Likoma Island is a beautiful and fairly remote island steeped in history. It is the largest inhabited island in Lake Malawi, while officially part of Malawi it resides in the waters of Mozambique and enjoys friendly trade with both sides of the lake. The island exhibits a range of scenery and habitats surrounded by rocky outcrops, sandy shores and the odd swamp along the coastline. The interior is mostly grassland interspersed with a huge number of intriguing baobab trees.
Aside from being a picture postcard remote island one of Likoma's greatest attractions is the magnificent Cathedral built over a hundred years ago by the British as the centre of the Anglican Church in southern Africa, a wonder of engineering and architecture.
As well as having a large Christian population a lot of tribal traditions still exist, you can even meet the local witchdoctor.
As well as the beach at Ulisa Bay itself, Likoma Island has a number of sandy shores to go and explore. Being under 8km from end to end Likoma is quite a manageable island to set off on foot without the worry of getting lost. There are footpaths around the shoreline for you to follow until you find a spot that suits you.
As well as the stunning beaches there are rocky outcrops where you will find the best snorkelling spots. The diversity of fish including a variety of cichlids is quite breath taking.
The cathedral on Likoma Island is a wonder of architecture and engineering especially as it is at odds with the vernacular architecture in Malawi. In 1903 the foundation stone was laid by Gerard Trower, an Anglican Bishop from Yorkshire, England. Construction was finished in 1911 and the cathedral was consecrated by Bishop Thomas Cathrew Fisher who continued as Bishop of Nyasaland until his death in 1923.
It attracts visitors from all over the world, some for religious reasons and others simply to marvel at the impressive building, materials were imported from many different countries to complete the cathedral.
We can organise a tour around the cathedral for you to see it for yourself.
Despite the heavy Christian influence on Likoma islanders from the cathedral, a lot of older tribal traditions still take place. The culture and way of life in most rural parts of Malawi remain largely unchanged and people rely on farming on a local scale.
'Witchdoctors' still practice their arts regularly and it is possible to meet them to see how they perform their rituals.
Despite being a remote island Likoma has a lot of contact with both Malawi and Mozambique, daily trade between the island and mainland flourish.
Agriculture and fishing are a huge part of island life, as with the rest of Malawi they are the cornerstones of survival. Farming is limited to a short rainy season as most do not have access to pumps or irrigation systems.
Fishing however is prevalent all year round and a variety of small wooden vessels are used, from the traditional dugout canoe to well crafted boats with an outboard on the back. Lake Malawi has suffered in recent years due to over fishing by large commercial operations.