An intriguing beach hideaway with bucket loads of character
From the moment you fly onto Likoma Island in your tiny, five-seater Cessna, you’ll be entranced by the laidback rhythm of island life. And then you’ll reach Kaya Mawa, tucked away on a cotton-candy beach overlooking the lake, and life just gets better and better. One of those fabulous lodges that has effortlessly-relaxed, beach-chic style down to a T, Kaya is truly a slice of heaven. Think immaculately decorated rooms built into the granite rocks, chilled-out water activities, and gourmet food, all mixed with incredible views and even better cocktails. In the local Nyanja language, Kaya Mawa actually means ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ – and relaxation is most certainly the order of the day here.
At the lodge
Surrounded by mango trees and ancient baobabs, Kaya Mawa is built around a granite headland overlooking the pristine bay. With resurrected fishing boats, dressed with colourful cushions, and reclaimed glass hanging from elaborate lamp shades, the main lodge area is decorated using fabrics and pieces from the local Katundu Textiles workshop. Dine on your own agenda and prepare to be dazzled by the spectacular food that wouldn’t feel out of place in Europe’s trendiest restaurants, and let the fabulous team cater to your every need. The whole lodge has a uniquely relaxed atmosphere with effortless attention to detail.
The 12 stone-and-teak-framed cottages are dotted around the rocks and look out over the crystal-clear waters of Lake Malawi. Each is immaculately decorated, with dashes of pastel blue and pink (in keeping with the beach theme, of course), polished concrete floors, big beds, sunken bathtubs and obligatory loo with a view. All are a little bit quirky – some are built into the rocks, some are accessed by wooden walkways and some are larger than others – but all are heavenly. We highly recommend diving straight into the lake from your private terrace and swimming to the beach for a signature Eggs Benedict at breakfast!
Spend your day unwinding on the squeaky white sand, try your hand at sailing, quad bike to the local village or take a boat around the island. If you’re in need of some R&R (and who isn’t?) have a massage overlooking the bay in the perfectly-positioned massage hut. You can also visit the Katundu workshop and watch the local women hand-stitching shells and beads onto crisp linens and the beautiful Kikoy cushions – and then make some purchases too. Food is also one of the big activities here and all 3 meals are something to look forward – oh and remember to ask Martin to shake you a "Dark Elephant" at sunset.