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“Bumi stole my heart” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa

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Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa
Certificate of Excellence
Kiddy
Level Contributor
39 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Bumi stole my heart”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 June 2014

We have recently returned from Bumi Hills. What an amazing place to visit. This is such a well run lodge. Catherine and Mike are putting their own stamp on the place. It was so welcoming. The staff could not do enough for us and Rogers gave us a great time on the game drives and on the water. We kept getting little surprises on a daily basis. Spend time on the platform and enjoy watching the bird life if you can. We had a Mongolian barbecue under the stars one night and a fully laid out and serviced lunch which was supposed to be a picnic on an island. Our last night we asked if we could end the game drive near the petrified trees to take a photograph and we were served snacks and had a fire sitting on chairs by the river as the sun went down, and pure magic an elephant walked into view with the sunset. The rooms were extremely clean, the beds so comfortable. The monkeys woke us one morning running over the roof of the lodge. The view is amazing. We flew in by charter flight from Victoria Falls, I would like to experience the boat transfer next time. Nothing is too much trouble for the team This is such an amazing place that you have to go back time and again. A place to restore your soul. I cannot speak highly enough of the amazing experience I had. Thank you Catherine and the team.

Room Tip: Pay the extra and have the rooms with the lake view.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank cookekiddy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Catherine N, General Manager at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, 23 June 2014
Thank you so much for your lovely comments - we know that Bumi has worked her magic again when a guest leaves in tears...this truly is a remarkable corner of our beautiful country, and reactions such as yours confirm this. The morning spent with the elephant herd which had just moved into our area was unforgettable - they have set up home here, and Bumi Bay is their favourite spot. They are awaiting your return!
Catherine.
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141 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (69)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
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English first
Lynton, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 May 2014

An outstanding hotel in a very special location, with beautiful views and sunsets. The accommodation is excellent, very clean and the staff are attentive and considerate. It was quiet during our stay (low season) and we were made to feel part of the Bumi family. Don't expect to lose weight at this hotel; the meals come thick and fast and portions are very generous. Our time was well spent with lake cruises and safari drives, including a visit to Chalala Fishing Village. There is a great diversity of wildlife in the area, especially birdlife for which Zimbabwe is renowned and our guide Maxwell was very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna. All in all a wonderful experience and one which I would have no hesitation in recommending to others.

Room Tip: The premium rooms offer uninterrupted views of the lake and the wildlife that gathers at the waterho...
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Dave H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Catherine N, General Manager at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, 30 May 2014
Thank you for your very kind comments and we were delighted to welcome you as part of the Bumi family! I will be sure to pass on your comments to Maxwell, and the entire Bumi team. The bird-life is quite extraordinary here - we have over 150 different species, as I am sure you noticed during your game drives!
We hope to be able to welcome you back one day
best regards
Catherine Norton
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zimbabwe
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 April 2014

In the journey reaching it, you know you must going to a special place. Accessible by speed-boat / charter flight from Kariba, Harare or Vic Falls, Bumi Hills is a completely unique destination and the start of an exciting safari adventure. Walk in and be met by Catherine, Fiona and a million smiles and then first glimpse of the pool and.. WOW! Bumi Hills has a breath-taking panoramic vista across Lake Kariba. An upgrade to the Premium Room is a definite! The large rooms have gorgeous detail; wooden floors, antique silver tea&coffee butler complete with home-made shortbread, air-conditioning, iced water in a flask and both bath or shower facilities. Look out for wildlife at the waterhole below, elephants swimming in the shoreline, monkeys, baboons and fish eagles swooping overhead all from the private balcony in your room overlooking the lake panorama. Activities on land are a choice of safari viewing in 4WD vehicles or a guided walk. The safari drive was great fun and very informative, we were lucky to have the most incredible close encounter with a herd of elephant and as a keen photographer, this was the highlight of my stay. A drive through the Mopane forests is quite a thrill – this is the time of year to see the harmless Golden Orb spider in all its glory – so named for the impressively large golden web it weaves between trees, our guide tested our strength by showing a sample of this golden thread and challenged us to try and break it. Now the challenge will be yours! A pride of lion sighted nearby was an exciting challenge to spot. The green and very lush vegetation allowed prime viewing of hippo feeding close to the lake – as the water rises the grass plains flood - be sure to find out about the Bumi Hills successful efforts in the Feeding Program set up for the nearby Starvation Island. Bumi Hills also has its own Anti-Poaching Unit who collect snares, police the area for illegal gill fishing nets and educate local villages on conservation necessity and awareness. Infact, majority of the Bumi staff are from the local area – very knowledgeable about the history of the lake, building of the dam wall and the fascinating legend of Nyami-Nyami. Bird-life is prolific in this area, the haunting call of the fish eagle is the background song of Bumi Hills and a sunset safari opportunity by boat is an absolute must-do. Kariba boasts one of the best sunsets in Africa and it did not disappoint. Sit in the snorting company of hippos, elephants, impala, waterbuck and birds and watch the day end with a fishing rod in one hand and a lovely chilled drink in the other. All activities incur a fee from National Parks that is payable upon check-out. Meals are included in your stay at Bumi Hills and what a delight they are, will you be tasting crocodile or eating the fish you caught earlier? Chipo runs the spa with a view and a massage or mud-wrap is the tip of the relaxing journey that Bumi Hills is. There is internet and cellular reception for the die-hards but my advice is Prepare to Relax. This is paradise.
Thank you to Catherine, Paul, Ian and the smiling staff at Bumi Hills for a completely memorable stay. I will definitely be back.
Travel Tip – pair your visit to Bumi Hills with a trip to Victoria Falls. The charter flight is only 1.5hrs from Victoria Falls Airport and the birds-eye view of Victoria Falls and Lake Kariba is a bonus. Bumi Hills have a sister property in Victoria Falls who offer a discounted combined stay between the two properties, ask Bumi Hills Reservations for details.

