We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“great safari experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Thornicroft Lodge

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in South Luangwa National Park
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Thornicroft Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
4 reviews
“great safari experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 March 2014

My wife and I had an absolutely wonderful time at the Thornicroft Lodge. The manager, David, was wonderful and took great care of us, as did the rest of the staff. The meals were delicious. We slept very well in the comfortable rooms with the sound of hippos and raindrops in the distance. Our guide, Godfrey, is a veteran of 23 years and did a superb job. I would definitely return to this lodge.

Richard and Erin

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RichardHoehn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

132 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    105
    21
    5
    1
    0
See reviews for
40
46
8
1
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Blantyre, Malawi
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 December 2013

Stayed at the Thornicroft Lodge for four nights last weekend and found it to be a quality experience, incredibly relaxing, with an experienced staff and safari guide and a clean and beautifully appointed chalet to sleep in, while listening to grunting hippos in the background. The Lodge sits on a cliff overlooking the Luangwa River, filled with pods of hippos, crocodiles and birds and the occasional visit by elephants, impalas and water buffalo. The food was excellent, not one meal a disappointment, and the tea breaks during the safari were a welcomed pause between sightings of lions, elephants, zebras, a leopard, giraffes, beautiful birds etc. at the So. Luongwa National Park a short distance away from the Lodge. David was a gracious and attentive host and Godfrey a guide like no other! Highly recommend this special place.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Stokell R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lyndhurst, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 November 2013

Totally agree with the comments of 466 Copper who my son and I accompanied on two of our 4 game drives. Thanks to Godfrey, everything on our list of things to see was seen. The lodge is superbly situated on the banks of the river and an abundance of game can be seen with a beer in hand from the gardens.
If you are on a budget and don't mind not having A/C this is the place for you.
I will definately be back someday.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Stuart N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pretoria, South Africa
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 November 2013

My wife and I have just returned from a 6 night stay at Thornicroft Lodge and have noticed the review by one disappointed visitor, we are completely flabbergasted by it, this is most definitely not the experience we enjoyed. Having both been born in Zambia a number of years back, we decided we would enjoy a special birthday in the country of our birth, we chose Thornicroft based on previous reviews.
We arrived on Sunday the 27th October in typical Luangwa Valley heat 40℃ to be met by Dhaka and his polite and jovial team, he sat us down and briefed us fully on the do's and don'ts of the Lodge, also on the programme arranged for the duration of our stay. The staff were all super in the way they went about, wanting to make our stay a memorable one, ensuring we were as comfortable as is possible in the heat experienced at this time of year.
On Monday morning we joined another British father and son on the game drive, Godfrey being our guide. Well that was the start of an experience of a lifetime, I would personally rate him as one of the finest in the industry in Zambia, even better than a number I have had the pleasure of driving with in our own parks in South Africa. His knowledge of the bush and animal behaviour, bird identification, are unsurpassed, his humour and consideration kept our attention for the full four hours of every drive. Steve the "night spotter" was equally as sharp and informative. Yes we did have to "hang on" as Steve put it a number of times but we would not have seen the animals we did, had we not gone looking for them. Every drive had a different high point.
David Kelly the manager was at the lodge to greet us on Monday after our drive, and every subsequent drive we went on thereafter(10) his warm greeting and concern for our (guests) comfort and enjoyment were very evident by the way he mingled and chatted to all visitors. He had a super rapport with all the guests. We have already started planning our next visit to Thornicroft Luangwa for August of next year.
I could go on for hours, telling you all out there that are planning an African Safari how wonderful it was but I would much rather suggest you take the trip to Thornicroft and experience a trip of a lifetime with many wonderful memories.
Pack your camera, sunblock, binoculars a good hat and get out there and enjoy the moment. We will be sharing our many photographs and stories with family, friends and anyone that will give us an ear.
A vehicle breakdown would most certainly not put us off.
Thank you David, Godfrey and your team. Good luck going forward.
Copper Ludick
South Africa

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 466Copper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ohio
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 October 2013

We stayed recently for four nights in the chalets. The rooms were big, clean, and nice and ladies responsible for the rooms were wonderful. It was the height of hot season, but the rooms stayed comfortable and we had a fan to help cool off. The meals were good as many others have stated.

Unfortunately, after greeting us and ensuring we were settled in, the manager informed us that he was to be away and introduced us to the gentleman who will take over. I say "unfortunately" because I believe the challenges we had were primarily due to his absence. On the second day, as we were leaving for the game drive, our friend noticed the vehicle was low on fuel and asked the guide if we had enough and he assured us that we were fine. However, just after sunset, as we were driving up a hill, the vehicle ran out of fuel. We sat in the dark with no information as the guide made phone calls. Before too long the other group with the lodge arrived and we were told to move into that vehicle. There were six of us and only two seats free but we all squeezed in. We then attempted to tow the vehicle and, due to driving way to fast, nearly rolled our vehicle with 12 people in it! We then proceeded more slowly and were eventually met by yet another vehicle, which had just a bit more room so we all piled in that vehicle. Obviously the game drive was ruined for not just us but the other guests as well. Upon returning to the camp we were met with silence. The entire evening there was no communication whatsoever and most notably, no apologies.

The next morning our guide was a completely different person. Still no apology and now he just didn't talk. We stopped to see an elephant and the vehicle wouldn't start, so we had to get out and give it a push. For the rest of our stay, we were stuck with this vehicle that couldn't be shut off. It is difficult to take good photos when the vehicle is running due to the shake. When we stopped for tea and coffee, we were informed that someone forgot to pack them. Unbelievable!

