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“Beautiful spot”
Review of Bua River Lodge

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Bua River Lodge
Charleston, South Carolina
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Beautiful spot”
Reviewed 15 May 2013

We had heard such good things about Bua River lodge that on our trip around Malawi we felt the need to come and see what is was like. Road gets a bit bumpy so a high car is a must but we were happy to have made the decision to stay. Such a beautiful location right on the river. The staff were amazing, very helpful and attentive. We originally were planning to stay in the backpackers site but we couldn't believe the packages they offered a night which included all meals and a free teatime and sundowner walk each evening, so we ended up staying in the main lodge tented accommodation. Such great rooms with an outside bathroom. The food was great with light yummy lunches then 4 course meals every evening followed with a full monty each morning before your morning walk how can you complain?

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank gbrown_12
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, 16 May 2013
Thank you so much for your wonderful review. We are so pleased that you enjoyed our service and our food. It gives us inspiration and the will to make Bua River Lodge even better! Thanks again.
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105 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
1 review
Reviewed 8 May 2013 via mobile

I stayed at the bua river lodge for two nights and absolutely loved it. John the owner has created an amazing haven of tasteful accommodation which blends in to the wilderness. Crocodiles at sundown, beautiful birds, and stunning food served by the loveliest staff, I could not recommend this place highly enough. You can choose to read a book amongst beautiful views or clamber through the wilderness in search of exciting animals....you must go!! (Be warned that you might need to leave a couple of extra nights free as you won't want to leave). Alice (Cambridge, uk)

  • Stayed April 2013
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank Alicepalace123
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, 13 May 2013
Thank you so much for your wonderful review, Alice! It makes us all very happy to know we have given our guests a magical time at the Lodge.
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Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 April 2013

Walking down to the accomodation, you have a first stunning view on the Bua river. Then you reach a little pardise on earth (at least if you love African nature).
We could easily stay more than a week, exploring the park on foot together with Clifford our guide and Maxwell the scout. After hours of walking a first glimpse of elephants to be seen in full somewhat later. What a rewarding experience. As an amateur bird watcher, but completely unfamiliar with the African species, it was a discovery tour every day. But then coming back in the lodge was more than a treat. This is definitely the best place we have visited during our stay in Malawi. Highly recommended with a charming staff, very hospitable.
Simon and Irene from Amsterdam

Room Tip: Island A or B
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  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Simon H
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, 22 April 2013
Thank you so much Simon and Irene. I'm delighted you enjoyed it and that we were able tooffer you our hospitality
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Newcastle, England, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed 21 November 2012

I stayed at Bua for 2 nights 6th-8th August 2012, and had a fantastic time. I'm a medical student and was travelling alone at the end of my elective, so had a tight timeframe and budget, but John and his staff couldn't have been more accommodating.

John very kindly gave me a lift to and from Nhkotakhota town to the lodge on his daily supply runs, and I stayed in the backpackers block which was more than comfortable enough.

The food was fantastic and the guided walks were the perfect way to explore gorgeous wilderness surrounding the camp. We had some close encounters with eagles, crocs and monkeys and came very close to finding some elephants, we were hot on their trail but sadly never caught up!

I would wholeheartedly recommend a stay at Bua to any traveller in Malawi, I would love to return one day with some friends/family and show them how beautiful and peaceful it is. Thanks to John and the staff for a great couple of days.

Sarah

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Sarah 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, 25 November 2012
I have only just learned how to respond to your review of Bua River Lodge! Thanks you so much!!
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Aschaffenburg, Germany
2 reviews
Reviewed 19 November 2012

We – 3 lucky people - stayed for 3 nights at the Bua River Lodge. What a treat! John, the pleasant owner, provided an upgrade to the Island Camp. We could have easily spent the whole day on the wooden decks in front of the spacious, luxurious, but still down-to-earth tents watching monkeys and birds (don´t expect to see the Big 5!!!!). However, we took early morning walks or had sundowners in the almost dried out riverbed of the Bua (dry season!!!!). The delicious meals were served at the restaurant area or a candle light dinner in the bush on a deck close to the riverfront. What makes Bua River Lodge a special place is not only the fabulous setting, but above all the friendliness of John and his crew. Everyone did its best to make our stay the most pleasant one! Malawian hospitality at its best!

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Hobbyreiser
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, 25 November 2012
I have only just learned how to respond to your review of Bua River Lodge! Thanks you so much!!
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Solihull, England, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 November 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, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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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, 25 November 2012
I have only just learned how to respond to your review of Bua River Lodge! Thank you so much!!
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Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 September 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, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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, 25 November 2012
I have only just learned how to respond to your review of Bua River Lodge! Thank you so much!!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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
Region: Malawi > Central Region > Nkhotakota
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 10 Speciality 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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