An intriguing beach hideaway with bucket loads of character
Nestled in the corner of a turquoise bay on Likoma Island, looking out across Lake Malawi to Mozambique, Kaya Mawa is a trendy lodge with an effortlessly relaxed, beach-chic style. From the moment you fly into the island on a five seater Cessna plane, you fall into the Malawian rhythm. Transformed by owner James Lightfoot and his wife Suzie in 2011, Kaya Mawa feels very much part of the local island community with children and fishermen waving you a warm welcome as you drive in on the dirt roads. As implied by the local name—"Maybe Tomorrow"—relaxation is very much the order of the day in this little beach paradise.
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 Suzie's Katundu Textiles workshop. Dine on your own agenda and prepare to be dazzled by Rich, the extraordinarily talented resident chef. You will be extremely well looked after by the lovely Michelle who has created a uniquely relaxed atmosphere with effortless attention to detail.
Each of the 12 rooms, dotted around the rocks look out onto the crystal clear water of Lake Malawi, each with a unique style and charm. The stone and teak-framed thatched cottages are immaculately decorated, with a dash of pastel blue in keeping with the beach theme, polished concrete floors, big beds, sunken bathtubs and obligatory loo with a view. Wake up and dive straight into the lake from your private terrace and swim to the beach for the signature Eggs Benedict. For families and groups, we'd recommend the stunning Ndomo House, with your own chef and private pool, a short boat ride from the lodge.
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 need some R&R have a massage overlooking the bay. You can also visit Suzie's Katundu workshop and watch local orphaned women hand-stitching shells and beads onto crisp linens and Kenyan Kikoy cushion covers. Food is also one of the big activities of the day. In the evening, sit at the water's edge gazing at the star-lit lake. Also remember to ask Martin to shake you a "Dark Elephant" at sunset.