Likoma Island is a haven of natural beauty and simply walking around, enjoying the scenery and the beaches keeps most people entranced throughout their stay. That said there are a range of activities and special treats that can be arranged for you.
CLASSIC LAKE ADVENTURE
M.V. Ilala sails non-stop in less than 7 hours from Nkhotakota to Likoma. Come and be part of history on the ship that was built at Monkey Bay in 1949. M.V. Ilala has a restaurant and a bar with the best views in Malawi. It also has flush W.Cs and hot showers. Now Malawi Shipping Company has a “spare” ship, so normally M.V. Ilala sails as it’s much larger but should it require service then the new and very fast M.V. Chilembwe replaces it. So you can book with confidence knowing that one or other ship will sail.
Includes a standard cabin on M.V. Ilala on both voyages and for just $20 extra per person guests can book the only Ensuite cabin. The Adventure starts at Chris' Cottage next to Nkhotakota Pottery Lodge every Friday afternoon where evening dinner is served. Guests are escorted to board the ship late on Friday evening and the ship usually arrives before midday on Saturday at Likoma. Staff from UBL meet guests on board and take them to the lodge for 3 days of Island Luxury. On Tuesday morning guests board the ship and return to Nkhotakota in the afternoon to have dinner and the final night at Chris' Cottage before departure after breakfast on Wednesday morning. Accommodation, all meals (including those on board M.V. Ilala), transfers to and from lodges, ship and cabin fares are included. Guests only pay for their drinks and any extra excursions. Discounts for 3 or more passengers. Children accompanied by an adult:- half price for children under 12 and 30% discount for children under 16.
FAIRLY PRICED LAKE ADVENTURE
The only differences with the Classic Lake Adventure are:-
While we will book, if required, cabins on M.V. Ilala guests will pay their own fares, meals and cabin charges on M.V. Ilala. With a sleeping bag and sleeping mat or mattress a very comfortable night can be had on the top deck under the stars. 2nd and 3rd Class options are available. At Ulisa Bay Lodge breakfast and 3 course evening dinner is included so guests have the option to take midday meal away from the lodge or select from the lodge menu. Everything at the Cottage and all the transfers and assistance with boarding are included as in the Classic Lake Adventure.
The Fairly Priced cost in Superior or Deluxe Chalets at Ulisa Bay Lodge is $260 per person sharing, $330 single and $220 per person when 3 guests share one chalet at Ulisa Bay Lodge on Likoma. The Fairly Priced cost in Standard Chalets at Ulisa Bay Lodge is $230 per person sharing and $291 single. Children accompanied by an adult:- half price for children under 12 and 30% discount for children under 16.
M.V. Lamani 1 sails every Monday and Thursday morning from Nkhata Bay to Chizumulu and Likoma Islands and returns from Likoma to Nkhata Bay every Saturday and Wed morning. M.V. Lamani 1 started service in 2014. It has 2 powerful inboard engines & is certified by the Marine Department, it has the latest navigational equipment and a full complement of life Jackets. Cargo is loaded below, and passengers sit on the airy upper deck under a shade. Soft drinks, biscuits & crisps are sold on board. When Ulisa Bay Lodge guests come on Lamani we usually collect them from Chizumulu Island in the lodge boat, so they can be at the lodge in about 5½ hours after leaving Nkhata Bay. In 2017 the same owners bought a second similar boat “Lamani 2” so that if there are many passengers and cargo both boats sail, one going directly Nkhata Bay – Likoma and the other via Chizumulu Island.
Both boats were built at the boat yard at Senga Bay which has the reputation of making the best wooden boats on Lake Malawi. Lamani 1 and 2 are owned and run by people who have lived and sailed at Likoma Island all their lives, so they understand the Lake weather very well. While M.V. Ilala is having its annual service, we have arranged 2 lake adventures using M.V. Lamani 1 and/or 2 from Nkhata Bay.
Our 5 Day Lake Adventure starts early every Monday morning at Nkhata Bay and ends on Saturday afternoon at Nkhata Bay.
