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“Nicest place I've ever been” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Zulunkhuni River Lodge

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Zulunkhuni River Lodge
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T/A Boghoyo | Ruarwe Village, Nkhata Bay, Malawi   |  
Hotel amenities
Santa Clara, CA
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Nicest place I've ever been”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2009

I've been to Fiji, the alps, Yosemite, but Zulunkhuni Lodge in Ruarwe is the nicest place
I've ever been. The surroundings (waterfall, village, bay) are spectacular. The lodge itself is stunning. The food is great - the service wonderful. There is a real family feeling here. You can hike, swim, snorkel, play games or just relax. Seeing a waterspout over the lake was amazing. Getting there is part of the fun. We were on a small boat, paid for by the lodge, that took us from Nkhata Bay. Along the way, we were surrounded by fishermen with lanterns on their dugout canoes - magical!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
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65 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
now here
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2009

Met the owners Charlie and Matt at Buttterfly Space in Nkhata Bay, we got talking and it didn't take much persuassion to make the trip to their place to see how much closer to paradise it gets...(I thought Butterfly was already pretty close) Accompanied along the way by our hosts and a handful of fellow guests, we made the trip on the Ilala, transferred smoothly to Zulunkhuni by small boat on arriving at Ruarwe. A quick cold beer at the bar gave a few of us the courage to jump the 5, 6; 7 metres (!?) into the lake from the terrace of one of the rooms...an exhilirating intro to the ways you can spend time at Zulunkhuni. It's perfect for doing as little or as much as you want in a stunning, remote and peaceful place. There followed more spectacular leaps into the lake, snorkling to see the friendly fish, great food, time to relax, share stories with fellow guests over dinner and drinks...and more personal highlights...a walk into one of the villages to play with local children on their beach, watching monkeys in the trees with Gondross (one of the lodge's dogs) and Charlie and Matt taking us on a tour up the river, pointing out the best places for more jumping and swimming in a location that's straight out of the jungle book. Can't recommend it enough.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Jamestown
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2009

Got talked into going up at the last moment, and glad I was. Was originally going to stay for 3days, but ended up staying for the week and could easily have stayed much longer. A true middle of nowhere place to hide and relax (no mobile reception, internet or mains electricity to get in the way) with wonderful scenery, extremely friendly staff, welcoming locals and great owners/hosts. It takes a bit of effort to get there (one scheduled boat a week in each direction only - and the nearest road is 5hours walk away), but it's definitely worth the effort. And if at all possible, go for the long haul of a week and not just a quick overnight due to the Ilala schedule.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled solo
    • 5 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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Lilongwe
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2009

After a short trip on the Ilala Ferry we arrived in Zulunkhuni River Lodge. We were greeted by Charlie and Matt Harper the joint owners. After showing us to our beautiful secluded chalet with it's immense lake views we headed to the bar. Whilst we perused the exclusively vegetarian menu we chatted with Charlie about the activities on offer. He highly recommended the Waterfalls Walk which we decided to do the following day, and to use the rest of the day taking advantage of the free snorkeling gear.

After a delicious "Zulunkhuni Club Sandwich" made with their very own homemade cheese and roasted vegetables with a side dish of freshly cooked crisps we lounged on the deck soaking up the peace and quiet. As the evening came round we enjoyed a few Carlsberg "Greens" with the guys and their partners with a couple of the other guests. Charlie told us how he had been given the land by the local chief eleven years ago and has been developing it ever since.

The following morning we started the "Waterfalls Walk" with the promise of natural bubble pools and the fantastic natural rock slide. We chose the shorter walk to fill our morning and had that true paradise moment showering under the natural waterfalls.

After a week of relaxation and great food it was all to soon to return to the hussle and bussle of Nkhata Bay and the end of our week in the perfect lakeside secluded paradise!

  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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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kande beach
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2009

went to this lodge on the illala ferry that go's around the lake, and wow what a location!
this lodge is situated in a lovely bay on the west shore of lake malawi halfway between nkhata bay and chilumba. the ferry pulled in for a few hours and we went to look around the lodge. all the rooms have the lake lapping straight under the balcony and you can see plenty of brightly coloured chilchilid fish. a great bar area and dining place next to the rock face. a short walk to a waterfall that cascades straight into the lake.
would love to go again and spend more time there with my girlfriend and a boat.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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hopethornton
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2009

My boyfriend and I have been to Zulunkhuni twice- once by boat and once by foot from Usisya. The boat ride provides absolutely stunning views which make the long journey go by without noticing time. The walk, which is not for the unfit or weak of heart is even more stunning. We really enjoyed both of our visits and look forward to the day that we can return. The staff were incredibly friendly and attentive and in the few moments that we felt like doing something other than relaxing, the river and waterfalls walks were GREAT! The Ilala can bring you directly to the lodge from Nkhata Bay and if you can't spare a week but would like to spend more than a night, it is definitely worth combining the visit to Zulunkhuni with a walk from either Usisya (1 day) or Chilumba (couple of days depending on your speed!) I know that the owner, Charlie Harper, can also arrange a private boat at an extra cost if the 1947 Steamer Ship isn't your style. It is an incredibly romantic place and I would recommend it to people who want to be in a very remote and absolutely beautiful location. Looking forward to the day we can return!

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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London
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2009

Unbelievable place ... came up a couple of months ago with my girlfriend and parents, and can't fault Zulunkhuni.

First of all it's the location ... set in its own stunning bay, miles away from the next nearest tourist place, with crystal water lapping the length of the lodge. The lodge itself is more like a botanical garden with some nicely priced and good quality rooms thrown amongst it. Toilet and washing facilities are spotlessly clean and along with everything else built from local materials. The Bar is well stocked and impressively folded into the natural curve of the escarpments rock, and the food was divine. An abiding memory is sitting by lamp light picking from an endless line of vegetarian curries around a table that would have been at home in my parents house in London!!!!

If you're in the area, you'd be a fool to miss out.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Zulunkhuni River Lodge

Address: T/A Boghoyo | Ruarwe Village, Nkhata Bay, Malawi
Location: Malawi > Northern Region > Nkhata Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Nkhata Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled amongst granite cliffs, indigenous forest and cascading waterfalls, our low price lakeside accommodation is complemented by a fantastic restaurant/bar, and activities on offer include hiking, snorkeling, fishing, cliff jumping and cultural tours of the surrounding communities. Supporting the local economy, we also offer volunteering opportunities. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Zulunkhuni River Lodge Malawi/Nkhata Bay

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