Kaya Mawa

Reviews of Kaya Mawa

Excellent(95%) From 19 travellers
Excellent
16
Good
1
Average
2
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Below are independent comments from 19 of our travellers who have visited Kaya Mawa, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Ms A & Mr M from Lagos
Arrived on: 21-Aug-2018 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

As life should be....

We spent a perfect four nights at Kaya Mawa. What a superb place to relax with kind, generous and welcoming management, wonderful efficient staff and the lovely resident dog Kiera.

Allie and Ollie were perfect hosts and eager to offer guests the idyllic stay that the location inspires. They very generously upgraded our stay to a premium room, Mbamba with stunning views and our own plunge pool and private area. The room was spacious, beautifully decorated with a fridge and open bathroom. We felt the room to be well equipped with everything provided including wraps and sun hats which is excellent considering the restricted luggage allowance if arriving by small aircraft.

The accommodation is arranged amongst the rocks and therefore very private. Anybody with mobility issues would be wise to study room options and request accordingly. The ambiance was so very calm, private and unobtrusive. It is not necessary to socialise with others if that is your preference. Power can be sporadic at Kaya Mawa but that goes with the location, and my understanding is that steps are underway to secure a more stable and reliable supply.

The staff and community are an integral part of the success of Kaya Mawa and it is encouraging to see the combination, coordination and mutual appreciation and encouragement.

The food was superb and we did not eat a bad meal during our stay. Dinner was served on the beach and sundowners could be enjoyed either in your room or at the communal area, and tea and coffee were bought to your room at your requested time the following morning. Drinks were charged for and not expensive in our opinion given the location and there was a varied range and wine list.

Sundowners I believe can also be enjoyed at the nearby wonderful viewpoint with views over Mozambique and the surrounding area.

Non motorised activities were included in our rate and other excursion options available. We elected to take quad bikes with guide to explore the Island and the Cathedral and this was a great morning. We thoroughly enjoyed this experience. There is also a resident diving instructor on the premises.

The Island was also easy and safe to explore on foot and we enjoyed a walk to visit Mango Drift for a lunchtime drink with a stop at the Katundu workshop en-route. There is also a shop at the lodge selling lovely items made at the workshop. The decor in the rooms is also a great showcase for their work. Items can be shipped if unable to be carried.

There is a spa service with facials, massages and a selection of other treatments. We did not utilise this so cannot comment.

Connection permitting there is limited wi-fi available in the office area and tips can be left in a tip box in the office to be distributed to lodge staff by an elected committee.

The ambiance at Kaya Mawa is as you imagine: relaxed, calm, welcoming and truly special and we wish the management and staff continued success. The lodge is exactly as the photographs suggest and it would be hard to be disappointed in your stay.

We experienced quite a lengthly re-scheduling of our Ulendo flight on departure which Allie very kindly helped to ease by permitting us to use our room until lunchtime and offering us some complimentary services. This was greatly appreciated.

Thank you for a special and memorable few days.



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Peter & Helenka from UK
Arrived on: 19-Jul-2018 Stayed for: 2 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

A gem

Wonderful place. Staff and management just so attentive. Location amazing. Food out of this world, could easily be a top rated London restaurant standard Lovely wine list.

The rooms brilliantly designed quirky features like Porthmeirion but an even better setting.

Cannot recommend this place too highly sorry we only had two nights but will try to revisit in future

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Mr H from Isle of Man
Arrived on: 17-Sep-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Kaya Mawa was special

This place is truly paradise. From the moment we arrived, we started smiling and we didn’t stop.

The location is wonderful and it has been used to good effect to create interesting and beautiful rooms with lots of privacy and taking advantage of the views of the lake. A boat ride around the Island took all morning, stopping for a visit to the local craft co-operative and then the incredible cathedral.

The staff were warm and friendly and nothing was too much trouble. On two nights, staff brought along a village gospel choir and a band to entertain us. Dancing to African drum beats on a sandy beach on the lakeside at sunset was truly a memorable experience.

The food was nothing short of amazing - imaginative with fresh ingredients, all produced from a challenging supply line.

