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Pure Likoma Hotel Malawi

Welcome to Pure Likoma

A magical island getaway for everyone. Handcrafted with love from salvaged wooden boats, local materials and modern touches, our beautiful accommodation on Likoma Island complement the exquisite views across Lake Malawi. Have a dip in the crystal-clear waters of our bay, or kayak over to a nearby island for snorkelling and a picnic under a tree. Or just lie in your hammock with some easy reading material. You’re spoilt for choice at our bar, with tucked away nooks and day beds as well as the best vantage point for the sunsets which bathe the bay in fiery colours in the evenings. Enjoy the little evening breezes as you dine under the stars…this is Pure Likoma.

Our Accommodation on Likoma Island

With the two owners of Pure Likoma having such varied tastes, it was inevitable that we’d end up with two beautiful yet completely unalike choices for accommodation.

Do you fancy living amongst the treetops and between gnarly trunks, feeling like you’re Robinson Crusoe in a distinctly upgraded tree house?  Or do you prefer having your floor, beach sand and horizon all blend into a shimmery oasis around you? Well, you can take your pick here…

Snapshots and description of The Beach House - Sangalala House - at Pure Likoma hotel on Likoma Island in Malawi

We’re going to fill you in on all the marvellous activities you can do whilst on Likoma. Watch this space…

We are living the dream, tucked away on our island in the sun, apart from the madness of “the real world”. So to get here takes a little bit of effort – all completely worthwhile!

Into Malawi:

You can fly into Lilongwe in the north with Ethiopian Airlines (operating as Malawian Airlines) or with Kenya Airways. Their hubs are Addis Ababa or Nairobi, respectively.
Ethiopian/Malawian does also offer a direct flight from Johannesburg.

You can fly into Blantyre in the south, with various connecting flights available, and direct flights from Johannesburg with Ethiopian/Malawian.

Getting to Likoma:


The quickest route to Likoma is by air. Nyasa Express offers both scheduled and charter flights, dependent on the season.

They also offer chartered flights to and from various other destinations around Malawi and into two popular Zambian safari route airports.

Make a booking here: Fly Nyasa Website


If you have time and would love to experience a colourful piece of Lake Malawi history, hop aboard the Ilala Ferry.
This is not for the faint of heart, as the Ilala is the lifeblood of many communities along the lakeshore, moving goods on the same route weekly. This means a throng of people onboard and one heck of an adventure getting on and off the ferry at its various ports – either by small transfer boats or bustling docks. Chat to us to learn more about this experience on the old lady of the lake.

Enjoy this very informative blog post by a Malawian resident who did the journey from Monkey Bay: The Adventurologists on the Ilala

To make a booking email
Results may vary, but be persistent 🙂

The easiest hop by ferry to Likoma is from Nkhata Bay in the north. You board on Monday night, arriving at Likoma on Tuesday morning. Coming from Lilongwe, you can board in Salima or Nkhotakota. In the south, you can board in Monkey Bay, the home of the Ilala.

Image courtesy of MV Ilala Malawi Facebook Group


An exciting new addition is the Likoma Express – a fast cabin cruiser with seats, air conditioning, a toilet and light refreshments available. To book, visit their website HERE.

Another option from Nkhata Bay is to book an open speed boat. There is a set cost for the boat and this can sometimes be shared if more people wish to travel on the same day. This is very much weather dependent. Please chat to us about booking this.

Once you have made it to our beautiful shores, we will collect you by boat, car or motorbike – this to be arranged when you are making your booking at Pure Likoma.

Please do remember that we live in a country of extreme seasonality and some modes of transport may be umcomfortable or completely unavailable at certain times.

Viva adventure!

Andrew’s Story

1989 was the first time I set foot on Likoma, when hitchhiking from Cape Town to Cairo which was an 18 month trip. I stayed on Likoma for 6 weeks – my longest stop. I put up my tent under the mango tree on what is now Kaya Mawa’s beach and found the village headman, asked permission to camp in his village and he gave permission whilst laughing that the last “mzungu” (white person) to stay in their village was the Reverend Glosser (priest of St Marks local church) and they buried him in the village in 1949. So there was a 40 year gap between westerners staying in Nkwazi Village.

