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“For the truly civilized...”
Review of Kaya Mawa

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Kaya Mawa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Likoma Island
Certificate of Excellence
Del Mar, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“For the truly civilized...”
Reviewed 31 December 2011

If you want a great big resort with scheduled activities, cookie cutter rooms and sterile surroundings, please don't go to Kaya Mawa. You'll only be disappointed (shame about Bob).

On the other hand, if you want barefoot luxury, privacy, fantastic food, a willing and able staff, loads of self-directed activities and almost inconceivable views, Kaya Mawa should be at the top of your list.

I stayed in the Mbamba room, which was epic. 180 degree views of the lake, extremely private, absolutely huge but minimally and comfortably furnished with a great eco-chic aesthetic. Did I mention the private plunge pool? How about the indoor/outdoor bathroom with a huge tub, magically fluffy towels and all the mod-cons? After eight hot and dusty days on safari, albeit in some very high-end camps, this was practically a mirage.

The food here is superb, the hosting delightful and unobtrusive and while I wanted to explore the cathedral and all of Likoma's other delights, I simply basked in the glow of the Lake and sat on my ample behind.

I've traveled to islands around the world from Bora Bora to Barbados, and I wish there were more unpretentious, understated options like Kaya Mawa. To achieve this level of accommodation and elegance deserves high praise, so much the better without the Disneyland-style resort bells and whistles that would only mar the unique ambience of the island.

I'll be back, Kaya Mawa.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank T S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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185 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (54)
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English first
Johannesburg
Level 6 Contributor
160 reviews
80 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 December 2011

We were not sure what to expect from this holiday but were surprised and elated with what we did find. Kaya Mawa is a secluded resort on a small island in lake Malawi. The service was personal, friendly and very helpful. We stayed in one of the premier rooms- Nkwazi (think I spelt that correctly). The room is situated with a 240 degree view of the lake, over looking a small island and had an individual plunge pool. It was a very private room with large trees and abundant bird life in the trees. Sunsets from the deck were amazing.

The food was great and refreshing. Don't expect the buffets and ala cart menus from the big chain hotels. Expect delicious meals with unusual combinations made from fresh ingredients. We looked forward to each meal and were not disappointed.

Days can be spent diving, snorkelling, sailing or taking trips around the island. We spent ours relaxing around the room and snorkelling. The water was clear and fishes abundant just a few metres from the shore.

This is definitely a resort for those who want to get away from the busy world and relax. If you are looking for a large resort, full of people then this is not the destination for you.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank BushFreak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 November 2011

It is hard to know where to begin when describing this triumph of a hotel. The achievement alone of getting the fabric of the buildings, the first class staff, the ingredients, equipment and room finishings to this singularly remote location staggers the imagination.
The setting in itself is breathtaking and the service faultless.
What a welcome from Michelle - personalised service, thoughtful comments and a room prepped (I am sure under her watchful eye) to the best possible standard. Even the request for a tin of Kiwi shoe polish didn't phase her - worth hearing how they came to have it though.
Richard - conjures up meals of the highest standard and even homemade biscuits appear with your coffee and tea.
I have seen many hotels dumped without any consideration to local communities in beautiful locations, then fenced off as an enclave for the privileged few. Dig a little deeper and you will find that James has given and continues to give a huge amount back to the local community. His support is discrete, unpublicised and I imagine frequently overlooked.
I left after too short a stay in awe of the food, the staff and the entire achievement of Kaya Mawa.
Maybe it wont be as soon as tomorrow, but it will most definitely be again soon.
(Had a good chuckle at some of the balderdash written by stultifyingly naive travellers.)

Room Tip: Just ask or let them know your requirements, I am certain they will find the best possible match.
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with friends
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1 Thank stoffy_abroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
67 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 November 2011

We recently spent 6 nights at Kaya Mawa. It is a beautiful setting and all the accommodation has tremendous character. Everything is done to an extremely high standard – with tremendous attention to detail. Service is excellent, while still being relaxed and fairly informal. Breakfast and lunch are in the restaurant next to the beach, and in the evening tables are laid out around the beach with lanterns, for romantic candle (and lantern) -lit dinners. Or, if you prefer you can have your meals served on your deck at your room at a time which you arrange beforehand - which is a really nice touch. When they came to lay out our table on our deck for dinner they even brought flower (hibiscus?) petals to decorate the table setting. There are plenty of things to keep guests occupied if that’s what you want but we mainly relaxed around our accommodation and pottered around in and on the water. The food was great - we are both vegetarians and were very well catered for – it’s always appreciated when we go away to get balanced meals, rather than just vegetables. We started off in Ngani, which is really nice, and then moved to Madimba, which is fabulous, but we managed to have a good look round several of the various places during our stay and they were all really nice in their own different ways. At Madimba we had our own pool, which was filled up for us when we moved in, kept clean during our time there, and then emptied out before the next guests (at least, I’m pretty sure this is what happens as all the pools in the unoccupied places were empty and clean). Thank you Michelle, Rich, and James for your generosity and kindness and to all the team there for looking after us so well.

Room Tip: Read the website descriptions. All of the rooms are unique so pick the one that suits you best.
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  • Stayed October 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank GeorgeandJaki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level 2 Contributor
2 reviews
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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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 (per night): $505 - $1,030
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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