This lodge is located in the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. The road leading up to the lodge can be difficult terrain to drive on during the wet season but can be fun if you like the trill of 4x4 driving.
We were welcomed by Donna, Steve and their team around mid afternoon with a cold refreshing drink and a cold towel. The entrance to the lodge is amazing - a wooden structure supported by large trees that overlook the dense woodland and Bua River. The next jaw dropping experience was the room - a very well designed lodge with a huge bed that can be covered by an elegant mosquito net, deep bath and open plan shower. It really did feel like you were in the African bush especially if you sleep with the curtains undrawn.
The first day we immediately went for a canoe ride up the river. Emmanuel and his assistant Dan have all the patience to guide you up the river where you get off and have your sun down drinks listening to the stories of the animals that live in the forest together with the story of how the lodge can to exist. After a quick thrill of the rapids with our guide we headed back downstream to the lodge. The showers have hot water which is a real joy when you've been out in the hot sun. Water is powered by solar panels but there is sufficient water for 2 people to have a nice shower. We had arrived with a couple that had just got married so Donna had placed a bottle of champagne for them in their room - a nice touch! We then came and sat around a log fire having a few drinks before dinner. Dinner - well that was amazing. The Chef has got real talent in making tasty food and the waiters explain what food they've served for each course which adds a real exclusive feel.
The second day we woke up early for a jungle trek up to a nearby mountain. The 2 hour trek up was a little tiring but definitely doable. The scenes from the top are well worth the effort as you can see the lush green fields for miles. Emmanuel is a great motivator to get you up when your energy levels are flagging! After a well deserved rest we went for a fishing trip in the afternoon after lunch. Lunch again was superb! It was my first time fishing but Emmanuel and Dan again look after you and teach you the basics. After some sun down cake and drinks we headed back for a quick shower, sit around the fire and dinner.
The last day we went on an off-road drive through some amazing terrain. Freddie the driver has real skill in getting his car through the thickest bush! If you like trill rides then this is for you! I was unfortunate not to see any elephants on the trip but a member of our group did get a quick glimpse.
Overall - the trip was amazing, food was exquisite, staff are to be commended especially Donna who sees to making your stay special. The informal structure and convenience of when you want your meals or activities is a definite plus. Its a shame that more people don't know about this place as its a real undiscovered gem!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover Tongole Wilderness Lodge. A luxury eco-lodge nestled deep amongst the breathtaking Miombo woodlands of the 1,800km² Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. Tongole is unique in being one of only two lodges in the reserve and the only lodge to boast high-end, luxury accommodation and first class facilities. Nestled in the South East corner of Africa, sandwiched between Zambia and Mozambique: Malawi and the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve are your playground. Each experience in the wilderness is unique. Your adventure at Tongole is fully customisable. Whether a first time explorer. Or a veteran of the safari. Your escape is personally tailored to allow you to be as wild or laid back as you wish. Traverse the snaking Bua River on a canoeing adventure. Trek through the rugged wilderness bush with an expert guide. Or if that all sounds too much like hard work, relax in your suites hand-built sunken bath before enjoying a meal under the African star-lit sky. Adventure or relaxation. Whatever your desire it's waiting for you in the wilderness. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Tongole Wilderness Lodge Malawi/Nkhotakota