Likoma Island






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Situated in the sparkling waters of Lake Malawi, Likoma Island is a gem in the heart of Africa. Geographically, Likoma belongs to Malawi, but it’s physically closer to Mozambique, which encloses Lake Malawi on its other three sides. It’s the larger of two inhabited islands in the lake, the other one being the nearby Chizumulu. With a land area of about 18 square kilometers, Likoma Island is a small but vibrant paradise known for its friendly people and striking landscapes.


The island is predominantly flat, with rocky outcrops and sandy beaches adorning its perimeter.

Towering baobab trees provide shaded spots under the sun, their thick trunks and twisted branches a characteristic feature of the local flora.

A network of dirt roads connects the island’s settlements, weaving between fields of cassava and maize, the island’s staple crops.


One of the most iconic landmarks on Likoma Island is St. Peter’s Cathedral.

Built at the turn of the 20th century by British missionaries, it’s one of the largest churches in Central Africa and a marvel of architecture in this remote location.

The cathedral’s imposing structure, complete with stained glass windows and carved soapstone details, bears testament to Likoma’s complex colonial history.


For leisure, swimming, snorkeling, and diving in Lake Malawi are popular activities, with crystal-clear waters and an abundant diversity of fish species, particularly cichlids.

The lake is considered to contain more species of fish than any other freshwater system on earth.

Moreover, Likoma is part of the Lake Malawi National Park, the first freshwater national park in the world to gain UNESCO World Heritage status.


Likoma has an estimated population of around 9,000 people.

The inhabitants of Likoma are primarily Nyanja people, known for their hospitality and rich cultural traditions.

The local language is Chichewa, but English is also widely spoken.

When to Go

The best time to visit Likoma Island is during the dry season, from May to October.

During these months, the weather is generally dry and cooler, making it ideal for outdoor activities.

How to Get There

Likoma Island can be reached by air or water. Regular flights operate from Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital, to Likoma’s small airport.

Alternatively, the Ilala ferry travels to Likoma from Monkey Bay, a journey that offers breathtaking views of Lake Malawi.


Key highlights of Likoma Island include St. Peter’s Cathedral, snorkeling and diving in Lake Malawi, exploring local villages, and experiencing the traditional life and culture of the Nyanja people.

What You Should Know

There are no ATMs on the island, so it’s essential to bring enough cash for your stay.

Malaria is a risk in this area, so visitors should take the necessary precautions.

Additionally, while the locals are friendly and crime rates are low, it’s always wise to protect your valuables.


What is the local cuisine like on Likoma Island?

The local cuisine primarily consists of fish from Lake Malawi, maize, and cassava. Nsima, a thick porridge made from corn flour, is a staple food.

Are there any accommodation options on the island?

Yes, there are a few lodges and guest houses on Likoma Island, ranging from budget to luxury options

Is it safe to swim in Lake Malawi?

Yes, it’s generally safe to swim in Lake Malawi. However, bilharzia, a parasitic disease, can be a concern in some parts of the lake, so it’s advisable to check with local advice.

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