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“Outstanding safari option in a gem of a location” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Bumi Hills Safari Lodge

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Bumi Hills Safari Lodge
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5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Bumi Hills, Kariba, Zimbabwe   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 10 Specialty Lodging in Kariba
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Outstanding safari option in a gem of a location”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 3, 2013

Bumi is a historic Kariba venue where the staff do an amazing job under trying circumstances in a country facing many challenges, but possessing amazing natural gifts and attractions.

Rooms are excellent, massively spacious, with views unparalleled on Lake Kariba.

The pool/bar/restaurant area is excellent, and if you run out of evening options, they have a full size snooker/billiards table - old colonial Africa personified.

Game viewing is excellent, see below.

We fished on 3 mornings of our stay from boats, and had amazing success with bream (tilapia) - between 20 and 40 "keepers" (edible sized fish) which we enjoyed with evening meals, sub-size fish released, a wonderful way to introducing children to fishing. We fished off Starvation Island twice, on both occasions elephant entered the water 20 meters from our boat.

Bumi has an excellent little spa serviced by Chipo, a very competent masseuse and beauty practitioner.

For me the highlight was head game ranger Dardley Tafuruka, an enormously experienced and knowledgeable man who constantly surprised me with new and insightful information, and I grew up in the African bush veld. He was ably assisted by Max and Student, but Dardley is a class act - reason alone to visit Bumi.

The one area Bumi can improve is on their food - while perfectly adequate, it falls short of the quality one finds in South African lodges.

In 3 short days we saw (in no order of significance or rarity):


Ground hornbill
Lion
Kudu
Waterbuck
Crocodile
Baboon
Impala
Fish eagle
Elephant (approached our vehicle to within 4 meters)
Goliath heron
Brown snake eagle
Steenbok
Bushbuck
Egyptian geese
Great white egret
Gymnogene
Vervet monkey
Zebra
Hippo
Saddle bill stork
Warthog
Hare
Open billed stork
Grey loerie
White browed sparrow weaver
Fork tailed drongo
Namaqua dove
Trumpeter hornbill
Lilac breasted roller
African hawk eagle
Ground squirrel
Black smith lapwing
Ox pecker
Cattle egret
Pied kingfisher
Glossy ibis
Sacred ibis
Sand piper
White-crowned plover/lapwing
Grey heron
Black-winged stilt
White winged tern
Grey headed gull
Batleur eagle
Redwing starling
Cape turtle dove
Helmeted guinea fowl
Emerald spotted wood dove
Giant kingfisher
Crested frankolin
Spurwing goose
Paradise flycatcher

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AfricaAlbidaTourism, General Manager at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge, responded to this review, October 7, 2013
Hi Adam. Thanks for your amazing review. Its responses like this that make us get up in the morning! Wow - what an incredible bird list. You saw some real gems there. Gymnogene, Giant Kingfisher - wow. And well done on the fishing efforts too.

It looks like your stay was just perfect, and we look forward to seeing you again.
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92 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (49)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

Pride of lions racing along side of our Cessna as we land on a dirt runway, a delay waiting for Elephants to cross the road followed by a pack of baboons...all this before we even got to the hotel. Delightfully small but has pool and fantastic view of the "hang out" hill in the lake, where all the Elephants gather daily. Each room, tastefully decorated,perched on the hillside, a balconies equipped with telescopes
Game rides, boat trips, fishing, etc Guides are outstanding1.

Room Tip: The higher the better for great lake views.
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
glenbyrom, Public Relations Manager at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge, responded to this review, September 17, 2013
Hello to you in Mexico. Thank you for such a rave review of your stay at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa. Where in the world could you beat such a WOW WOW WOW arrival of seeing lions running alongside your light aircraft on touching down on the Bumi airstrip?

There are now about 15 lions, including several cubs, in the Bumi area and our guests are enjoying some spectacular sightings and, of course, photographic opportunities. I hope you had your cameras out and took some great photos? We would appreciate it if you would post these in our gallery on the Bumi Trip Advisor page.

From your enthusiastic review we feel certain you will spread the good word and that we might expect even more guests from your happy country, Mexico!
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Harare, Zimbabwe
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

I have been going to Bumi Hills Safari Lodge since the mid '90's and was there a month ago. It has not lost it's charm and absolutely 'get away from it all' experience. It is truly away from everything and the rat race. Situated on an historical District Commissioner's site in the colonial times, Bumi is a hundred feet above the Lake Kariba, catching the beautiful breezes and overlooking the foreshore and Islands across the lake to the blue hills of Zambia. Indeed, one can see game on the foreshore and soaring Eagles floating past on the thermals. There are activities from Game Drives and Game Walks in the surrounding Matusadona National Park, or along the foreshore, to Fishing in the Lake and if you feel just like a total relax and chilling around the pool or a Spa and Massage and Pampering whilst overlooking the lake - it is all there. Bumi's Balm, will work it's magic and have you feeling totally serene in a few hours.

