Likoma and chizimulu islands Travel Guide

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Likoma Island

Likoma Island

Lien, Selina

The pastoral islands of Likoma and Chizimula epitomize Malawi’s raw beauty and offer visitors a stunning preview of the region’s unpretentious natural appeal. Here is a helpful travel guide to give tourists information about the features, attractions and accommodations of these captivating dual islands.


Likoma and Chizimulu are charming twin islands situated on Lake Nyasa and form the Likoma District. They are located just a few kilometers off the coast of Mozambique, are encircled by the Mozambique territorial sea but are officially part of the Malawian Republic. Likoma and Chizimulu were seized and heavily colonized by the Anglican missionaries who spread their wings to the dual islands after a hearty capture of Malawi. Mozambique in turn was colonized by the Portuguese population who refrained from annexing the twin islands. The islands therefore naturally transitioned into the cultural and territorial fold of Malawi and not Mozambique. The primary economic activities of the region are agriculture and fishing. The numerous roads throughout the island are uneven and the only practical way to see the islands is walking through the jagged by-lanes of the region.

Likoma and Chizimulu can be reached by a streamer from the Nkhata Bay or by a plane from the Lilongwe region. To commute between the islands, take the speedy and convenient dhow boats.


The islands do not cater to touristy attractions but the beaches in the region are great places for lounging and sunbathing in the midst of Africa’s rustic wilderness. Swimming fishing, snorkeling and deep sea diving are popular tourist activities on the beaches of Likoma. The main town center of the island also houses an imposing cathedral featuring intricate architectural craftsmanship. The vintage thatched-roofed homes, quaint shops and eateries in the old town are a good way to capture a slice of Malawi’s everyday life.   


Mango Drift in Likoma is a nice, but inexpensive, accommodation option near Nyasa Lake. The resort features a private beach and a diving school, offering diving lessons at extremely reasonable prices. A bed in the dorm costs $2 a night and a chalet room is priced at $4. There is a complimentary shuttle for the guests from Ilala.

Kubira Lodge at Chizimulu is a functional property that has basic rooms and an unassuming bar. The one exceptional feature here is the food which has been reported to be the best in the region. Visitors can rent boats and snorkeling equipment from the lodge.

Kaya Mawa is a relatively expensive resort that offers  a ‘Honeymoon Chalet’ which is priced at $150 per night. From the intimate chalet visitors need to order room service by a hand radio. The in-house restaurant serves delicious meals and romantic 4-course candle-light dinners.

Life on Likoma and Chizimulu Islands is a vivid reminder of the Malawian culture, lifestyle and appreciation for natural beauty.  
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