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“Eco Wilderness Lodge with a touch of class”
Review of Bua River Lodge

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Bua River Lodge
Solihull, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
64 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Eco Wilderness Lodge with a touch of class”
Reviewed November 4, 2012

Bua River Lodge is on the edge of the national park but feels very much in the heart of the bush. The river was low when we visited in October being at the end of the dry season but still very beautiful. The birds were lovely and we spotted fish and snake eagle, honeyguides,swallows swifts and at sunset hundreds of black and yellow sunbirds. Don't expect to see big game on this reserve, we saw evidence of elephants but they were in another part of the park. We also saw baboons and a bushbuck and the monkeys had breakfast at the same time as us in a nearby tree.
We stayed in Island B Lodge which is a good 5 minutes walk from the main lodge it is very spacious and luxurious with hot water generated from a wood stove, but if you are of a nervous disposition can feel isoloated at night. The advantage of course is the quite and solitude with no electricity of mobile coverage. The service was excellent nothing was too much trouble and the food was very good especially given the location.
One word of caution if you are not used to driving off road in Africa we recommend a 4X4 to get up to the Lodge, our Toyota Carina really struggled. John the owner came to our resue and arranged a driver for us. His name was Vincent and we can throughly recommend him e-mail vitagcarhire@yahoo.co.uk. It seems it is cheaper to have a driver than to hire a good car in Malawi?
Overall if you want a few days to really get way from it all then the Bua River Lodge is an experience not to be missed.

Room Tip: Island B is a real romantic remote hidaway
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank myholidayhints
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review, November 25, 2012
I have only just learned how to respond to your review of Bua River Lodge! Thank you so much!!
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103 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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English first
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 27, 2012

We came here for two nights. we stayed in the backpacker section, which was not really backpacker like at all. there were lots of really nice touches. we were the only ones there and looked after so well. sunset drinks, yummy dinner and beautiful location all made this place truely special.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank NZtripster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review, November 25, 2012
I have only just learned how to respond to your review of Bua River Lodge! Thank you so much!!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berlin, Germany
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2012

We had planned to stay in the Hillside Tents but since they were (fortunately:-)) occupied, we were upgraded to the Island Tents. And what a treat that was! Bua River Lodge is a special place, you are pretty far away from everything, you don't see the other tents, there is no cell phone reception, so you are "forced" to enjoy the silence and the beauty of the landscape. The Island Tents are very luxurious (for tents), you have comfortable beds with good mosquito nets, armchairs on your private deck (where the very nice staff serves you dinner, coffee, breakfast if you want). You shower under the stars or the sun and the dry toilets work just fine. Just don't make the mistake I did and shine your flashlight inside the toilet to make sure there are no spiders. Just trust that there are none because as nice at it looks, it still is a long drop toilet and you see too much if you look too closely;-)
We felt it was so very beautiful on our deck that we did not even bother to take one of the guided walks. Concerning animals (you are in a wildlife reseve...): We saw just three crocodiles and a lot of monkeys but you could see that there are elephants around frequently, too.

Room Tip: If you can, consider to pay the extra money and stay in the Island tents. It is absolutely worth the...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Alesig_N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review, November 25, 2012
I have only just learned how to respond to your review of Bua River Lodge! Thank you so much!!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2012

I wanted to add something to the glowing revie- ws of this place - which I wholeheartedly agree with - and that is to highlight that it's a great choice for backpackers too. I stayed for 2 nights and my room was clean, simple and the showers were in the same block so practically felt en suite. The real plus though was the fact that I was welcomed as warmly as the guests staying in the posher accommodation options - right down to being given a lovely fresh facecloth and drink of juice to replenish me on arrival! When not out on walks with their great guide Clifford I enjoyed hanging out in the fabulous main lodge building, where the food is so tasty and not over-fussy or overpriced - just good food cooked well. John has done a cracking job in choosing and training his staff too - they were friendly and efficient and not to deferential. All in all it was a brilliant weekend and great value when staying in the backpacker rooms. As great as they were though, I definitely plan to come back with my boyfriend and treat ourselves to the island accommodation some time!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank AverageJo11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
35 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed April 24, 2012

A really relaxing place to stay. Simple but excellent food. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Rob H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nantwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed March 26, 2012

Have just spent 2 months voluntary work at Bua River Lodge and how priviliged i feel with a stunning location over the Bua River. The wooden lodge is cleverly designed to be open, giving the sense of truelly being amongst nature. The atmosphere is relaxing and unpretentious. Peaceful and serene - an amazing place to unwind, read a book, watch the birds and monkeys and take in the beauty of Nkota Kota Nature Reserve. Staff are delightfully friendly and the food is superb- tasty with special attention to detail, without being over the top. So go, spend a few days soaking up the wonderful atmosphere of the lodge. A gem awaits in Malawi!!!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank shelleyp1966
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kendal, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed February 4, 2012

