Ndomo House at Kaya Mawa. Likoma Island. Malawi

Why we love it

Lake Malawi is possibly Africa’s greatest gift. It stretches for nearly 300 kilometres up the Great Rift Valley and offers impossibly beautiful sunsets, snorkelling amongst hundreds of endemic fish species and wonderful relaxation. Kaya Mawa Villa is a magnificent and truly African home on the shores of Likhoma Island offering total privacy and panoramic views. It has been built around the natural boulders and has a Moroccan free-flow design and an earthy and yet sophisticated atmosphere. This was one of the most relaxing family holidays we have ever had.

What to expect

There are 4 spacious open bedrooms all facing the water (3 are en suite), lavish outdoor living spaces and terraces designed for long sundowners. There is a private swimming pool that flows onto its own private beach. Kayaks, sailing, a speed boat and water sport equipment is available. It comes with a chef, nanny, housekeeper and night watchman. Its an easy walk to the nearby Kaya Mawa Lodge for a change of pace.

What to do

Its like a beach holiday on the shores of a massive, fresh-water lake. You can go canoeing, water-skiing, scuba diving and snorkelling amongst Lake Malawi's thousands of species of chiclids. It’s also fun walking through villages and meeting warm, wonderful people. Expect a long line of singing, dancing kids following behind you. You can also visit the Likoma Cathedral which was once the heart of Christianity in Africa.

Kids: It doesn't get much better for kids on the edge of Lake Malawi with its endless warm fresh water and incredible snorkeling. Parents with very young kids may find all the levels of the villa and open staircases plus the expanse of open water hazardous, but there are babysitters on hand.

The good news

Kaya Mawa supports a large local community and all its staff come from the three villages nearby. Over the years Kaya Mawa has supported many development projects from the building of schools to piping water to the villages. A small factory has been built behind the villa producing and exporting stunning cowry shell and bead-embroidered linen and crafts.

When to visit

Malawi is delicously hot all year round, but it can be windy in June/July on the lake.

How to get there

Likoma is a one hour light aircraft transfer from Lilongwe International Airport in Malawi and a further 20 minutes by road to the villa. A visit here combines very well with a visit to Luangwa House in Zambia, which is an easy flight away, offering an ideal bush and beach holiday.

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