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“Warm hosts and gigantic guests”
Review of Marula Lodge

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Marula Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 11 August 2013

We spent 4 nights in Marula Lodge in July 2013. The hosts Mike and Jenny were fabulous and we enjoyed the visits of the gigantic guests with trunks and tusks every night! Great lodge at affordable prices with excellent food and hosts. Highly recommend it to anyone.

We stayed in the tents for one night and moved to the regular rooms for the remaining nights. Tent experience was unique with battery powered lanterns and mosquito nets. Rooms are decent and spacious. The bathrooms may need some face-lift, but in general very good and satisfactory.

Food was excellent - they took care of all the meals for us, and there was always more than enough food all the time. We enjoyed their pastas, pizza, lasagna, and the vegetable curry. Both morning and evening game drives bring additional snacks and drinks in the game drive.

Nightly visitors (sometimes daytime too) were awesome. Elephants and hippos cross the river and regularly visit the lodge. Many times, the elephants will be grazing next to the dining room while we have our dinner. Hippos come out late night, graze the grass, and go back to the river in the morning. During our stay, elephants were at the lodge every night.

Overall, our experience with Marula was superb and highly recommend it to anyone visiting South Luangwa National Park in Zambia.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank rdhesikan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marulajen, Owner at Marula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 17 August 2013

It was lovely to have you stay, what a great family! Thanks for the rieview, for coming to Marula and for your interest in our community!

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Reviewed 21 July 2013

My wife's family lives in Zambia and set us up at Marula. After an all day drive from Lusaka (about 12 hours), the staff at Marula made us feel right at home. We immediately grabbed some bottles of Mosi and sat on the comfortable chairs over looking the Luangwa river. The lodge manager, Jenny, and her family took care of all of our needs. They even accommodated changes to our preplanned meals to meet everyone's dietary needs.
The lodge accommodations are basic but clean and well kept. There are a selection of cabins with various bed arrangements to meet any size group needs. Also, there is a nice common area in the center of the lodge where the bar is and meals are served. It contains plenty of couches and tables to eat/drink/socialize. There is a pool located near the river over look that is quite nice. However, it had annual maintenance during our stay so we did no get in. The lodge is small and does not seem over crowded or touristy. The perfect wilderness experience.
The best part of the lodge is the wildlife of course. Animals in South Luangwa park are not contained by a fence thus free roaming. Do not be surprised to wake up and see an elephant grazing on a nearby tree outside your window or baboons chasing each other across the grounds of the lodge. At night, you will probably have Hippo visitors from the nearby river. Do not be concerned. Marula staffs plenty of night watchman to escort you from your cabin at night to make sure you don't have any unwanted run ins with the animals. They are also very knowledgeable and well trained. Listen to their instructions and do not get too close!
The safari experience that Marula sets up is second to none. Unlike some parts of Africa, the guides on the safari are more than just your chauffeur. They are highly trained, and extremely knowledgeable professionals that add a whole new dimension to the experience. The guides can tell you everything about the animals you are seeing. Their habitats, behavior, where they live, what they eat, how they hunt, and on and on and on. They will tailor your safari based on the animals you want to see. We told our guide we wanted to see more lions and he drove over 40 km to a river where he thought they might be located based on their movements and location earlier in the day. Lo and behold there was a lion and 4 lionesses. This provided the best photo opportunity of the whole trip.
Overall, Marula was the best experience for the money. If you are looking for safari luxury, this is not your place. If you want an authentic experience from a lodge of well trained and attentive guides, Marula is the perfect fit. Enjoy your safari!

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank Surgie1265
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marulajen, Owner at Marula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 17 August 2013

Thanks you so much for visiting Marula Lodge and for writing such a detailed review.....our staff always appreciate feedback !

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Reviewed 20 July 2013

I chose Marula Lodge because of the reviews I had read, and I have to say that it was even better than I had expected. It is very reasonably priced and the location on the river is fantastic. There are a variety of hammocks and comfortable chairs in which to while away a few hours watching and listening to the hyppos. I stayed in one of the chalets, which was very comfortable. A guy I had met on the way from Lusaka stayed in a tent by the river and loved it as well. The wildlife on the grounds night and day is awesome. What's better than waking up in the middle of the night to a couple of elephants feeding on the tree outside your room?

Mike and Jenny are warm and welcoming and very involved in making sure that their guests are happy, and the staff are great. I have to give particular props to the guides: they were incredibly professional and knowledgeable. If you ask a question, they won't just give you a short answer, they'll tell you everything you would ever want to know about the park, the animals, etc. We also did a very reasonably priced walking safari, which I would highly recommend for a different perspective. The family also seems to be very involved in the local community. We did a village tour with Thandie, who volunteers a the school and works part-time at the lodge. I highly recommend this tour; she lives in the village and it's a nice way of having someone show you where they live. Basically, I cannot recommend this place enough. If I get to go back to Zambia at some point, I will definitely go back to Marula Lodge.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled solo
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Thank kashgar19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marulajen, Owner at Marula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 17 August 2013

We are glad you chose Marula and that you had a great time! Thank you so much for the review. A good guide makes a good safari....thank you for your positive feedback, we will be sure to let the guides know.

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Reviewed 12 July 2013

Our family of 5 recently spent 3 weeks at Marula and it was wonderful. The grounds are natural and well kept, the pool area is great, the accommodations are comfortable, clean and roomy (even the fun tents....love the outdoor showers and toilets!), the riverside location cannot be beat, and the staff are warm, welcoming, and friendly. Mike and Jenna have brought their warmth and wonderful energy to Marula and it shows. The lodge visits by the local wildlife was an exciting treat and the sunrise/sunsets sitting riverside are just perfect. Our family loves Marula Lodge and hope to return again and again. Thank you Mike, Jenny, Clare, Simon, Jacob, Goffrey, Douglas, Leonard, Oman, Steven, Boston, and all the others who work so hard at this great lodge to help make our vacation and stay so pleasant and wonderful. We already miss you all!

Room Tip: They are all good but we seemed to get quite a bit of wildlife visits while in the Baobab and Raintr...
  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank jvz13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marulajen, Owner at Marula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 13 July 2013

Thank you so much for coming to Marula and for the great review! We look forward to seeing you all back some day.

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Reviewed 11 July 2013

We stayed at Marula Lodge as a group of 9. Jenny and Mike, their daughter and staff were incredibly welcoming, and you could tell that they wanted us to have a great time. The food was simple but delicious, and the environment very relaxing. We stayed in tents on the edge of the river - they had real beds in them with very nice linen. The staff swept them out every day. The bathrooms were really cool - four of them centred around a big tree so you were showering outside, but at the same time each bathroom was completely private. The view of the river was amazing, and we were regularly treated to hippos. We were also lucky enough to see elephants and even a leopard on the grounds in the evenings! The guides that took us on drives in the park were incredibly knowledgeable and professional. All in all, a fantastic place to stay, that is very reasonably priced, and will leave you feeling very relaxed.

Stayed: June 2013, travelled with friends
Thank Helen A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marulajen, Owner at Marula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 13 July 2013

It was great to have you and the family here. Thanks for your work at the school and all the lovely goodies that you brought to help out. Thanks for the review too! We hope to see you back again some day.

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Reviewed 2 July 2013

Just returned after a 5 week stay at Marula Lodge, on the banks of the beautiful Luangwa River. As a volunteer for Project Luangwa I was travelling alone and it could have been a lonely experience but Mike and Jenny, the hosts, and their daughter Clare and her husband Simon , went out of their way to make sure I felt at home and really made me feel like part of their family. I fell in love with the place- to sit on the river bank each morning watching the hippos, crocodiles and occasional elephants was pure delight. The lodge itself is well maintained, with attractive grounds and a great swimming pool, the rooms are comfortable and the visiting wildlife is a real attraction, with Mike always keen for visitors to share the experience. Jenny knows everyone by name and is always around to chat to guests and make them feel at home. All the guests get to know each other in the small, intimate restaurant/ bar and the staff are polite and friendly. I really loved staying at Marula and can’t wait to visit again.

Room Tip: All the rooms are named after trees- I stayed in 3 different rooms - they were all fine but I know t...
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled solo
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Thank JaneParke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marulajen, Owner at Marula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 13 July 2013

We miss our evening chats! Thanks for the lovely review and we hope that you can come back sometime with your husband!

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Reviewed 18 June 2013

Marula Lodge was a great choice for accommodations in the South Luangwa. I stayed here during a visit to work with a non profit and was here for 11 nights. I felt comfortable immediately, was taken care of by staff and the owners and their family made me feel right at home. The camp is extremely well run and efficient, great rates,food/drink, beautiful setting on the river and the rooms were well worth their fair rates. Every day or night was filled with Baboons, Hippos munching outside my room at night or the delight of waking to Elephants. Thank you to Jenny, Mike, Claire, Simon (and Jane my neighbor and new friend) for making me feel so at home. Looking forward to seeing you all again...Lots of love from Las Vegas

Room Tip: I would ask which room attracts the most Elephants (they like some of the trees better than others...
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled solo
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Thank StacyJames
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marulajen, Owner at Marula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 20 June 2013

Thank you so much for the review, it was lovely to have you and we hope to see you when you are next in the valley!

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Additional Information about Marula Lodge

Address: Mfuwe Main Road, South Luangwa National Park n/a, Zambia
Phone Number:
Region: Zambia > South Luangwa National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 43 Speciality Lodging in South Luangwa National Park
Price Range: £26 - £129 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a family-run, family-friendly lodge that prides itself in offering excellent service, food and adventure at budget friendly prices. Our rooms are guaranteed to be comfortable and clean; we have few airs and graces and can promise a wonderful time to all who visit. Our wildlife is amazing and we often have a family of elephants or a giraffe wandering through the camp. We look forward to welcoming you to Marula Lodge! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Marula Lodge Zambia/South Luangwa National Park

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