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Ms H & Mr F from Chicago
Arrived on: 10-Jul-2017 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Our African beach heaven

This is our second trip to Kaya Mawa in two years, we love it that much. Every meal was amazing & so were the massages. It was so nice to see Michelle, Martin, Harold & MacDonald again! We stayed in the Nkhwazi room for the second time - has its own pool, tons of outdoor space & views of Mozambique. And the lodge now has an adorable dog! We will be back!

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Mr C & Mrs M from Cheshire
Arrived on: 14-Oct-2016 Stayed for: 5 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

The idyllic Kaya Mawa

Kaya Mawa is an absolutely outstanding place.

We just loved everything about it from staff to service to location to activities.

Would definitely seriously consider returning here.

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Ms H & Mr F from Chicago
Arrived on: 13-Jul-2015 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Sheer perfection

There are not enough superlatives to describe how relaxing, perfect, special & magical Kaya Mawa is. My husband & I stayed in the Nhkwazi premium room, which sits on a hill overlooking the lake. The room is massive & has a ton of outdoor seating spots (which is perfect, as we love to sit outside for hours reading, chatting, drinking & enjoying the views) & a private plunge pool. Also loved the outdoor shower w/ a view of the lake! It was so awesome being lulled to sleep by the cool breeze & sounds of water lapping at the rocks right below us.

Kaya Mawa offers a ton of activities (all non-motorized water activities like snorkeling, paddleboarding & kayaking are complimentary). We were mostly lazy & just laid out on the beach & swam, but did a quad bike tour (super fun!) around the island one afternoon, got massages & visited the Katundu workshop on another afternoon. The workshop is staffed primarily by single mothers & their products are great! http://www.katundu.net/workshop.html Kaya Mawa has many of their products in the rooms & common areas of the lodge & we purchased several of their gorgeous items. We also got fabulous massages on our last full day. Despite it being winter in Malawi, it could get pretty warm during the day (I would guess about 80+ F degrees) & the water is so clear & so refreshing to swim in. On the day we left, I went for a 7a.m. swim & was joined by a family of otters!!!

The food was out-of-this-world amazing. Not one meal was even just average – everything was crazy delicious!!! The food is also very fresh & healthy – lots of fruits & vegetables w/ every meal. Ahhhh-mazing!!!

The people who work there are of the highest caliber. They really went above & beyond to make our too-brief stay there extra memorable & special. They arranged a surprise private Swahili dinner on the beach one night as well as private sundowners on a jetty. They also get the little details just right.

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Mr & Mrs B from Winchester
Arrived on: 13-Oct-2014 Stayed for: 7 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Good
Good

Kaya Mawa - stress buster extraordinaire!

A heavenly location in which to chill out and recover from the delights and excitement of early morning game drives, heat and dust on safari. A safe and friendly island with minimal commercial activity or modern day pressures. The pace of life was gentle and stress free.

Our room was exactly as we had pictured - cool, comfortable and literally on the beach, and a stones throw from the bar and restaurant.. Attractive locally produced fabrics and furnishings, great shaded sitting out area and sundeck with huge sun umbrella. High quality toiletries, robes and kikoys were provided, plus full snorkelling kit - flippers, mask and snorkel.

The dress code was very relaxed, and you only needed flip flops, trainers (for walks), cotton beach gear and swim things.

A quad bike ride was a must, taking in the fabric/furnishings workshop, radio mast highest view point of the island, St.Peter's Cathedral, local market and ferry point. We used the mountain bikes once, which was an interesting way of seeing more of the island, but were discouraged by the poor condition of the bikes - my pedal came off, and the front brake did not work. We understand that maintenance and spares are a problem.

My wife sailed the Laser dinghy a couple of times, and I kayaked every day.

My wife enjoyed a refresher scuba dive, whilst I stuck to swimming around the bay and rocks.

Local walks were fun - everybody walks on this island of 7,000+ inhabitants and less than 10 vehicles - very welcoming local villagers, lovely views. we would have liked a more accurate local island map to plan our walks and avoid getting hopelessly lost - quite a lot of new dirt roads have been added. Perhaps production of a new map could be given as a project to pupils at one of the local schools.

The staff at Kaya Mawa were very attentive and well trained in looking after guests. They struck the right balance between providing good service, giving information on island life and the villages, and avoiding being intrusive. They put on a delightful evening performance of singing, dancing and drumming, with numbers supplemented from the local village. The room was serviced several times per day and laundry returned promptly. Management should be proud of what they have achieved.

