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“Overpriced”

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Luwawa Forest Lodge
Reviewed 26 January 2014

Me and my girlfriend stayed at luwawa in march 2013 for one night. We met the owners the day before in Mzuzu and they agreed to give us a ride, since they were going back anyways. Afterwards, they told us that it is 10$ per person, also for the way back to the main road (so 40$ in total, since there is no public transport). Unfortunately, they told us this right before we wanted to leave.
We brought our own tent, but also had a look at the dorm, which was not only the most expensive one I have ever seen in that region of Africa, but also in a bad condition and densely packed with 20 beds.
Staff is friendly and helpful, except from the owners, who mainly ignored us while being extremely friendly to the only two other guests. It seemed to us, like they don't really want to have backpackers/campers around, but are trying to get as much money out of them as possible.
The dinner was nice, nothing special, but quite expensive. The breakfast was great, and not too expensive.
If you are looking for a quiet, natural environment and are willing to spend a lot of money, this might be the right place for you.

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Felefuchs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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43 - 49 of 60 reviews

Reviewed 14 January 2014

We stayed over Christmas period after few days on Lake Malawi, and so welcomed the cooler climate and freshness of the air all around. Well signposted, a few km off main road, only three hours from Nkhata Bay or Lilongwe so perfect stopover.

The positives:
Staff were so helpful and clued in to our needs, esp with young children, preparing meals etc. Chef is great, and loves feedback, felt very family friendly, and indeed like you were part of family!
Lots of options for accommodation, self-catering, dorms, private chalets, camping.
Its got such a cosy homely feel, esp at night with the fire and the lovely comfortable dining.
Lot of activities, be it in and around the facility or hiking, cycling etc, they are well set-up and the guides were great. Playground and orienteering course was grea for kids of all ages.
Food is so homely and delicious. We paid small corkage for our wine but well stocked bar there.
George and his team really helpful and visible all the time, for any queries.
Great solar lights for night time after lights out.
One day is not enough!

Downsides:
One day is not enough and we felt it bit heavy on pocket for the accom side of things when you take activities and food on board. At 90usd/night for lodge room, while it was large, comfortable and well equipped, it would be pricey over few nights, and would suggest maybe offering special deals for 3 nights half price or discounts for longer stays t encourage activity breaks?
Rooms could have little make over, not much, but initially feels bit tired, though can't put my finger on specifics.

Well done for all the hard years in building the place up and developing the trails, and facilites, and making it a great destination

Room Tip: Self catering options look good if I was going again with kids. Great views from most of lodge rooms...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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Thank WanderingFunFour
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2014

Stayed here with Kiboko Safaris from Lilongwe in March 2008. The Lodge was fantastic & we were made very welcome. The local dancers & singers there were amazing, they made our stay there special. Great scenery :)

  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Mark C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2013

We were en route to Nyika and stopped here for one night to break the journey. The location is amazing - the views of the reservoir are quite something.
The main lodge is very cosy, although is a bit tired and could do with a bit of a tidy up. However, the food was fabulous and Sandra the chef looked after us very well. We were up and away early doors so she gave us a huge packed lunch as we missed breakfast - sandwiches, boiled eggs, a packet of biscuits and bananas!
Our room was more like a dormitory - could have slept up to 8 people! It reminded me of my youth hosteling days and had that tired and damp smell - wouldn't take much to bring it up to scratch.
So, a handy stopover with lovely people but not anything more than that...

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank WarwickshirelittleL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2013

This place might be off the charts but it packs quite a punch! Lets start with how to get here - you veer of the highway and drive for 15 Kms of nothingness to reach this quite little resting place! The rooms are cosy, with good views; the small dining hall with its fireplace can warm anyone's heart on a cold night.....the welcome is kind and generous.... We found vegetarian food here....
There is no room service but with a dining hall like that with its warmth and soft music, you sure as hell don't miss much. Small paths lead to the waterfront and the lodge is guarded by two dogs, who sure make their presence obvious.
Communication (mobile networks) might be a challenge, but if you have chosen this place, you surely don't care....
It can get quite cold, at least when we went in may it was quite nippy out there...
Overall, it was our first night in Malawi and this place made sure we had lots to look forward to!

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank themanfromearth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2013

The lodge is just perfect - location by the lake on the periphery of the forest with walks and fishing to hand (and other things too). The staff are excellent too. But the catering however is not so good with high (for Malawi) barand restaruant prices for the guest who really has no alternative unless self catering (there are rooms for this and good too) attracts and bringing a cool box is preferred. Here the management has to improve things - better food and better choices - for the US$75 per person per night....maybe a gas stove instead of a wood burner could help? On this theme, guests should expect delays also in delivery of the food once ordered too so plan an hour beforehand what you want and when you want it.

Accommodation is good with Chalets 1 to 4 overlooking the gardens and the dam and the cottage also in nice surroundings - the chalets are big (at least twice the size of those at the Chintheche Inn that charges the same price) with good bathrooms and the provision of bath robes a nice touch.

Do bring a torch as power is only by genset in the evening and although solar power is mentioned it was not evident during our visit. Power came on at 5pm and went off about 10pm and that was it. No TV either but who cares it is such a pleasant location! At least our mobiles (Airtel and TNM) picked up signal which apparently is quite a new thing.

If you fish, bring tackle for wide mouth bass (the lake is stocked with them).

So try it as it is a place worth visiting just for the walks and views. Try the sauna too.

Room Tip: Ask for the cottage if available when booking. Booking takes time with calls generally not possible...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank oncebitten2xshy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 February 2013

We stayed in the dorm, but it was un-sleepable due to excessive amounts of mold. We could not sleep and all felt sick the morning afterwards. The food was ok, but extremely over-priced for the quality and quantity. The chalets may be nice, but over-priced for what you get in the dining room.

Room Tip: Don't stay in the dorm.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Marie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
George W, Owner at Luwawa Forest Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 28 January 2015

The dormitory has been refurbished, more windows put in for better ventilation and new curtains fitted. excellent budget accommodation at 14US$ per bed night. The showers have been described on more than one occasion as being the best hot showers in Africa.

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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 Luwawa Forest Lodge

Address: 43 Private Bag | Mzimba, Near Luwawa Dam, Lilongwe, Malawi
Region: Malawi > Central Region > Lilongwe
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Spa
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 51 Speciality Lodging in Lilongwe
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Luwawa Forest Lodge is an Eco -Tourism Lodge and Outdoor Adventure centre. Located 240km North of Lilongwe in the mountains of the North Viphya Forest Reserve. A very beautiful and peaceful Location far from the madding crowds. ... more   less 

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