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“Pumulani-a piece of heavan on earth”
Review of Pumulani

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Pumulani
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 11, 2013

Lake Malawi is always magical. I didn't think where we stayed would have much impact on the pleasure of being there until we stayed in Villa 5 at Pumulani. The accommodation was luxurious (hard to remember we were in Malawi!) and the design indigenous without the "tacky Africa" feel so many places seem to achieve. THe staff, all local folks, were superbly trained and the chef definitely knows what he is doing. A beautiful pool and firepit for cool nights rounds out the experience. If you want a 5 star experience next to the best fresh water snorkeling in the world, this is your place.

Room Tip: For the best night sky view, villa 5 but it is also the longest walk down to the beach
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Michael P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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66 - 72 of 109 reviews

Reviewed February 19, 2013

Pumulani has breath taking views and is by far one of the nicest places I've ever stayed at. Thoroughly enjoyed my stay here and would recommend it to anyone who wishes to get away for a quiet break. I've worked for a number of different caterers in UK and I didn't think that their standard of food was anywhere near as good as the food I was served at Pumulani. The management and team were all very welcoming and definitely added to my enjoyment whilst I was there. If given the chance guests should go snorkelling I had great fun feeding the fish and we even managed to catch them in our hands whilst we were feeding them. Would definitely visit again.

Room Tip: Try and get the room that over looks the lake.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Jenny-T-91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2013

Wew stayed as a family at Pumulani over Christmas 2012 for 4 days. Pumulani was an amazing place - It was beyond any expectations I had. The management were incredibly welcoming and friendly and ensured that we had everything we needed throughout our stay.

The rooms were very spacious, well decorated and well equipped.. a very comfortable place to spend the festive season. One room we stayed in had a great view over the lake.

The food was also brilliant - we all enjoyed every meal.

The lake itself is beautiful - and the lodge is located just inside the park, at a very scenic spot. The pool is very nice and there are plenty of activities to do - if you like activities on water - kayaking, water skiing, sailing etc.

All in all a great experience - one of the best holidays we have had. Would definitely go there again.

Thanks! :)

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank liztarney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2013

The above heading was the way in which we were welcomed. It set the tone for what was to follow.

We stayed at Pumulani just before Christmas. It was even better than expected. Lucinda and her team werevery attentive.. Always professional and ensuring only the best. Service was outstanding. The food was OK and still better than what you can expect in the bush.

The room (we stayed in 6) was awesome....imagine grass on your roof. The rooms are spacious and well equipt. The beach is private and well maintained. We were spoilt with dhow cruises and delicious cocktails. You can see the property is well managed.

Pumulani is the star of the lake. We will treasure our stay. We met lovely people with the intention to exceed all expectations. We have stayed in various places the past year and Pumulani is the best.

Zikomo kwambile...many thanks

Room Tip: Room 6 has an awesome view...very romantic
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Sahid K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2012

I stayed at Pumulani over Christmas with my family and friends and we had lots of fun. The staff were helpful and polite. There were enough activities for us to do so we enjoyed our stay in a big way.

The views are fantastic. One of the best things I did was to have my breakfast on the the Lake on the Dhow. It was so cool.

I would recommend it to anyone anytime.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank maphrend
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 21, 2012

Recently completed a year long trip through Africa staying at approx 200 different establishments. THIS was the worst experience at highest cost.

After checking availability online, I had the temerity to just turn up!
"You have have to make a booking through our Central Reservations in Lilongwe," I was told when arriving at the gate. (Lilongwe: 220 kilometres)
I guess that should have been a big enough hint and found somewhere else right then.
But I persisted: "But I checked your web site and you have 5 rooms available."
"But we don't make reservations here, they're all handled at Central Reservations."
This went back and forth a few times.
After continuing this discussion with management in reception from the gate via radio, I was reluctantly permitted to enter.

I handed over my credit card believing they were going to make an imprint. No. They kept it for the duration of my stay.

5% is levied on Pumulani credit card transactions. But wait. Management added 10%.
Despite the fact you are in Malawi, you pay in South African Rand.

Rooms are huge. But sorry, they're concrete bunkers. What do that call this? Retro WWII?
They do have grass growing on the roof, which makes them "eco-friendly" I guess.

There are lots of places run by friendly and welcoming Malawians at Monkey Bay, with views just as beautiful and structures more in keeping with the local environment.

I couldn't wait to get out of there and go back to the real Africa.
The fact that the management are "fly-ins" might tell you something.

Room Tip: Find Pumulani... and then go the other way!
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled solo
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3  Thank Mark M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RPS2011, Owner at Pumulani, responded to this reviewResponded February 3, 2013

Dear Mark,

Thank you for your review. Could I please suggest that you write reviews earlier than 7 months later? You stayed with us for 1 night in May 2012. There may have been very valid points that we then would have then been able to address sooner had you written your review sooner.

