Lodges

Kaya Mawa

An intriguing beach hideaway with bucket loads of character

Kaya Mawa

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

The hotel

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.

The rooms

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.

On safari

Experiences

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.

When to go

Lake Malawi by month

January

Season: Wet
  • Often the wettest month of the year, with relatively high temperatures and long nights of rain.
  • This is a risky time of year for a beach holiday with unpredictable weather.
  • Enjoy exceptional year round diving and snorkelling with warm waters and clarities that never drop below 15 meters.
  • Don't forget to pack sun block and a hat, Africa has a powerful sun year round.

February

Season: Wet
  • A very wet month with regular nightly rainfall and high daytime temperatures.
  • This is a risky time of year for a beach holiday with unpredictable weather.
  • Lake Malawi has exceptional year round diving and snorkelling with warm waters and clarities that never drop below 15 meters.
  • Don't forget to pack sun block and a hat, Africa has a powerful sun year round.

March

Season: Wet
  • Rainfall begins to decline although is still reasonably high during this month, with showers usually occurring over night and daytime temperatures being relatively hot.
  • The unpredictability of the weather makes this destination a gamble for a beach holiday.
  • With a wide variety of cichlids (tropical fish), take advantage of the unique lake diving and snorkelling, enjoying warm waters and clarities of no less than 15 meters.
  • There is an activity for every moment of the day on Lake Malawi, including kite boarding, kayaking, water skiing or even learning to sail.
  • Take a quad biking trip on Likoma Island, an area known for its cultural scenes and an impressive cathedral.
  • Don't forget to pack sun block and a hat, Africa has a powerful sun year round.

April

Season: Wet
  • The wet season is coming to an end, with temperatures still hot but dropping as rainfall decreases with each passing day.
  • Take advantage of the first dry days of the season by heading to the white sandy beaches of Lake Malawi.
  • Enjoy exceptional year round diving and snorkelling with warm waters and clarities that never drop below 15 meters.
  • There are numerous activities available on Lake Malawi, such as kite boarding, kayaking, water skiing or even learning to sail.
  • Explore Likoma Island on a quad biking trip, taking in the cultural scenes and an impressive cathedral.
  • Don't forget to pack sun block and a hat, Africa has a powerful sun year round.

May

Season: Dry
  • The ideal time of year to relax on the tropical shores of Lake Malawi.
  • Lake Malawi has exceptional year round diving and snorkelling with warm waters and clarities that never drop below 15 meters.
  • With so many water activities available on Lake Malawi, including kite boarding, kayaking, water skiing and sailing, there won't be a moment to waste.
  • Likoma Island is best explored by quad bike, with friendly locals, cultural scenes and a large cathedral.
  • Don't forget to pack sun block and a hat, Africa has a powerful sun year round.
  • The dry season has began, rainfall subsides and the temperatures are hot but dropping.

June

Season: Dry
  • The dry season is in full swing with slightly cooler temperatures and little to no rain expected.
  • Take advantage of pristine weather, relaxing on the beaches of Lake Malawi.
  • With a wide variety of cichlids (tropical fish), take advantage of the unique lake diving and snorkelling, enjoying warm waters and clarities of no less than 15 meters.
  • There is an activity for every moment of the day on Lake Malawi, including kite boarding, kayaking, water skiing or even learning to sail.
  • Take a quad biking trip on Likoma Island, an area known for its cultural scenes and an impressive cathedral.
  • Don't forget to pack sun block and a hat, Africa has a powerful sun year round.

July

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are cooler with almost no chance of rain.
  • A wonderful time of year for lounging on the picturesque beaches of Lake Malawi.
  • Enjoy exceptional year round diving and snorkelling with warm waters and clarities that never drop below 15 meters.
  • Take advantage of the numerous activities available on Lake Malawi such as kite boarding, kayaking, water skiing or even learn to sail.
  • Explore Likoma Island on a quad biking trip, taking in the cultural scenes and an impressive cathedral.
  • Don't forget to pack sun block and a hat, Africa has a powerful sun year round.

August

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are ideal, with only a couple of days rainfall across the whole month.
  • A great time for recliner relaxation on the white sandy beaches of Lake Malawi.
  • With a wide variety of cichlids (tropical fish), take advantage of the unique lake diving and snorkelling, enjoying warm waters and clarities of no less than 15 meters.
  • With so many water activities available on Lake Malawi, including kite boarding, kayaking, water skiing and sailing, there won't be a moment to waste.
  • Likoma Island is best explored by quad bike, with friendly locals, cultural scenes and a large cathedral.
  • Don't forget to pack sun block and a hat, Africa has a powerful sun year round.

September

Season: Dry
  • The end of the dry season is approaching with temperatures and humidity beginning to climb in this month and little to no chance of rainfall.
  • At this time of the year, Lake Malawi provides the perfect setting for island relaxation and care free living.
  • The best time for diving or snorkelling with warm water temperatures and incredible dive clarity of up to 25 meters during this month.
  • Take advantage of the numerous activities available on Lake Malawi such as kite boarding, kayaking, water skiing or even learn to sail.
  • Take a quad biking trip on Likoma Island, an area known for its cultural scenes and an impressive cathedral.
  • Don't forget to pack sun block and a hat, Africa has a powerful sun year round.

October

Season: Dry
  • This is one of the hottest months of the year with the first afternoon showers occurring towards the end of the month.
  • Take advantage of the end of the dry season by reclining on the beach, icy cocktail in hand.
  • The best time for diving or snorkelling with warm water temperatures and incredible dive clarity of up to 25 meters during this month.
  • There are numerous activities available on Lake Malawi such as kite boarding, kayaking, water skiing or even learn to sail.
  • Explore Likoma Island on a quad biking trip, taking in the cultural scenes and an impressive cathedral.
  • Don't forget to pack sun block and a hat, Africa has a powerful sun year round.

November

Season: Dry
  • The start of the wet season with sporadic rainfall, usually in the form of late afternoon showers.
  • This month is usually a gamble for beach relaxation with long hours of glowing sunlight but the potential for rain is ever present.
  • The best time for diving or snorkelling with warm water temperatures and incredible dive clarity of up to 25 meters during this month.
  • There is an activity for every moment of the day on Lake Malawi, including kite boarding, kayaking, water skiing or even learning to sail.
  • Explore Likoma Island on a quad biking trip, taking in the cultural scenes and an impressive cathedral.
  • Don't forget to pack sun block and a hat, Africa has a powerful sun year round.

December

Season: Wet
  • Approaching the peak of the wet season, temperatures are relatively high with regular rainfall in the form of heavy showers.
  • This is a risky time of year for a beach holiday with high humidity, temperatures and rainfall.
  • Diving and snorkelling conditions are prime in early early December, with warm water and a clarity of 25 meters, this tails of towards the end of the month but is never bad.
  • Take a quad biking trip on Likoma Island, an area known for its cultural scenes and an impressive cathedral.
  • Don't forget to pack sun block and a hat, Africa has a powerful sun year round.

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