Room Tip: Upgrade yourself to a Premium Room, it is worth it!
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ROBYND83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
east africa
Level Contributor
126 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 March 2014

The lodge Is well located with excellent views. We saw elephants , buffalo and more from the main bar and dining area . The food was truly excellent for all meals. We had a room with a view over the lake which were very good. The beds , linen etc all excellent as well . The staff were friendly so all in all we had a great time. Yes there were spiders on the game drive but so what you're in Africa and they aren't poisonous ones so why worry. The boat trips to the island were fun and we caught fish . Drinks were very reasonably priced so it is relatively cheap from our experience. Poor Zimbabwe though with Bob Mugabe bringing the economy to its knees . Well done to Bumi Hills team for keeping the standard up in these trying times of Mugabe.

Room Tip: Lake view rooms superior
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank kuwinda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BumiHillsSafariLodge, Manager at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, 5 March 2014
Thank you for your review with regards to Bumi Hills Safari Lodge and Spa and your positive feedback with regards the views, the wildlife, the meals, the staff, the rooms and the high standards that Bumi maintains. Having the chance to catch fish always does make it extra special! Especially in such a unique environment where you can often enjoy wildlife-viewing while fishing!
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Laguna Beach, California
Level Contributor
95 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 January 2014

Yes, Bumi is a beautiful lodge, great food and great beds, nice rooms, good sized....but you have to use a towel to get out of your room in the morning to break the cob webs. They have a guy hired who walks around with a feather duster on a long stick breaking cob webs all day. Going for game drives is horrible, all I could focus on was the zillions of huge spiders, we broke their webs and the spiders would then fly into the open vehicle. If you want to go fishing, it's a good spot, and the village tour was a nice couple hours. I wanted to go for a "lake cruise", we went to the dock, there was a medium sized pleasure boat with "Bumi Hills" on the side, I thought that would be it, but found it funny that no one else was going from the lodge.....but the guide put us on a open air, no wind screen small motor boat, and I decided I'd better decline as I knew my husband cannot sit on a hard seat and I wouldn't want to sit in the sun all day. He didn't mention the pleasure boat, neither did I, but I found out later that they only use that boat to pick up people in Karibe city.
We booked though Wildnerness Safaris, our voucher said all meals and two activities a day included. As soon as we got there the manager, Nick took as aside and told us drinks are not included, and there was a sign on the table that said activites have a in house charge, either a park fee or a tax for each activity. Well, we didn't really mind, but found it deceptive. After we left the lodge we got an email from Wilderness, seems Nick had written them and said that I had refused to sign the bar bills and I had insisted the drinks were included, so to expect a complaint from me. This is so untrue, I did complain to the guide about the spiders (I was in shock - of course I knew he couldn't do anything about it), and I declined the motor boat ride, but I never ever complined about the charges as I felt sorry for them - how could they continue in business with such a location surrounded with spiders?
The lodge is owned by several families, most of them were there, they went out fishing everyday, they are Zimbabweans. There were only 3 paying guests at the lodge while we were there.
I wasn't going to report anything about Bumi, as I like them, but after Nick's letter to Wilderness Safaris I feel that I must.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Travelinggirly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BumiHillsSafariLodge, Manager at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, 7 February 2014
All feedback positive or negative is always welcome and assists lodge management and staff.
The Green Season in Southern Africa a special time of the year - with the rains, comes lush grass and thick vegetation, and plenty of grazing for the wildlife, lots of inland water, and new life in many forms . . . the impala drop their young, there are baby warthogs running around with tails in the air, lots of new wildlife and of course there is an increased insect activity, and this includes the Golden Orb spiders (which are harmless). There are also more geckos (which dart around eating insects) - and a myriad of bright flowers providing contrast to the green bush. This would apply to all lodges in Southern Africa. All the creatures great and small co-exist in a balanced harmony and many of them have symbiotic relationships so are all vital in the chain. Thus we do try to ensure any human impact on nature is kept to a minimum.

We are glad that you enjoyed the Tonga Village trip we take corporate social responsibility seriously, and endeavour to support the village wherever possible.

With regards to boat activities at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge and Spa, we have a 30 foot, 16 seater covered transporter which is used solely to transfer guests between Kariba town and the lodge, and we also have a variety of smaller uncovered boats which are skippered by qualified guides and designed to let you explore the lake edges and wildlife that may be encountered there, or to go fishing on. These boats are comfortable, well maintained and obviously meet required safety standards.