Our 6 Day Lake Adventure starts early every Thursday morning at Nkhata Bay and ends on Wednesday afternoon at Nkhata Bay.
We also provide advice on where to stay in Nkhata Bay the night before you begin the adventure and where to safely leave a vehicle. A member of staff from Ulisa Bay Lodge will meet you at Nkhata Bay the evening before your Adventure begins. He will escort you throughout the trip, beginning by reserving seats on board M.V. Lamani for you the night before. We also provide lifejackets, comfy mattresses to sit on and waterproofs in case of rain. Normally M.V. Lamani departs between 9am and 10am and arrives at Chizumulu Island about 4 hours later where our boat will meet guests and bring them to Ulisa Bay Lodge.
Guests then have 5 or 6 days of island luxury in ensuite chalets all with spacious Khondes overlooking the beach and lake where there are stunning sunsets every evening. The Adventure includes Full Board of English breakfast, midday meal and a 3-course dinner in the evening. If guests wish to take a midday meal at a local restaurant in town or at the other lodge still operating in the Green Season we will pay for the meals.
The Adventures includes: - Boat Fares, Transfers to and from Ulisa Bay Lodge, Assistance with boarding M.V. Lamani, Accommodation in Superior or Deluxe ensuite Chalets, all meals.
2018 GREEN SEASON RATES for February and up to 28th March.
5 Day All-Inclusive Lake Adventure for just $295 per person sharing or $360 single.
6 Day All-Inclusive Lake Adventure for just $335 per person sharing or $395 single.
Children accompanied by an adult: - ½ price for children under 12 and 30% discount for children under 16.
Contact us for prices for 3 or more adults.
Visitors to the website in 2017 and before may have seen our Lake Adventure to Mozambique and Chipoka on M.V. Chambo. Sadly this option is no longer available as M.V. Chambo no longer calls at Chipoka or anywhere else in Malawi in the Southern part of the lake except when it goes for service to Monkey Bay.
Guests can still take a day trip to Cobue in Mozambique with the Lodge boat or take M.V. Chambo to Metangula on Sunday or Thursday returning to Likoma on Saturday or Wednesday. The boat ride is a trip back in history as Chambo passes and stops at many villages where there are no roads and not a single iron sheet roof is visible.
Metangula is a busy town with lively bars and a variety of accommodation and some good restaurants. There is a good beach a 20-minute drive away.
For citizens of Malawi or other Southern African Countries there should be no visa charges to enter Mozambique or on re-entry to Malawi. For citizens of many other countries the Mozambique Visa (obtainable at Cobue while on M.V. Chambo) is now US$60 and unless travellers have multiple entry Malawi Visas there may be an additional US$75 to pay when returning to Likoma.
For travellers there is a tarmac road from Metangula to Lichinga and it takes about 2 hours in a mini bus.
NOTE THAT MOZAMBIQUE VISAS ARE AVAILABLE AT COBUE BUT NOT METANGULA.
The snorkelling in Lake Malawi is world class with thousands of varieties of fish abundant in the lake, most famously the incredible array of multi-coloured cichlids.
Despite the abundance and variety of cichlids in Lake Malawi they are a protected species as large quantities of the fish have been removed to sell to collectors around the world.. please look after our wonderful cichlids!
The best snorkelling spots tend to be rocky outcrops where the fish have naturally protected habitats with large boulders and crevices in the rocks.
We have snorkelling equipment for you to use at the lodge but you are welcome to bring your own.
If you want to experience the life of the local fisherman we can arrange fishing trips in the traditional dugout canoes that the majority of fishermen still use in Lake Malawi. The fishermen will teach you how to control the canoe and the tricks of the trade so you can catch your own lunch!
If you have a bigger group it is possible to hire a larger boat for fishing or even a simple sunset cruise.. there is nothing quite like watching the sun go down over the lake while out on the water.
Ulisa Bay is arguably one of the most beautiful spots on one of the most beautiful islands in one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. It certainly has some of the most incredible sunsets, ever changing each day.
We can arrange a private candlelit dinner on the beach for you and your partner to watch the sun go down and create everlasting memories.
