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Bua River Lodge

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99 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 85: English reviews
Lilongwe, Malawi
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 July 2015

My husband and I stayed at Bua River Lodge a couple weeks ago for a long weekend. We live in Lilongwe. Everything about our experience -- from the initial contact with John (owner) to our charming tented chalet and our walks in the Reserve --was excellent. The staff are super friendly and professional and always willing to provide information and... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank ksdixon
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

Many, many thanks for your wonderful review and please accept my apologies for the long delay in replying. The team is delighted you enjoyed your stay with us so much. Hope to host you again one day. More 

Sweden
Level Contributor
164 reviews
108 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 July 2015

A fantastic building in a fantastic setting with excellent service and cooking in very close proximity to the wild forest. This is probably one of the bet ways to experience rue African wilderness. Just watch out for the elephants at night...

Helpful?
1 Thank GlobetrottersSweden
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

Yes, the elephants ...... They've been around a lot recently but if we know where they are and they know where we are then it's safe enough. Thanks for your wonderful review and please accept my apologies for the long delay in replying. More 

Level Contributor
34 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 May 2015 via mobile

We stayed at Bua campsite for two nights and had the entire place to ourselves. There was absolutely no one around except a herd of elephants some of whom visited the campsite and walked about 10 meters from our tent. The place is really lovely and the communal space overlooks the river. Bua also has a book exchange which is... More 

Helpful?
Thank Kayum A
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

Thank you very much for your review. Delighted you saw the elephants! We note your comments about cost. Please note that the $10 entry fee to reserve is charged by the government and not by us. This is the standard entry fee for all parks and reserves in Malawi. More 

Cape Maclear, Malawi
2 reviews
Reviewed 2 February 2015

Bua River Lodge was simply magical. The perfect place to rest my tired muscles after a long cycle and sit peacefully at the rivers edge. The lodge was absolutely stunning, the food was excellent and the owner John and his staff took such good care of me. I loved the outdoor shower and how well the solar lighting has been... More 

Helpful?
Thank Kay d
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
34 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 January 2015

Bua is a lovely spot, located deep in the forests of the Nkhotakota Nature Reserve. Our safari tent was well equipped and very comfortable (although they could use a broader mosquito net that offers more head room). The outdoor shower and toilet were great. Hot water is supplied by a wood-fired geyser as there is no electricity. Paraffin lanterns and... More 

Helpful?
Thank davidfleminger
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 9 January 2015 via mobile

We stayed at Bua River Lodge for two nights just after Christmas 2014. We were actually om our honeymoon but didn't mention it to John and the amazing staff. However, we had rented a vehicle and written "just married" on the rear window for a laugh earlier on our trip. Anyway, John noticed this and took the time to congratulate... More 

Helpful?
Thank monmiked
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

Thank you so much for your wonderful review. It was our pleasure to host you at Bua. We wish you both all happiness for your future together! More 

applegate, oregon
Level Contributor
35 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 December 2014

We had a weekend in between our two weeks of mission work. Bua Lodge was the perfect retreat! We were greeted by John, the owner of the Bua River Lodge set in the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, looking as if he stepped out of a movie. A Brit through and through. All he needed was a pith helmet and an elephant... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank toree w
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

Many, many thanks for your wonderful review. We are delighted we were able to give you such a relaxing break in your very busy schedule. I do hope the second half of your mission was as successful as the first. I believe my own view of myself must change! The Lonely Planet describe me as an Eric Sykes lookalike. As... More 

London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 26 October 2014

We stayed for 3 nights in October 2014 and loved the whole experience. John the owner and all his staff are so warm, friendly and attentive. The overall service was excellent. We were greeted upon arrival with a cool flannel and refreshing drink and such impressive service continued throughout our stay. We took advantage of the variety of walks on... More 

Helpful?
Thank Framsi
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

Thank you for this wonderful review. It was our pleasure to host you and we love the opportunity to show off our wilderness with the overnight camping experience. More 

Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 October 2014

We stayed five nights at Bua River Lodge and really enjoyed the relaxed and peaceful atmosphere, as well as the exciting close encounters with elephants, crocodiles and even a snake. Lots of interesting bird and monkey-life too. The staff are really friendly, welcoming and accommodating, and John the owner went out of his way to provide different experiences in the... More 

Helpful?
Thank Grace C
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

Thank you so much for your review. The staff at Bua River Lodge are always delighted when our guests appreciate their efforts. Btw - all the tents are safe from crocodiles ;) They never come out of the water except to bask! More 

Helsinki
1 review
Reviewed 14 October 2014

Bua Lodge is peaceful, the river forms a wonderful scenery in the african nature. Very good accomodation in comfortable tents with facilities and great food! Good hiking along the river. We can recommend Bua for a stay to anybody who wants to see animals and nature. M&M, Helsinki Finland

Helpful?
Thank 220maike
buariverlodge, Owner at Bua River Lodge, responded to this review

Thank you for your review. It is unfortunate that at the moment wildlife is so difficult to see in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. I do try to make it clear that it is currently NOT a wildlife viewing destination. That is likely to change in the next few years if as expected African Parks takes over management of the reserve. This... More 

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Near Bua River Lodge

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Amenities

Highlights
  • Restaurant
  • Bar/Lounge
  • Free Parking
  • Free Breakfast
Things to do
  • Restaurant
  • Bar/Lounge
Services
  • Free Parking
  • Free Breakfast
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: €52 - €89 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
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Mossel Bay, South Africa

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  • 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