Room Tip: Ask for the Lakeview Suites !
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
glenbyrom, Public Relations Manager at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge, responded to this review, September 17, 2013
Hello John. Thanks for your generous review that will surely entice more people to visit beautiful Bumi. We love your tag as "Bumi Balm"...very well worthwhile using in our promotional material as it really says it all about this idyllic spot on earth.
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2013

We stayed at Bumi Hills for two days and came away pining for more. It is a stunning location set high on a hill overlooking the massive Lake Kariba. The premium rooms overlooking the lake are just stunning and you could easily spend your day just sitting on the balcony and watching the mood and colour of the lake change. You can see elephants coming to drink at the water's edge from your room. We didn't spend much time in the rooms though, which was a pity since they are so beautifully laid out. Instead, we did a boat ride which was magical. We saw and annoyed elephants on the lake shore, got close to a big herd of buffalo and eyeballed several pods of hippo. Our guide Madison then took us fishing where we caught a whole lot of Kariba Bream before we settled in to watch the sunset. They say the sunsets here are special, but I didn't realise just how special until I saw one. After docking, on our way to the Lodge, we saw a magnificent male lion ambling along the middle of the road. The next day, we saw the rest of the pride, including 5 or 6 cubs - the highlight of our trip. Willem, who is the General Manager, then took us on a walking safari where we got close to a lot of animals. It was a wonderful trip and yes, the food was excellent as well. Thanks to everyone at Bumi for the wonderful time and great photographs we got!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AfricaAlbidaTourism, General Manager at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge, responded to this review, September 1, 2013
Pining for more! That's special to hear. Thanks very much for your comprehensive review - I just loved reading the story of all those encounters. And well done on catching all those bream. You really were lucky in your sightings too. Next time you will have to come back and spend a little more time in your rooms, as they are fantastic. :)

Jonathan Hudson
Resort General Manager
gm@saflodge.co.zw
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Toledo, Ohio, United States
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

Wonderful oasis on the banks of lake Kariba, the gem of Zimbabwe, no exercise room, but game walks can be arranged if need to exercise. Red sand beach was focal point for our son's wedding, loved the game drives with 3 different guides; all excellent! Food and drink good and reasonably priced. Staff personable and can work with soups or individuals for special attention. Our 40 th Anniversary occurred the day after the wedding and they arranged a special hideaway picnic brunch in a remote location with white tablecloths and champagne & a complete surprise!

Room Tip: Go for a animal named room, price is higher, but view is incredible on private patio overlooking val...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AfricaAlbidaTourism, General Manager at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge, responded to this review, September 1, 2013
What a wonderful occasion Margy. We really do love to spoil our guest when they decide to share special moments in their lives with us. We look forward to seeing you on your 50th anniversary too! ;)

Jonathan Hudson
Resort General Manager
gm@saflodge.co.zw
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Harare
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2013

Outstanding venue for a wedding with first class service. The food was superb. The view of lake Kariba from the resort is breathtaking. All the rooms are well furnished and up market .Thank you to Bumi for a memorable weekend.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AfricaAlbidaTourism, General Manager at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge, responded to this review, September 1, 2013
Hi there, we are very happy that you enjoyed the wedding celebration at Bumi Hills. Yes, it is indeed a fantastic wedding destination - you are not the first to say it. Thanks for the great review.

Jonathan Hudson
Resort General Manager
gm@saflodge.co.zw
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ocala Florida
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013 via mobile

Ok---first I want to say the view cannot be beat!! That alone is worth going! I thought everyone on staff was nice. But not over whelming welcoming. But certainly very nice. The food was average. Loved the room. Barely saw any game?? But someone said that was due to all the rain. It's a nice place and one due to its brilliant marketing team will continue to pull Zimbabwe hopefully out of the hole they have been in for so many years. But the camps I went to in Botswana blew it away service wise and food wise. There is no comparison. Trip advisor is great. But I recently went to a Resturant here in Florida they rated super high. And food was good but not excellent ! Bumi Hills is a beautiful place and I cherish my memories there.But hated coupons for the bar! That felt like High School! I love Zimbabwe and enjoyed Bumi--- but for sure would try a different place if I come back.

Stayed June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AfricaAlbidaTourism, General Manager at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge, responded to this review, August 22, 2013
Hi to you in Florida! Thanks so much for your review. We are glad you enjoyed your stay with is at Bumi Hills. And I'm sure Botswana was also fantastic. We certainly do pride ourselves on the wonderful view, and yes, the lack of game you may have experienced is due to lots of water in the area. When there is lots of rain, the animals are no longer concentrated near waterholes as they can move around and find water anywhere. Hope to see you again soon, possibly at a different time of year.

Jonathan Hudson
Resort General Manager
gm@saflodge.co.zw
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bumi Hills Safari Lodge

Address: Bumi Hills, Kariba, Zimbabwe
Phone Number:
Location: Zimbabwe > Mashonaland West Province > Kariba
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 10 Specialty Lodging in Kariba
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Bumi Hills Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bumi - just a one-hour dramatic and scenic direct flight away from Victoria Falls - is a famous safari lodge that in recent years has been constantly upgraded to international five-star standards and yet retains its utter beauty and charm that, at its heartbeat, has the most sublime and astonishing 180-degree vista that has no peer in all of southern Africa. Perched on top of a small range of hills Bumi offers guests this panoramic delight, overlooking the massive lake, islands and game-rich shoreline, from the premium rooms, the dining deck, the bar, the fire-pit , the Africology Spa and from the glorious signature pool. Bumi offers 24 rooms - 14 Lake View premium rooms set a little in front of 10 standard rooms, all en-suite and fully equipped with modern amenities. Our local Tongan staff are renowned for their friendliness and delightful service ethic. Gourmet food is created to the highest standard by our dedicated team, headed by our highly interactive executive chef. Our activities are spearheaded by an experienced Zimbabwe professional guide, licensed to walk in the wilds with guests.. Fishing, 4 x 4 game drives, boat safaris, walks and visits to a traditional Tonga village are the most popular activities. Our exclusive wildlife area is home to Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, Zebra, Hippo, Crocodiles, Kudu, Waterbuck and much more! More than 400 species of birds have been recorded. Visit villages where the Tonga people have maintained their age old customs and get a truly unique cultural experience. Discover how Bumi Hills work with the communities in the area and how the lodge protects its wildlife area with a committed anti-poaching unit. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bumi Hills Safari Hotel Kariba

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