Beverages and other extras have not been included in our packages since 2011 and we have taken great care to ensure that all agents/tour operators and prospective clients are advised of this prior to travel. Wilderness Safaris have accepted responsibility for misinforming you on what was included in your package and have agreed to reimburse you for all extras charged at the lodge during your stay.

It is common practice within the hotel industry for lodge or hotel staff to provide feedback to agents who send business (positive or negative) regarding guests stay during or after their departure so as to eliminate or rectify any issues or potential issues or any breakdown in communication between the agent and client, and this was the case with Bumi Hills and Wilderness Safaris with regards your booking.

I apologise if the contents of the email offended you in any way as all I was trying to do was rectify the issue you brought to my attention while at the lodge regarding the extra charges etc.

Kind Regards
Nicholas Milne
Chief Operating Officer
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Harare, Zimbabwe
Level Contributor
40 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 January 2014 via mobile

bumi hills is a massive improvement on what it was 12 years ago during the dark times in zim.
the guys in sa have done a wonderful thing by investing cash here to get this old icon going again.
the view is the best in kariba and pool is very well maintained.
vehicles are new and well maintained.
nick the manager works hard and has his fingers on pulse.
its nice to see another icon here.. ian smith and get some of his old stories going abt the area hes very knowledgeable on... hes also great round the bar with his "war "stories.

the wifi must be improved in range by 100m and should be open .. not password protected.
everybody wants wifi its essential as oxygen to modern humans

MAKE SURE U GET ROOMS AT FRONT FACING WATER.

not allowing adults to walk down to harbour is weird... animals are harmless and like in a zoo here.

fishing is good .. I caught biggest fish 15kg vundu which we released.

as long as the management keep the rate of 100 us per person per day they will keep beds full and make a bit of profit.
if they go above 100 us more people will end up at tiger bay round corner which is more relaxed and laid back.

  • Stayed January 2014
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank andywhyte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AfricaAlbidaTourism, General Manager at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, 24 January 2014
Hi Andy, thanks for the feedback. Glad you rated us the best in your selection. :)

Jonathan Hudson
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 November 2013

By far the BEST holiday experience my husband and I have ever had. Nathalie and Willem and their entire team are a class act! The bush dinner blew us away....it was the absolute highlight of our honeymoon experience. Maxwell, our tour guide, made us feel so at home and was an amazing host on both our fishing trip and game drive. "Captain Ed" provided plenty of laughs on the boat ride to and from Kariba. The food was exquisite and the attention to detail all around is what set this experience apart. Bumi Hills is truly one of Zimbabwes hidden gems! Since our return to Canada, we have shared our experience and pictures and have recommended to anyone's who will listen what an amazing place this is, and that it's a must see destination when one visits Zimbabwe. If you have an online gallery, we'd be happy to email our pictures for you to share in your marketing efforts. All in all, one heck of an adventure! THANK YOU Bumi Team!!!

Room Tip: All rooms were top notch! All of them face the lake.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Dee P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
AfricaAlbidaTourism, General Manager at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, 24 January 2014
Thanks for the amazing feedback! It sounds like a magnificent experience. And so happy to be a part of it.

See you back with us soon!

Jonathan Hudson
General Manager
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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 Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa

Property: Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa
Address: Bumi Hills | Lake Kariba, Kariba, Zimbabwe
Phone Number:
Region: Zimbabwe > Mashonaland West Province > Kariba
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 13 Speciality Lodging in Kariba
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bumi - just a one-hour dramatic and scenic direct flight away from Victoria Falls - is a famous safari lodge that in recent years has been constantly upgraded to international five-star standards and yet retains its utter beauty and charm that, at its heartbeat, has the most sublime and astonishing 180-degree vista that has no peer in all of southern Africa. Perched on top of a small range of hills Bumi offers guests this panoramic delight, overlooking the massive lake, islands and game-rich shoreline, from the premium rooms, the dining deck, the bar, the fire-pit , the Africology Spa and from the glorious signature pool. Bumi offers 24 rooms - 14 Lake View premium rooms set a little in front of 10 standard rooms, all en-suite and fully equipped with modern amenities. Our local Tongan staff are renowned for their friendliness and delightful service ethic. Gourmet food is created to the highest standard by our dedicated team, headed by our highly interactive executive chef. Our activities are spearheaded by an experienced Zimbabwe professional guide, licensed to walk in the wilds with guests.. Fishing, 4 x 4 game drives, boat safaris, walks and visits to a traditional Tonga village are the most popular activities. Our exclusive wildlife area is home to Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo, Zebra, Hippo, Crocodiles, Kudu, Waterbuck and much more! More than 400 species of birds have been recorded. Visit villages where the Tonga people have maintained their age old customs and get a truly unique cultural experience. Discover how Bumi Hills work with the communities in the area and how the lodge protects its wildlife area with a committed anti-poaching unit. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bumi Hills Safari Hotel Kariba
Bumi Hills Safari Lodge & Spa Zimbabwe/Kariba

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