While no one in our group complained about any of this (primarily because the assistant manager was not to be found), the guide and assistant manager avoided us for the remainder of our stay. There were never any apologies nor did anyone say goodbye (with the exception of the other staff such as the house-cleaners and bartender who were wonderful).

Upon returning home, we contacted the manager who was truly, genuinely apologetic but offered us nothing more than a "significant discount" if we were to come again.

All in all, it was a disappointing visit. I had read all of the good reviews and expected better of Thornicroft Lodge.

If running out of fuel in the bush at night, nearly rolling over in an overloaded vehicle, shaky photos and and indifferent guide and manager are your idea of a good vacation, you have found the right place. Otherwise, you may want to consider other places.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank jjmoeller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Thornicroft, Director of Sales at Thornicroft Lodge, responded to this review, 3 November 2013
Dear J.,

I am sorry to hear about your bad experience in our lodge. It is unforgivable that a vehicle runs out of fuel, also the other experiences you describe are very far from our usual quality.
We are going to the bottom of this to find out what went wrong and how to prevent it will happen again!
Therefor I'll contact you via mail for more details, I feel rather uncomfortable with this situation!

With kind regards,

Puk
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 October 2013

Stayed here on a 4 day safari (4 game drives) with some family a few weeks ago. Chose the provided tents as this seemed good value. The transfer from Lilongwe was relatively painless - only delay was at the Zambia border and changing Zambian Kwachas, nothing to do with our driver Eric.

The lodge is situated very near to the village Mfuwe right on the entrance to S Luanga National Park. I was initially slightly concerned of this proximity and worried that I may not see animals going through/near the lodge like other guests have stated in their review but I was not disappointed - we saw elephants as well as a hippo strolling through the camp.

Our guide Godfrey was very good and knowledgeable. Took it personally to track down lions which we eventually found on the third drive. We were certainly not disappointed as we found a fully maned mature male which both Godfrey and the lodge's manager David said they had not seen before. We also found the regular pride later that day as well as leopards on both days - seeing a leopard during the daytime on both days were highlights.

One tip (especially if booking through an agent - we booked through Land and Lake in Lilongwe) is to pay in US dollars. Due to the Malawian Kwacha being volatile businesses often offer favourable exchange rates.

Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
2 Thank Fungmeister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Thornicroft, Director of Sales at Thornicroft Lodge, responded to this review, 9 November 2013
Thank you for you review and good to hear that you enjoyed your stay.
I would like to give some additional tips:

- In Zambia it is not allowed to pay in another currency than the Zambian Kwacha. At the border of Mchinji and and airports you can change USD, GBP, Euro etc, but even in Mfuwe (Kakumbi village) there is a ATM that works with VISA card and spits out Kwacha.
- If you come from Europe there is not need to travel around with USD. In most countries the Euro is also accepted in hotels. (no, not in Zambia ...)
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
84 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 October 2013

We stayed at Thornicroft at their tented camp as part of a 4 day safari out of Lilongwe in Malalwi.

The camp was basic but very comfortable, even in the extreme October heat, but for the price it was perfect. The food was good and the staff were extremely helpful and accommodating.

Of course the highlight was the animals and I can't put into words how fabulous the sightings were. Worth every penny and then some.

5 stars all round.

Room Tip: If you are staying in the tented camp get the ones under the thatched roof as you can take the cover...
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Georgia M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Also consider these accommodations in or near South Luangwa National Park
1.2 mi away
Croc Valley Camp
Croc Valley Camp
#17 of 43 in South Luangwa National Park
4.5 of 5 bubbles 195 reviews
3.2 mi away
Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge
Sanctuary Chichele Presidential ...
#12 of 43 in South Luangwa National Park
5.0 of 5 bubbles 104 reviews
8.0 mi away
Zikomo Safari Camp
Zikomo Safari Camp
#15 of 43 in South Luangwa National Park
5.0 of 5 bubbles 66 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
7.4 mi away
Sanctuary Puku Ridge Camp
Sanctuary Puku Ridge Camp
#16 of 43 in South Luangwa National Park
5.0 of 5 bubbles 86 reviews
0.0 mi away
Mushroom Lodge
Mushroom Lodge
#32 of 43 in South Luangwa National Park
4.5 of 5 bubbles 62 reviews
0.0 mi away
Camp Nkwazi
Camp Nkwazi
#10 of 84 in Livingstone
5.0 of 5 bubbles 99 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Thornicroft Lodge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Thornicroft Lodge

Property: Thornicroft Lodge
Address: Along the Luangwa River | Between Kakumbi village and the park entrance, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Region: Zambia > South Luangwa National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 43 Speciality Lodging in South Luangwa National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Thornicroft is an intimate bush-style lodge set on the banks of the Luangwa River with spectacular views over the Park. At Thornicroft you can explore South Luangwa National Park on unforgettable game drives with our expert guides. On our drives you will explore one of the best parks in Africa to see lion and leopard, not to mention all the other birds and animals that make this valley so unique.Our nine charming bush-style chalets are spread out along the banks of the Luangwa River. Each of our intimate en-suite chalets has fabulous views of the South Luangwa National Park. The chalets are designed for 2 people, but on request we can add a third bed. However if you are looking for a more affordable way to safari we have eight permanent safari dome two-person tents with shared bathroom facilities near the lagoon. The tented camp is closed from January – March.Thornicroft can also arrange transfers from Lilongwe to Thornicroft Lodge. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Thornicroft Lodge Zambia/South Luangwa National Park

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing