Most days there are daily scheduled flights to Likoma from Lilongwe (1 hour flight). Flights usually depart Lilongwe about 1400 hours and depart Likoma about 1100 hours.    Scheduled flight rates are $300 per person one way.  From mid-Janaury until Easter there are usually only charter flights which are $425 per person one way and require a minimum of 2 passengers.   Likoma Airport is not yet an International Airport so passengers from Likoma leaving Malawi have to clear immigration at either Lilongwe or Blantyre. 

Get in touch if you would like help booking a plane ticket or arranging a pick up from the airstrip to the Ulisa Bay Lodge.



There are several options to reach Likoma on ships with regular weekly timetables from Chilumba, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Senga Bay, and Monkey Bay in Malawi as well as from Metangula, Cobue and many other villages in Mozambique.  Daily, except Sunday, small boats arrive mid-morning at Likoma from Cobue in Mozambique (just 4 kms away) and return before midday.

We have shown below the schedules for the ships based on our experience over several years.   Ships usually leave on time at the start of each trip but the times at later ports can vary by many hours due to loading times and the weather on the lake.    We are in contact with the Captains so can usually give fairly accurate estimates of times of arrival & departure on the actual day of sailing.    . 

Every month we produce an up-to-date sheet of the latest information about all the ways to get to Likoma so please email us for a copy.



Information for Ilala, Chambo & Chilembwe, and booking cabins on Ilala please phone +265(0)1587361 (MSC).

Boat tickets can be bought on the boat on the day in MK.  We can assist in booking cabins on the Ilala if you require. 


For more exploration on your journey to the Likoma Island have a look at our Lake Adventure packages.

Wherever you are on the Lake we can organise a trip you will never forget.




N.B. Normally the Ilala ferry sails, however if Ilala is under maintenance the M.V. Chilembwe sails instead. Where the departure times for Chilembwe are very different from Ilala they are shown {in brackets}.

SOUTHBOUND: Nkhata Bay - Likoma - Nkhotakhota - Senga Bay  - Makanjira - Monkey Bay

  • Monday departs 20.00{1530}Nkhata Bay arriving Likoma 0400 Tues. {2000 Mon.}. 
  • Departs Tuesday at 0900 {0200} to arrive Nkhotakota 1600 {0530}, Senga Bay 0300 Wed. Makanjira 1100& Monkey Bay 1500 on Wed. {2000 Tues.} 

NORTHBOUND: Monkey Bay - Makanjira - Senga Bay - Nkhotakhota - Likoma - Nkhata Bay

  • Departs Monkey Bay Friday at 0800, arriving Makanjira 1000, Senga Bay 1350 Nkhotakota 2200 {0300} Saturday. 
  • Departs Nkhotakota Sat. 0400, arrives Likoma at 1030  {0600}.  
  • Departing Likoma 1600 {1000} arrives Nkhata Bay 2200 {1300}.

M.V. Ilala Fares:

One way per person in US$:- Cabin Class/ 1st Class / 3rd Class:


  • Likoma–Nkhata Bay$27/$19/$9
  • Likoma-Nkhotakota $36/$22/$10
  • Likoma-Monkey Bay $71/$40/$18

M.V. Chilembwe Fares:

One way per person in US$:- 1st Class / 2rd Class (Almost no difference in 1st & 2nd Class) 


  • Likoma–Nkhata Bay $22/$14
  • Likoma-Nkhotakota $25/$18
  • Likoma-Monkey Bay $42/$29

M.V.Ilala has been in service since 1951.   It combines the traditions of strong, safe ferries with the latest satellite navigation.  Travelling 1st Class on the top deck passengers can relax in an uncrowded atmosphere and there is a restaurant & a well-stocked bar, Flush WCs and Hot Showers. 

2nd & 3rd Class passengers are allowed to eat in the 1st Class restaurant.  There are 6 Standard Cabins & 1 Ensuite Owners Cabin (50% extra).   1st Class passengers can sleep under the stars on the top deck - a sleeping bag & mat is advisable.


NKHATA BAY TO LIKOMA: One way fare $10

Wednesday departs Likoma at 0800 arriving Nkhata Bay at 1300. Thursday departs Nkhata Bay 0600 arriving Likoma at 1100.   

LIKOMA TO MOZAMBIQUE.  One Way Fares:- Likoma – Cobue $2, Likoma - Metangula $14.

Thursday departs Likoma 1300, Cobue 1400 arriving Metangula 1900. Sunday departs Likoma 1000, Cobue 1100 arriving Metangula 1600.   Saturday & Wednesday departs Metangula 0200, Cobue 0700 arriving Likoma at 0800.  
Note Mozambique entry Visas ($60 for most non African Nationals) are available at Cobue but NOT at Metangula.


M.V.Chambo began service in 2013.  Designed with a shallow draft and a drop down ramp at the front it can off load passengers and goods directly onto the beach.  It has comfortable seats for 80 passengers in lounges and there is space for passengers to walk around on the front and rear decks.  There is a bar and simple cooked meals & snacks are usually available.   Ulisa Bay Lodge has negotiated with the shipping company so that our passengers travelling to or from Likoma are allowed to travel on the top ‘Captain’s Deck’.



Either or both M.V. Lamani 1 & 2 go from Nkhata Bay to Likoma  every Monday and Thursday morning and from Likoma to Nkhata Bay every Saturday and Wednesday morning.

NKHATA BAY TO LIKOMA: One way fare $5

  • Depart Nkhata Bay/Likoma 0700 - 1000 and arrive Likoma/Nkhata Bay 5 - 7 hours later.   

M.V.Lamani 1 & 2  are reliable and fully certified wooden boats that sail twice weekly from Nkhata Bay to Likoma.  Owned and run by people from Likoma who have vast experience of the lake weather they provide a very economic way to get to Likoma for people and supplies. M.V. Lamani 1 has two powerful inboard diesel engines so it can travel as fast as M.V. Ilala or M.V. Chambo.  Soft drinks, biscuits & crisps are sold on board. When guests for Ulisa Bay Lodge are travelling on M.V. Lamani we usually collect them from Chizumulu Island and bring them to Likoma in the lodge boat. This way guests are at the lodge within 5 hours of leaving Nkhata Bay.