff were simply delightful. Not just the management team but also the local villagers who provide most of the hands-on service; clearly a well-trained and well looked-after team.

The food was exceptionally good, especially given the supply constraints to a remote island in Lake Malawi. Richard has found many and intriguing ways to make the most of the ingredients and offers a very delicious, healthy and varied diet. At first we found the idea of "no menu for lunch and dinner" rather strange, but soon learnt that it was a delight to have that question of choice taken away from you. If you do have food fads or specific dietary needs, we are reliably informed that you still get well looked after. We looked forward to every meal. Further, we are the sort of people who usually eschew breakfast, lunch and dinner arrangements as we really don't normally eat three meals a day. But the quantities, styles of food and relaxed timings for meals actually worked well for us. We neither gained nor lost weight.

The activities are excellent - we are not particularly adventurous once we are relaxing at our final resort but we tried quad-biking around the island which was fun. We also did lots of snorkelling around the rocks near the resort's beach - a very gentle way to enjoy seeing zillions of fish. We didn't bother with scuba diving but those who did it loved it. We did enjoy kayaking and Janie even tried some water skiing with the ever-patient Josh.

It is Africa and you do get some little visitors in your room - we ended up with a pet frog (who seemed to think he was a dog) and a pied crow who would try to steal our morning coffee milk whenever we weren't looking. So if your idea of luxury has to be hermetically sealed, then this place won't be for you.

It is a romantic place - most (but not all) of the other guests were honeymooners or romantically-inclined couples like ourselves. To some extent, people therefore keep themselves to themselves (which we like) but we did get to meet most of the other guests and found them delightful. Unpleasant people therefore should not apply!

Kaya Mawa is the epitome of what "barefoot luxury" should be - I hate that phrase because it is usually a euphemism for "bare-faced larceny" - but Kaya Mawa is genuinely delightful and luxurious in a simple, elegant way.

We cannot recommend this place highly enough.

Room Tip: We stayed in Nhkwazi and would recommend it highly. The three/four decks and plunge pool make it a...
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank IanLHarris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Warwickshire
Level Contributor
75 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 October 2013

We stayed for 3 nights at the end of our travels in Malawi and Zambia and wished we were staying for a lot longer!
We arrived on a very compact and bijoux plane (seating 6) and were met at the 'airport' by a couple of the team from Kaya. It was a lovely trip through a couple of villages and we received the usual very warm Malawian welcome from everyone we saw.
We were met by Michelle and Josh who took us for a nice cool drink before heading for our room. We were in Mbungu which is listed as a 'standard room' - all I can say is there's nothing standard about it! The room had beautiful views with our own deck giving us direct access to the Lake. The rooms are also provided with snorkelling gear, so you can swim with the fish as much as you like. The bed was exceptionally comfortable and waking up with the sound of the Lake and morning birds was delightful. We also took off our flip-flops on arrival and didn't put them back on till we left - sums up the whole experience!
The bar and sitting areas were super with lots of beautiful spots to enjoy a sundowner and take in the wonderful Lake views. On our last evening we walked up to the lookout point at the end of the bay and it was quite spectacular.
We took advantage of the various activities - there are kayaks which you can help yourself to and if you fancy exploring the island there are plenty of options. We went on a morning cruise round the island - stopping for a wonderful breakfast, having a snorkel and spotting Fish Eagles. We also stopped at Chipyela and visited St. Peter's Cathedral - it's a sight to behold - the mission houses are also still there and it's quite a thriving community. We would recommend this trip - was great to see the Island from the water. It was also good time-wise as we left at 07.00 and were back by lunchtime - so left our afternoon free.
My husband completed a taster diving lesson and had 1:1 tutoring - he really enjoyed the experience and of course where better than Lake Malawi to have a go!
The entire team are excellent - Michelle and Becky are always around to see how you're getting on and arrange any trips you may fancy. They're also really good fun and lovely people - we truly enjoyed our chats. Richard is the chef (who we never saw) but his food was lovely and each meal was very special and Josh was on hand to give advice should you wish to go diving. The rest of the team were also super - nothing was ever too much trouble and we also practiced our Chichewa - I'm sure our pronunciation was dreadful but everyone was very tolerant and encouraging! Especially Martin who wrote the words down for us - still having a go!
Another highlight was the local church choir who performed on one of the evenings - it was impossible to sit still and we were dancing and 'singing' along. So much energy and enthusiasm - a wonderful musical treat.
So to everyone at Kaya Mawa Dzikomo Kwambiri...and we hope to be back soon!

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank WarwickshirelittleL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 October 2013

Stayed 7 nights in the Madimba House at the beginning of our holiday, moving on to safari at Chinzombo and Chongwe River Camp.
The Lodge is totally stunning, by far the best "beach lodge" we have stayed at in Africa!
From the management, staff and food it really is a 5* hidden paradise. The rooms are quirky and luxurious, if you can take one of the houses with a plunge pool it offers a totally private experience in your own little oasis.
Any chance of a little pudding at lunchtime Rich!
Cannot recommend it enough, it's definitely worth the journey.

J & A, London SW18

Room Tip: All rooms are stunning
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jas722013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lee, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 October 2013

Just back from 8 nights and an amazing holiday at kaya mawa. We've done a bit of travelling over the last few years- Mauritius, Caribbean, Zanzibar, Oz and kaya is comfortably the best place we've been. The setting is stunning, the rooms luxurious and best of all the staff are brilliant and couldn't have been more welcoming or helpful.

We started in a 'standard' room- officially an understatement- and then, to celebrate our engagement whilst we were there, the guys upgraded us to a premium room which turned out to be a stunning 2 bed house at the end of the beach.

We're active types and found plenty to do, mainly out on the water and the benefits of fresh water in the lake cannot be overstated- no salty skin or stinging eyes!

Breakfast in your room, as much or as little to do as you wish, amazing sunsets and delicious dinners out on the beach lit by lanterns at night, all set in a truly stunning location- what more could you want?

We liked it so much we're going back to get married there in May!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank james w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth
Level Contributor
13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 October 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.
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank gonein60
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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