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Bua River Lodge

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100 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 86: English reviews
Reviewed 13 April 2016 via mobile

Bua River lodge is a beautiful place to stay in the heart of a game reserve that is about to receive an influx of wildlife as African Parks have taken over. The scenery is stunning, the rooms are lovely and the fee of the place is very relaxed. We did the "Honeymoon Special" which was good value.

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Thank SamPorter
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

Many thanks for your wonderful review. I'm sorry I wasn't at Bua while you were there but I'm delighted you enjoyed your stay so much. As you say, when the wildlife is back it will become a very special place!

Portland, Oregon
Reviewed 26 March 2016

I was a single woman travelling alone on my way to Nkhata Bay to catch the MV Ilala to Likoma Island. Caught a bicycle taxi from Lozi village on the M5 into the reserve to Bua River Lodge. I ended up staying three days, because it was such a beautiful spot. Even though the owner was gone for much of...

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Thank 315shawna
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

Thnak you so much for your wonderful review of Bua River Lodge. Sorry I wasn't around while you stayed with us. But delighted the staff were able to look after you so well. I hope the rest of your vist to Malawi was so pleasant!

Hellevoetsluis, The Netherlands
Reviewed 5 November 2015

This is a weird one. Based on objective criteria it should score a 2. However: Typical bushcamp within the game reserve. Lovely location on the seasonal Bua River. Large safari tents on uneven decking with nails sticking out. Excellent beds, sheets with holes, mosquito nets with holes. Nice open air bathroom, good shower, if a bit primitive, wobbly short-drop toilets....

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Thank jaapv
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

Many thanks for your review - and for the heads-up on our shortcomings! I will certainly rectify the faults and replace worn and damaged items. African Parks expect to have a sanctuary area fenced and restocking begun before the end of 2016. Bua River Lodge is likely to be within the sanctuary area so we are very hopeful that in...

Reviewed 15 October 2015

I went here with some firends and collegues to look for elephants. We saw a lot of dumpings and heard some elephants, but we failed to see them. But this did not matter at all when we suddenly stumbled upon a small pool in the nearly dry riverbed. The pool was full of crocodiles and we sat down at the...

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Thank Torgeir H
Reviewed 14 October 2015 via mobile

My dad and I recently visited Malawi for a friend's wedding up in Mzuzu, but planned a stop along the way. Bua River Lodge, run by ex-pat John, had been highly recommended to us by our friend - and what an amazing place it was!! We stayed for 3 nights in an Island Tent and had the most entertaining and...

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Thank emihobbs
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

Thank you so much for your wonderful review. I have printed it and shown it to the staff - they are always delighted when guests respond so well to their efforts. They take great pride in trying to provide a great experience for their guests

Reviewed 28 September 2015

Spent two great days at Bua River Lodge with my teenage son in August 2015. We saw many elephants (>20 crossing the river very close by) and crocs close up on the sundowner evening walks. Long morning walk is also highly recommended. We stayed in a Hillside tented chalet which was very comfortable. John and his team were very hospitable...

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Thank Adrian S
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

Thank you very much for your review and so pleased you enjoyed your stay with us. Hope you can make it again. We have had more and more visits from the elephants over the last few weeks and by this time next year expect that African Parks will have begun translocation of many more into the reserve.

Perth and Kinross, United Kingdom
Reviewed 13 September 2015

This is the fourth time i have visited Bua River Lodge and once again the place has taken my breath away. The first four days we were treated to 20 plus elephants from our private viewing deck overlooking Naming pool. One evening the elephants made their way down to the lodge where they stayed well after dark. We ate our...

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Thank fattie31
Birmingham
Reviewed 29 August 2015

We arrived a day early owing to a mix up with dates, but John and his team were really accommodating and very welcoming. The tents are all very private, well spaced out so you get a real sense of being in the heart of the reserve. The beds were really comfy and showering outside looking up at the stars hugely...

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Thank luceontheloose
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

We are delighted you enjoyed your stay with us so much - despite the detour you had to make to reach your rooms due to our renovations! I hope we'll have the pleasure to host you again one day.

Wielsbeke, Belgium
Reviewed 9 August 2015

Superb location. John and his team were fantastic. The cook deserves 3 Michelin-stars and John provides tasteful wines in a exquisite accomodation. We were able to do a 6 hours walk through the bush accompanied with a very experienced guide and an armed ranger. We saw lots of crocodiles, births, monkeys, and had lots of fun. This stay we will...

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Thank Alain B
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

Three Michelin stars! Wow! Thanks very much from the cook and all the team!

Peterborough, United Kingdom
Reviewed 2 August 2015

We camped here last summer for a couple of nights and the lodge location is superb. The facilities were great and very clean and the food was lovely in the restaurant, with a real romantic feel too. The birds around the camp were really good and we did local game walks to a 6 hour trek out into the bush...

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Thank Topcat_TC2014
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

So sorry for the long delay in responding to your lovely review. Many thanks from the whole team.

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Amenities

Highlights
  • Free Parking
  • Restaurant
  • Bar/Lounge
  • Breakfast included
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  • Restaurant
  • Bar/Lounge
Services
  • Free Parking
  • Breakfast included
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 

Additional Information about Bua River Lodge

Address: 10 km Off the Main M5 Salima To Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Malawi
Region: Malawi > Central Region > Nkhotakota
Price Range: €51 - €88 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
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Typical questions asked:
  • Can tickets for local attractions be purchased at the front desk?
  • Do you have to pay extra for a mini-fridge?
  • At what time does the pool open each day?

See which rooms travellers prefer

“Budget rooms had just a candle, bed, mosquito coil and mosquito net. I loved it, not for everyone!”
 of 5 bubbles D9679ICalexb, 22 Sep 2016 | Read review
“The tents offer great privacy, and the feeling that you are truly in nature.”
 of 5 bubbles 315shawna, 26 Mar 2016 | Read review
“The Island tents are the largest and in the best location”
 of 5 bubbles jaapv, 5 Nov 2015 | Read review
“Island rooms are amazing but all rooms offer something special.”
 of 5 bubbles fattie31, 13 Sep 2015 | Read review
“Three types of rooms: Hillside, Riverside, Island. All seem nice. We stayed in Hillside A - located above the main lodge, up a short slope - which was like being in the trees, with a slight view of the river. This is the cheapest type of room and very nice.”
 of 5 bubbles davidfleminger, 20 Jan 2015 | Read review
5 of 5