I would like to respond in defence of the lodge. Management at the lodge is indeed not allowed to accept bookings. There is a very big sign next to entrance that cannot be missed that states that visits to Pumulani can only be allowed after prior arrangements. This is due to the fact that we are the only lodge operating inside Lake Malawi National Park and have agreed with the Malawi Government that we are allowed to let people traverse through the park if they have made prior arrangements with us. A phone call to Lilongwe would have been all that it takes, or just an email as I read that you were able to check availability online.

I will look into us adding 10%, as that is not correct. I am sure you took this up with management as well. We charge in South African Rand because our Malawian Bank has arranged our Credit Card acceptance this way. We have been able to change this recently.

Managements are not fly-ins. We do sometimes ask management from our other lodges to cover when Pumulani management go on leave.

We are very sorry that you did not enjoy your stay and it does seem that differently priced places are more to your liking.

High Regards,
Ton
(Managing Director, Robin Pope Safaris)

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 22, 2012

The rooms are enormous, spaced out over the hillside overlooking the lake with almost all the lakeside walls being glass. So the views are stunning from anywhere you are.
Massive bed, with lovely bright blue covers, and a couple of towels folded into elephants placed at the bottom it every day looked nice.
Floors were swept every day but were not washed. The white bath mats were quite dirty by the time we left after four days. Yes there were lots of insects, ants etc but we were in a national park in Malawi so were not surprised by them. Baboons ran around on the rooftops, sometimes throwing grass down from the roof onto the balconies which were swept daily. They also tried chancing their luck by pinching bread rolls one day. Amusing us, not the poor staff who worked hard to make sure we had anything we needed.

There area wooden steps and walkways from the main building to the beach, rooms, pool etc. These are in really poor condition with loose boards, nails sticking up, loose rickety handrails. With over 150 steps from the main building to the beach not really the most relaxing walk. We tried getting the hotel buggy (seats 2 passengers) up one time from the beach. Ok, a bit of a roller coaster ride if you sat next to the driver but the back seat passenger was nearly gassed with the engine fumes. At night some of the steps and walkways had small lanterns to light them but not all and we had to rely on the small torch on the keying to light the way round. Even on a beach barbecue night the steps were not lit up!
Food was fine to good, not as good as on our walking safaris but nothing to complain about.
Local staff were lovely but the manager Claire and her boyfriend didnt seem to be much use, getting arrangements muddled, not making sure things like simple repairs, replacing batteries in torches, lighting lanterns etc were done.
Overall we feel we paid a lot of money for this part of the holiday and apart from the views it wasn't worth it. We would have been better staying on safari.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank 2003millie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pumulani

Address: Monkey Bay, Lake Malawi National Park 10101, Malawi
Location: Malawi > Lake Malawi National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Lake Malawi National Park
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Pumulani 4.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on the west side of the Nankumba Peninsula on the Southern end of Lake Malawi you can find Pumulani subtly nestled in the lush hills amongst the trees and craggy outcrops. The ten villas with their grass roofs to help reflect the heat provide the ultimate in space, design, comfort and privacy. David Livingstone famously named Lake Malawi “The Lake Of Stars” and for good reason, during the day the light dances across the deep blue water and once the sun has set the stars twinkle brightly both in the sky but also on the lake as the fishermen light up their hurricane lamps for their night on the lake. Guests can relax on the white sandy beach or enjoy an elevated view of the lake from the stylish infinity pool. For those seeking some activity we offer waterskiing, sailing, kayaking, walks in the hills, sunset cruises on our handbuilt dhow and snorkling and diving. Under water activities never fail to amaze as the diversity of fishlife is very surprising and experts say that this lake is home to more native fish species than any other in the world. Pumulani offers the perfect mix for a memorable holiday. Enjoy being active or simply relax in the beautiful and tranquil scenery. Luxury accommodation, friendly personal service and stunning views over Lake Malawi combine to make Pumulani the perfect African beach lodge. Dutch architect G. Hooft Graafland designed each of the ten villas individually adapting them to their own unique location to ensure they blend harmoniously into their different surroundings. The gently curving lines of the very spacious villas reflect the patterns and movements of the lake along with the interior design, which is directly inspired from the surrounding nature. Each villa has a large bedroom, which opens out onto a private deck where early risers can enjoy the morning’s first rays. The bathrooms also offer splendid views and are well equipped with a bathtub, double shower and double sink, and the spacious lounge area offers further comfort for those wishing to relax in the room. The central area consists of a spacious open restaurant with an undercover area, bar and a cosy fire area. The infinity swimming pool is on a lower terraced deck. Three raised walkways with steps lead off from the central area to the villas and down to the beach. The name Pumulani means “rest well” in the local Chichewa language, and that’s exactly what we offer – the chance to unwind in a beautiful and tranquil setting. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Pumulani Hotel Lake Malawi National Park
Pumulani Lake Malawi National Park

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