Likoma Island is a well hidden and not so well hidden secret to Malawi’s ultimate Island experience and unspoiled virgin beaches.
Everyone should visit Likoma at least once which will wet their appetite as it did my friends and mine, now we can’t wait to visit the Island again and again. Likoma can be found in the northern waters of Lake Malawi; Likoma and Chizumulu Islands make up Likoma District.
Travelling to the Island is an adventure in itself; with the option of using the ILALA ship which has sailed to LIKOMA for over 60 years since 1951. Stepping on this ship is part of the LIKOMA experience and it shouldn’t be missed, the top deck offers a 360 view of lake Malawi and its restaurant will surprise you with tasty food. MV Chilembwe is a faster, more modern ship; ilala’s modern emancipated smaller baby and it gets you to the island 1 hour and 30 mins faster than Ilala. Traveling by water enables every visitor to enjoy and appreciate Lake Malawi more, the waters are so blue and at some point a pretty shade of green with the sun twinkling off the waters surface. On a clear night the view is a feast for avid star gazers and also time to soak in the pretty skies with the moon shinning on lake Malawi. Visitors can also fly to Likoma and enjoy the beautiful aerial views of the island. Travelling to Likoma during the Likoma Music Festival is the best decision we made as the Ilala’s top deck became the festival goers club with the DJ spinning his tracks and the whole ship our playground.
Arriving in Likoma can be an emotional experience from land to water and back on land surrounded by water with different types of accommodation on offer depending on the traveler’s choice including the famous award-winning Kaya Mawa resort. In recent years the island has been named as one of the top destinations to visit, it doesn’t take one long to figure out why. Ulisa Bay Lodge welcomed my friends and me with warmth, were attentive and anticipated our every need, it was our little happy place.
It is a place that speaks to the soul, the waters call you to swim in them even when you don’t know how to, the clear waters have hundreds species of little colorful fish that are visible right from the beach, providing an excellent snorkeling treat for all.
The island has the best beaches, hidden coves, friendly people, history and ultimate get away for an easy relaxed vacation. it is best enjoyed with friends and family.
Visitors on the island can go on boat cruises around Likoma and Chizumulu islands, to Mozambique which is only 7 kms away, walks and cycling on the nature trails around the island, visit Fudwe museum, diving, sailing and more water sports. The annual Likoma Music festival hosted at Chiponde Beach offers visitors and festival goers a nonstop party in the sun and moonlight with music, performances and traditional dances.
The visit is not complete without a tour of the St Peter’s Cathedral, the third largest cathedral in Central Africa. Built in 1903, the architectural style and details are enthralling. I was told and have always read that the cathedral is huge until I visited I still had my doubts about the scale of it. The cathedral bell tower roof offers one of the best views of lake Malawi, the island’s coves and beaches.
I have had a taste of Likoma, my friends and I will be back.