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All reviews wilderness lodge bua river mosquito net the reserve canoe trip national park african parks out of this world overlooking the river open plan welcome drink truly memorable experience no doubt hot water spectacular views amazing staff main area
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Reviewed 2 August 2013

This is a very special place to stay - incredible architecture of the rooms and lodge with a beautiful view over the river to natural woodland, hills all surrounded by the birds and animals too.

The hosts Zane and Jo are brilliant and the guide Shai is the business so we spent five very happy nights here, walking canoeing and climbing the two mountains for the stupendous views. We saw and heard elephants, baboons, bush buck, fish eagles, crocodiles and so many beautiful birds..

While we were there the Chief. Exec. of African Parks arrived with plans to manage the National Park and to introduce herds from other parts of Africa where the were too many animals - sounds like Tongole has an exciting future - which it well deserves!

Room tip: Take some warm clothing for chilly evenings during the Winter
Date of stay: July 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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3  Thank peterkeene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2013

Tongole is wonderfully remote and isolated with the full beauty of brachystegia woodland - magnificent, thick, unspoiled African bush! The teak trees are stunning and the river hauntingly scenic. The lodge is, as others have said, the perfect level of understated luxury. The staff could not be more warm, friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, and meals, inspired by Jo, are delicious and delightfully presented! Elephants gave us many exciting moments, several times over, in and around the lodge area; the canoeing (including a few minor rapids!) was blissful, with marvellous bird and elephant sightings; hiking and bird walks were splendid; the night sky was magical and best of all was just relaxing in the many comfortable spots the lodge offers. The individual lodge bedrooms are magnificent. Best of all are the efforts to live in harmony with the bush, to protect the animals, to revive the Nkhotakota Game Reserve and to save our beloved continent from the ravages of humanity. Zane, Jo, Shai and their staff have done an outstanding job in designing, building and creating Tongole, and are superb hosts. Anyone who really loves to be in the bush, and is fortunate enough to go to Tongole, will revel in the uniqueness, the comforts, the beauty, and in being thoroughly pampered and spoiled. The vision behind the creation of Tongole and for its future is to be highly commended and we urge as many as possible to visit.

Room tip: Every room is equally superb!!
Date of stay: March 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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2  Thank MargieE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 March 2013

Tongole has a special kind of magic. Its remote location makes you really appreciate what it has to offer. A long drive from Lilongwe regresses from tarmac to dirt to rough track and leads to a secret wonderland of understated luxury, delicious food, friendly, engaging staff and the natural wilderness of the African bush. There is a timelessness, tranquility and simplicity about the place that it hard to describe and has to be experienced. A great place to reflect, engage with people you know and those you've just met and a rare opportunity to get out into and experience nature. Zane, Shai and Jo were three people who stood out and made the visit special. All three seem at ease with themselves and their surroundings and are very engaging and very natural and seemingly very proud of what they have to offer. Between them they have food, wildlife and actvities covered and they are a fountain of knowledge and stories about Malawi and elsewhere. There is so much to say about Tongole. It is very good value for money, it has sustainability at its heart and is also very rooted in its community, creating jobs locally. We had amazing vegetarian meals every day. I can't recommend it highly enough. As a tip I'd recommend arranging for a driver to take you to and from Tongole so you can enjoy the journey and learn about the countryside on the way. You don't need a vehicle once you arrive, so best leave it behind and start to experience a freer way of living. Thanks to all at Tongole for such a memorable visit.

Room tip: All four lodges are equally amazing, but they are in a line leading away from communal lodge, so you might prefer one of the nearer ones
Date of stay: March 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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2  Thank Chris O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 March 2013

I was a lone traveller when I stayed at the lodge and happened to be the only guest on the weekend in December 2013 that I stayed. The service was outstanding and they even offered to dine with me to keep me company! I loved everything about my stay.

The food was the best I'd eaten in Malawi and it was wonderful to see fresh, cold salad!

Here you are in the true wilderness and when you see wildlife it's a privaledge. I saw elephants, baboons, vervet monkeys,crocs, bucks, water mongoose and millions of varieties of birds.

The team are the best. I settled and felt instantly comfortable and at ease. They let me choose what I wanted to do and when. I felt I was on a big adventure! It was equally exciting to see the guides excited when they saw wildlife too. I felt like jungle Jane!

I would have liked to have stayed longer so that I could have visited their foundation schools and done other activiites too.

I can recommend Tongole

Date of stay: December 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
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5  Thank Sonya A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 January 2013

the lodge is situated above Bua river, which can be roaring or quiet depending on the season. all one sees are hills and jungle as far as the eye can see. The chalets are very well appointed and intimate, the huge bed is very comfortable and very cozy when the extensive mosquito net has been drawn. one even has jungle view from the bed. The openness of the chalet draws one into the nature itself, and it is said that one chalet has nightly visits of a civet cat. the main lodge is open, with fantastic views, and one high-up dining/ relaxation area with incredible views. The food is heavenly, the kitchen overseen by Jo-Anne, a former restaurant owner from South Africa. Activities are many, mostly for the adventurous, such as bush walks, fishing and fly fishing, river trips, canoing, and cultural visits. One should not expect to see many animals, as in for example lodges in SA or Kenya, as -even if there are plenty of animals in Nkhotakota Game Reserve - they remain inside thick forest. Howe er, during the dry season, elephants are plenty, and a crocodile or two can always be seen.

Room tip: I stayed in #1 with wonderful view, even from the bed, and not too far away from the main lodge.
Date of stay: January 2013
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
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3  Thank Naki123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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