Meals were healthy, tastey, and in keeping with the KM offering, using local produce and imaginative recipes. We had chicken, beef and pork, served with fresh vegetables and fruit. There was no choice, but the variety and quality of the dishes of the day was excellent. KM does not cater for fast food addicts - thank goodness! We really enjoyed dining on the beach by the lakeside - great for romantics!

Set backs were minimal. One morning our loo started to leak from the base of the pedestal (not an unusual occurence, apparently), but the works team were on the case quickly, and we were presented with a half bottle of champagne at sundowner time to compensate for the inconvenience. On our last day the weather broke unexpectedly early with a fierce rain storm - roof maintenance had not been done since the last rainy season, and one or two guests had to be moved to alternative accommodation to avoid being flooded.

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Mr & Mrs D from Oxon
Arrived on: 2-Sep-2014 Stayed for: 7 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Kaya Mawa review

A perfect end to a perfect holiday. Food out of this world, fabulous accommodation and attentive staff. Quiet,peaceful and no need to socialise with anyone else if you don't want to.

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Mr Z & Ms D from Vancouver
Arrived on: 16-Sep-2013 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent
Mr & Mrs I from Cheadle
Arrived on: 5-Aug-2013 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Average
Average
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Poor
Poor
Service:
Average
Average
Food:
Average
Average
Facilities:
Average
Average

Kaya Mawa review

Kaya Mawa was a disappointing experience. Despite booking lakeside rooms back in January, which had been confirmed by Expert Africa, we were alarmed to be told by Michelle that she always got out of breath going up to our room, Mbamba,, which was not what we had booked. It was the former restaurant up on the highest rock. She said Expert Africa had 'upgraded' us so we told her we would take it up with them. It appears this was not so. Not for us a room with a view - unless we were prepared to sit on the bed or take a chair indoors and look out of the window. The alternative was to look at a concrete plunge pool or sit surrounded by trees. We envied those guests who could take advantage of room service.;when we tried we had to eat indoors on our knee because the flies were so bad under the trees round the balcony.

Our meal on our first evening was excessively salty - we mentioned it when we were asked but were told we were probably suffering from sensory overload. How rude!

If you have any hankering for exploring Likoma Island independently after safari, forget it unless you are happy to report your plans in advance. It is hotel policy to inform islanders what the guests will be doing/ where they are going which we found very disconcerting. If you are happy to stay at the hotel and access the many water sports then that may not concern you.

We are not picky, difficult travellers and this is the first time ever that we have had a sufficiently disappointing experience.to feel so aggrieved despite many years of travelling. We certainly don't agree with the judgement in Lonely Planet.

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Expert Africa comments

We were very sorry indeed that these travellers didnt enjoy their stay. We forwarded their comments to Kaya Mawas owner, James, who was also very upset.

Looking back: we reserved their preferred (standard) room, Ngani, when they booked their trip with us in January 13. Shortly afterwards, this room was redeveloped and upgraded to be a premier room; we were advised that the clients had been upgraded to that category by the Kaya Mawa team.

The Kaya Mawa team had, in fact, upgraded these travellers to a different premier room, Mbamba which they expected them to like. This room is substantially larger than Ngani and is on top of the small kopjie beside the lake, with views through trees to the lake. However, as the water was accessed by steps and a short walk this didnt please these travellers; theyd wanted to be right beside the lake.

A misunderstanding caused this error, which couldnt be rectified during their visit.

Becky made the comment about sensory overload, and was aghast that these travellers took it as being rude. She assures us that she would never have intended this, and that there must have been a misunderstanding.

James clarified to us that there is no need for any travellers to report their plans in advance for island activities; travellers are free to explore Likoma Island on their own. The exception is visiting the Cathedral, for which Kaya Mawa does usually phone ahead to ensure that it is open. It seems that there must have been a misunderstanding over this.

Finally, wed comment that we have no idea at all whats written in the Lonely Planet book about Kaya Mawa but were not at all surprised that its in error. Generally we find the Bradt Travel Guides to be far more accurate! ☺

We feel that the mix-up over the wrong room being allocated did not help these clients to enjoy their stay..

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