New Years eve in a beautiful setting. Staff couldn't be more pleasant and helpful. Great value for money and a great experience. Would recommend.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Gill S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bua River Lodge

Property: Bua River Lodge
Address: 10 km Off the Main M5 Salima To Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Malawi
Location: Malawi > Central Region > Nkhotakota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 Specialty Lodging in Nkhotakota
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bua River Lodge is a small and unique, owner-managed lodge, where you are sure to feel at home and guaranteed to relax. We are receiving very favourable reviews, commenting on the beauty of the location, excellence of service, friendliness of the staff, comfort of the rooms and quality of the food.The lodge is located just two kilometres inside the eastern boundary of Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in Malawi, making access by saloon car, even during the rains, quite straightforward. The reserve, covering 1,800,000 Hectares, is the third largest protected area in Malawi and one of the least known. Largely miombo woodland, the reserve falls from around 1,000 m. above sea level to just 600 metres in the east. The beautiful Bua River, the second longest in the country, on whose banks Bua River Lodge is located, bisects the Reserve.The reserve is very much a wilderness area. Apart from the main M18 road, which runs through the reserve, only one motorable track exists. North of the river, there are no tracks at all.There is a considerable diversity of wildlife, including a healthy elephant population, buffalo, lion and leopard, as well as roan, sable, zebra and many smaller mammals, although it must be said that the wildlife is difficult to observe. Over 200 species of birds are listed, including Finfoot, Palm Nut Vulture and Black Stork. It is likely that Pel’s Fishing Owl also occurs.Bua River Lodge offers high quality tented accommodation at moderate prices, with three categories, Island, Riverside and Hillside, priced to suit most budgets. Currently, six units are available, consisting of purpose-made canvas safari tents, pitched on extensive wooden decks, shaded by thatched roofs. Each tent is pitched well away from the others, providing a degree of seclusion found in few other lodges in Malawi. On your own private deck you neither overlook your neighbours, nor are you overlooked. All you can see is the wilderness and the river! The Island tents, offering even more seclusion, are reached by a bridge and you have the option of breakfast on your deck and a personalized “butler” service.The accommodation comprises two luxury Island tents, measuring 6.5 x 4.5 metres, one twin-bedded, one with a queen size bed; two Riverside tents, 4.5 x 3.5 metres, one double, one twin; and two Hillside tents, 3.5 x 3.2 metres, also double and twin. All tents are well appointed with cane armchairs and occasional tables on the extensive decks, bedside tables and shelves. Bed linen is of high quality cotton and quilts will keep you warm on cool winter nights. All tents have open-air, but very private, en-suite facilities, with waterless toilet, wash basins and hot showers.The main camp site is serviced with hot showers and flushing toilets, a shaded deck with eating area, a barbecue, dishwashing facilities and a laundry area. Recently opened, a “wild” camp site less than a kilometre upstream from the main lodge offers a wilderness camping experience, with basic facilities. Overlooking a quiet, forest-fringed pool in the river, it is situated on the edge of a major elephant track.Two rooms near the camp site offer comfortable, clean, budget accommodation for backpackers.The main lodge, housing the restaurant, bar, reading and reception areas, is unique in Malawi. Built entirely of timber and thatch, right on the banks of the river, it has three main levels for dining and relaxation, as well as an upper viewing deck. Completely open sided, it provides shade and a cool breeze during the heat of the day, but you can dine under the stars in the evening on the open lower deck, or sit around the fire in the boma on cool, winter nights.Three delicious meals per day are provided within the price: a full breakfast, with fruit salad and cereal; a salad-based lunch; and a three-course dinner, with a vegetarian alternative. There is a well stocked bar offering beers and minerals, spirits and wines. A small selection of bottled South African wines is available.Lighting throughout relies primarily on paraffin lanterns although small solar powered LED lamps are used to provide illumination in the bathrooms and front decks of the tents and the Island and Riverside tents now have bright solar powered lamps inside. Taking the path back to your room after dinner, lit by the flickering flames of the lanterns is a magical experience. But bring a torch!Given the nature of the terrain and the density of the vegetation, vehicle-based wildlife viewing is generally unrewarding. Walking safaris are offered, with a trained and armed game ranger. Walks are tailored to the wishes of the guests, varying from short strolls along the river to a nearby waterfall, to all-day hikes, a combined vehicle safari and ascent of Chipata Mountain in the west of the reserve and, eventually, overnight safaris with fly camps. Sundowners at strategic points along the river are a particular highlight for many of our guests. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bua River Lodge Malawi/Nkhotakota

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