An hour later, the headman’s wife came down to the beach with a big bundle of firewood – I offered money, she refused. Then a little after that his daughter came down with a cloth bundle wrapped on her head, and she unwrapped it and there was 1 bowl of chicken, 1 bowl of rice. I gave her my thanks, offered money once again, was refused once again. She then sat there waiting for me to finish my meal because obviously she was under strict instructions not to leave without the pots and the plate. When I finished, she not only washed up her plate but grabbed all my dirty stuff, washed it, dropped it off and left. That was the start of a long and beautiful relationship.

I returned with Will Sutton in 1994 and we started building Kaya Mawa which opened in 1999, as well as Mango Drift, about 20 mins down the beach at Mbungo which was the site of my original mud hut. When I left Likoma after the original 6 weeks, I asked Bwana Mtaya the Village Headman if I could buy some land from him. To which he said “absolutely not, you are now my son, you are Mtaya” and he gave me a bit of land at Mbungo at a place called Mbu, which means “in the corner” and the plan was thus: the next house along in the neighbouring village of Khuyu belonged to a witchdoctor and they wanted a mzungu buffer to protect the village from witches and wizards and tokoloshes!

Andrew and Will under a baobab

Sometime before 1999 while building KM, so around 1996, Woody turned up with a friend of ours – Ben. He was driving a 1970 Beetle named Doris from Cape town to Nairobi, with the only rule being they had to avoid tarred roads wherever possible, so had to stay on dirt roads. They came over from Nkhata Bay and spent about a month on the island, helping to build the bar at Kaya Mawa, doing the woodworking and helping out.

           Woody & Andrew 1996…                              …Woody & Andrew 2022                 

A few years later we ran out of money and pitched to a load of friends to lend us money to finish the lodge. Woody at the time had 3 small children with a 4th on the way and couldn’t help out, but Ben, Woody’s travel buddy could, as could his brother Seb.

Fast forward to 2017, this project, and I was looking for investors. I knew Woody was keen but the idea was to do a sort of timeshare agreement and get a few mates on board and everybody gets a couple of weeks a year for one of the houses and I’d live in the other one. So, I pitched Woody, knowing he was really keen, but he said “sorry Andrew, but that doesn’t really work for me” which was a bit gutting. And then the next day he sent me an email saying basically that, instead of doing timeshare – too many chiefs, not enough Indians – how about you just have 1 partner and I’ll come in as investment for equity and we won’t bother with timeshare, I’ll just come and stay at the lodge when it’s quiet, out of season.”

So that was the start of a long and beautiful relationship. Woody adds great value – he sees things I don’t see and always errs on the side of caution, so he’s a good handbrake to have as a business partner. And he was a lifesaver in the time of Covid as he kindly dipped in and kept us afloat for 18 months by paying and feeding staff and keeping the build going.


Woody’s Story

I have 4 kids, I’m a farmer, love to spend time on Likoma – I love the people more than anything, then snorkelling with the fish – I can’t get enough of it with the colourful fish and clear, fresh water. I’ve travelled around the world, sailed the Atlantic, love to ride bikes, and I am the Happy Farmer.

When Andrew was building KM, I was driving a 1970 VW Beetle from Cape Town to Nairobi with another mate, having a proper adventure and dropped in to see Will Sutton and his mate, Andrew, who were building a lodge on a rock in the middle of Lake Malawi. We were going to stay for 3 nights and ended up staying for 4 weeks. We helped build Kaya Mawa and fell in love with Likoma. We came back over the years for weddings and holidays and eventually the timing was right and Andrew had offered me a 12th of the property on the island and I said nope, let’s just you and I do it and it will be fun and we can do it how we want to and Andrew said YES! We’ve both put money, creativity and love into it and try to let it reflect who we are and how we like the world to be and we ended up building this little bit of paradise.

Andrew and Woody 2022

You can contact us by phone, WhatsApp or email.

Phone / WhatsApp:
+265 988 614 873 – Reservations / Lodge phone
+265 991 360 667 – Andrew (owner)


A Unique Getaway

We have three rustic treehouse rooms and three beach house accommodations, each offering breathtaking lake views and easy beach access. Embrace the serenity of our remote location, perfect for beach walks, hiking, and stargazing.