Ulisa Bay Pottery is the 6th pottery that Chris Stevens has started – and he plans it will be the last. Chris arrived in Ulisa Village in 2011 and spent 5 years building Ulisa Bay Lodge. 2 years ago, he handed over the responsibility for Dedza Pottery to his family and leased out Nkhotakota Pottery.
At Ulisa Bay Pottery Chris is making his own pots again and working with one of the very few traditional potters on Likoma. There is space in the workshop for another potter, so guests can come and “do pottery” in the workshop for a week, a month or longer. The workshop has an assistant who can help with wedging clay, cleaning up etc. There is no timetable, so guests are free to work the hours they wish and take time off for as long as they like to explore this wonderful island.
Pottery Notes from Chris
We have a 75 litre top-loading kiln with a kiln controller for accurate firings. To keep firing times within the limits of the Likoma electricity supply we use an earthenware clay body which is a mixture of Dedza and Likoma clay and this produces a superb throwing clay. We biscuit fire to 890°C and glaze fire to 1090 °C. We have a standard clear and opaque white glaze (NO LEAD!) and a full range of colours for decorating. We also have a wide range of ceramic ingredients for experimenting with different clay bodies and glazes.
Ulisa Bay Pottery is the place to practice your throwing, (we have 2 electric and one kick wheel), try out some new decorations or do some glaze tests. We have clay bodies for hand building and modelling. My office is open plan with the pottery and I am usually around and its always great to discuss pottery. Technical “teaching” will be more likely over a glass of wine at the lodge rather than a formal session with a whiteboard.
There is the exciting opportunity to learn how to make traditional African pots from Maria, a great grandmother several times over from Likoma who still enjoys making her simple but stunningly beautiful pots. Sitting under the large Mango tree by the beach being taught how to make her pots is a humbling experience. As is the firing process where within 45 minutes of lighting the “bonfire” the pots are fired and ready for use.
For Potters who stay for 10 days or more we have a 2 roomed fully furnished chalet with its own ensuite bathroom with a hot shower and a kitchenette with small fridge, electric kettle, an electric hotplate and kitchen utensils. Treated safe drinking water on tap. Like all the lodge chalets it has a veranda with stunning views over the lake. This chalet is available for rent by potters as shown below:-
FAIRLY PRICED RATES in US$ for one guest in the chalet. (Minimum Booking is 10 days)
10 – 15 days $30 per day. Day 16 – Day 30 days $25 per day. All days over 30 days just $20 per day.
Additional guest in chalet is an extra $5 per day, or $10 per day if the additional guest will also take part in making pottery.
Included in the price - all bed linen and towels, full cleaning and laundry service, including personal clothes, water and electricity. As much time as you like in the pottery workshop. Making and firing 3 traditional pots with Maria in the first 10 days.
To be paid extra - Food and Drink but a wide variety are available at the lodge, with many meals from $2 - $5, or guests can prepare some food with the simple facilities in the Chalet. All pots that are fired, glazed or decorated are charged at $6 per kg to cover the cost of the raw materials and firing costs. A medium sized mug is about ¼ kg, so the cost would be $1.50.
ALL-INCLUSIVE RATES in US$. (Minimum Booking is 7 days)
One guest in the chalet
7 – 15 days $57 per day. Day 16 – Day 30 days $51 per day. All days over 30 days just $45 per day.
Two guests in the chalet (additional guest NOT taking part in pottery)
7 – 15 days $84 per day. Day 16 – Day 30 days $77 per day. All days over 30 days just $70 per day.
Two guests in the chalet (additional guest also taking part in pottery)
7 – 15 days $89 per day. Day 16 – Day 30 days $82 per day. All days over 30 days just $75 per day.
All-Inclusive is everything as in the Fairly Priced rates plus all meals provided. Wake up with coffee/tea/juice at the chalet in the morning, breakfast anytime you prefer. A single course midday meal or a packed lunch and a 3 Course Dinner in the evening. Guests on All-Inclusive rates would be accommodated in a Superior or Deluxe-Eco Chalet.