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“Best lodge in the area, unique environment...”
Review of Kaya Mawa

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Kaya Mawa
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Likoma Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 9 April 2010

I would like to start by saying that the very few negative reviews on this lodge impress me as being very strange and perhaps intentionally distorted. But I think it raises the point that while Kaya Mawa may be a luxury resort, you may not think so if your idea of luxury is to be in the Four Seasons George V in Paris.

Food, service, quality of the lodging, and location. First, we experienced the food to be very good to excellent. You won't have a full menu from which to choose, but everything we had was really nice. Second, James, the owner/manager, is extremely pleasant and helpful. No complaints about any of the staff -- the service level was very good. Our room was fabulous in terms of view and floor plan. You must expect, though, that you will sleep under a mosquito net and the room will not be airconditioned. It can be unpleasantly warm at some times of the year and there are a lot of flying insects and ants, and some spiders. Don't go if you can't handle this. Finally, the location is extraordinary. If you like to swim, dive, or snorkel, you will probably love this resort. It is unique in my experience as a superbly clear fresh water environment with a lot of fish to look at. We had a lot of fun and are glad we went, even though in truth we prefer something more "civilized".

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank WayneRSam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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152 - 156 of 194 reviews

Reviewed 1 March 2010

I thought Kaya Mawa was amazing. The staff were so friendly and the atmosphere was so calm and peaceful. The lake was clear and beautiful and so refreshing. I will definately return!!! Thankyou to the staff for an unbelievable holiday!

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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Thank CL92
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 February 2010

Perfect Beach, perfect weather stayed in Mango hut with them in season a real hidden gem

Stayed: June 2007, travelled with friends
Thank JamesG4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 January 2010

We liked kaya mawa and likoma island so much, that we decided to get married at the local church on our second visit! This was of course all planned in advance, by the very helpful people at kaya mawa- it probably wouldn't of been possible without them. Not only did they organise the service, but also the flowers, a cake and a special dinner in a location of our choice at kaya. Transport to the church was also included with I, the bride arriving at the church chauffeur driven by quad bike. Not only did all at Kaya Mawa make our big day extra memorable, the run up to the wedding was perfect too. Tasteful accomodation, beautiful beaches to relax and evening dine on ( breakfast, lunch and dinner all fantastic) and water activites ( I learn't dive) make kaya mawa a fantastic place to stay. The people of likoma are incredibly friendly and a walk or cycle around the island and into the small town always seem entertaining. There's also a great shop selling handcrafted goods - which along with other work at kaya helps the local community. There's been mention of bugs on these pages and we can honestly say that we had never noticed it to be a problem, during both our visits in July and Oct , but something that was once said to me' if you don't like crawlies, don't come to Africa'! Definitely worth a visit, an amazing place.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank HBSLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2010

My husband and I planned diverse vacation - Kaya Mawa was to be the relax/romance=/-water sports part of the trip. Sadly, and even despite its natural beauty, it wasn't any of those things. The tone was set when we first arrived - the intimacy of being picked up by the resort's co-owner was squashed by his unfriendly, stand-offish vibe. It was immediately clear that guests and staff were not to mingle, and for that matter, neither were guests and guests. The scheduling is rigid, there's absolutely nothing to do that doesn't involve renting things from Kaya Mawa and the evenings are dominated by the staff filling up the bar and making everyone else feel like they'd best eat up and head off to bed...which is likely full of flies and spiders. Also, the food, the only this there really is to look forward to, sucked. Tasteless and repetitive is kind. Breakfast is really the only meal worth eating.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank adventurekitty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
kayamawa, owner at Kaya Mawa, responded to this reviewResponded 3 February 2010

There seems to be three running themes on recent negative posts on trip advisor, these being the bugs, the manager and where the complaint originates.
I am always mortified that someone has not enjoyed their stay at Kaya Mawa, more so if i am part of that reason.
There is a fine line between being a host ‘in your face’ and being ‘too distant’ or even thought of as ‘stand offish’ and sometime one gets it wrong. As a young romantic couple on honeymoon my guess was they would like their space to be romantic and do their romantic thing perhaps this is not what they wanted.
Kaya Mawa is traditionally a romantic place and with romance surely comes privacy and non-intrusive service.
To suggest the bar is full of staff members is simply untrue. There has only been one manager here since May and that is me. I do go to talk to the guests every evening and ensure that their stay is everything they want it to be. I would love to meet all these extra staff we apparently have to ask them how they have been helping me! Or perhaps other guests were mistaken for staff. Perhaps there has been a cultural difference.
The bugs. Please understand, this is Africa, not NYC. We have no more bugs than anywhere else in Africa, furthermore considerably less mosquitoes and no tetse flies, unlike the bush.
The food. We pride ourselves on our food and get many positive comments.
Activities. Come on, seriously, there is nothing to do, complaining Bob’s Wife said the same thing and i reeled off a host of things that you can do at no extra cost. Yes there are activities which are an extra, this is nothing unusual and quite frankly they are not expensive, it only just covers our cost. We do activities as an extra because some people want to do nothing so it means we can keep our bednight price down. I could do an all inclusive price but then would you want to pay for something that you don’t do!
Anyway the good news is we have new managers starting here who have a wealth of experience in the industry, one of them has over 10 years experience as a chef and has worked in various locations around the world, the other a very experienced hostess as well as an accomplished baker!
A point of note. I check on the guests regularly throughout the day to ensure they are getting what they want from their holiday. I remember these particular guests, at no stage did they mention anything negative, only positive comments. It is extraordinary how someone can have had such an awful stay and yet appeared to be having a lovely time and told me so whilst here. If they had had any issues with food, things to do, bugs, me then i would certainly have addressed them immediately.
I simply do not understand this complaining culture of having to write anonymous negative reviews and personal attacks which is often contrary to opinions whilst staying here. Perhaps it is the fact that the reviewer knows that, due to the rules laid down by Tripadvisor for responses to complaints, whilst they can say whatever they like and name people in their review they can never be named or even intimated. Anonymity is a huge shield to hide behind.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Kaya Mawa

Address: P.O. Box 79, Likoma Island, Malawi
Region: Malawi > Northern Region > Likoma Island
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Likoma Island
Price Range: $685 - $956 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Kaya Mawa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 7
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Also Known As:
Kaya Mawa Likoma Island

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