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“Wow!”
Review of Marula Lodge

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Marula Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 August 2014

We had the most amazing week at Marula Lodge. At $13pppn for a safari tent, we were able to stay for 7 nights and were so glad we did. The safari tent is equipped with twin beds which were really comfortable, so we didn't even feel like we were in a tent.

Marula provide kitchen facilities, so if you want to cook for yourself, you are able to. The open air shower block is wonderful too, with piping hot showers at any time of the night or day.

The lodge has the enviable position of being at an animal river crossing, so animals come right up into the camp. Whilst there we saw hippos, warthogs, antelope, a monitor, an owl and so many elephants. Mike and Jenny are so great at instructing you how to behave when the elephants come in that one came right up to us and sniffed us!

Jenny was unfortunately only there for a few days while we were, but on each day she took the time to sit with us and chat, talking of her charity work in the local community. It's so good to see a lodge owner giving back. Mike was such a soothing presence and kept the camp calm whenever animals were about. The local staff were also lovely, many of them having a passion for the animals and gladly pointing them out to guests.

We loved this place and we loved the people there. Just go!

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank LaLaLauraLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marulajen, Owner at Marula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 1 October 2014

Hey Laura, thanks so much for the review and for sending other guests our way! Much appreciated. Come back any time!

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162 - 168 of 290 reviews

Reviewed 15 August 2014

Marula Lodge is considered to be a budget lodge in South Luangwa National Park. It does not have luxury cottages, outstanding design or a butler. But it is a lodge that offers very good value for the money. The beds are fine, you have an attached bathroom and mosquito nets. The managers are very attentive, the meals are good, there is a swimming pool and you can sit in a chair watching hippos and elephants. Not least: South Luangwa National Park is one of the best parks in the whole of Africa. Enjoy!

  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled solo
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Thank Arild S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marulajen, Owner at Marula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 1 October 2014

Thank you so much for coming to visit and for taking the time to write a review. We can only agree that this is one of the best parks (dare we say) in the world! How lucky are we?

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Reviewed 29 July 2014

We spent eight marvelous days at this lodge. It is billed as a "budget" lodge, so don't expect extravagance. For one thing, be sure to bring your own shampoo and body lotion as they are not provided. The chalets are clean but basic and in need of upgrading. We always had plenty of hot water and no electricity shortages. We had electric outlets to charge our devices. There is no internet access for guests or telephone reception. On the upbeat side, they had just finished construction of a new dining/reception area which was quite nice. They are also in the process of adding new chalets and upgrading the current ones. The meals were good and varied. Breakfast was toast/cereal with coffee or tea. They served brunch, usually a buffet and dinner was a set menu including appetizer and dessert. The staff was delightful and very accommodating--this included the restaurant/bar servers and the two ladies who were always around and tending to the needs of their guests. The lodge is owned and operated by a wonderful couple--Jenny and her husband Mike. They were not only knowledgeable about the area and involved in the community, but they were always available and attuned to the interests and needs of their guests. Dealing directly with owners who physically manage the property and are readily onsite was an important feature for us. In the all inclusive package, two game drives were included, though you had to pay your own park entrance fees. We had a guide who was an exceptional tracker and very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the area. We had incredible sightings every day which I can attribute to some luck and the skill of our guide. The lodge seemed to cater more to locals (rather than the average tourist,) like multinationals working in Malawi and Zambia, usually involved in humanitarian operations. There was never a shortage of conversations with interesting people doing amazing things! Overall, I would say that our weeklong experience was quite phenomenal and we would love to return again!

Room Tip: Ask for a room nearest the river, which is also close to the dining reception area.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
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1  Thank AlamedaYankeegal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marulajen, Owner at Marula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 1 August 2014

It was lovely to have you visit! All those emails and I forgot to tell you to bring your shower gel LOL!
Seriously it is always great to have such experienced travelers visit Marula. We hope that you make it back to South Luangwa via Malawi next year. We may be biased but we think it is the best park ever!

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Reviewed 15 July 2014

My 2nd stay at Marula Lodge and another great experience. Improvements are being made, with new chalets & dining area being built. The rooms are well set up with personal touches, and the showers are hot and with good water flow. I was there with a group of 10 & we were looked after like family. Being right on the river, it was lovely to sit on the bank in a comfy chair & watch the activity on the river. The game drives were excellent and the guides knowledgeable and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble, the food was yummy and we had the bonus of visits from elephants as well as other local wildlife. The staff made sure that we were safe and ensured that they looked out for us. Marula is only a couple of minutes from the main gate to the NP, making access easy. They were able to include the park entry fee into our rate, meaning we didn't need to worry about a thing. The itinerary was tailored to our needs, including a visit to Tribal Textiles, and transfers to/from the airport were seemless. Jenny & Mike were great hosts, and the staff were excellent.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Mike L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marulajen, Owner at Marula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 1 August 2014

It is always great to have you visit! Thanks for taking the time to do us such a lovely review!

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Reviewed 30 June 2014

Marula Lodge is right next to the Luangwa river near the gate to the National Park so lots of animals around :) We passed a mother hippo and her baby walking across the road 50m from the lodge on the drive in at 7pm!! - great start. The accommodation is very very reasonable and great value for money!! - $30 pp in a ensuite room/chalet or $15 pp for a very nice tent with beds...close to lovely showers/toilets. We stayed 2 nights and on the first night woke at 2.45am as an elephant had stopped outside our tent and then walked past....was incredible...of course couldnt sleep after that with excitement and about an hour later a hippo walked past!!! A true highlight of our travels.
We did a morning safari game drive - 4hrs $40 US ea + $25US park fee...which was great - saw everything....giraffe, elephant, hippo, lion, leopard (running past us), warthog, antelope, buffalo.....but was really nice just sitting next to the river in the afternoon/sunset watching the hippos and crocodiles in the river below.
A fabulous place to stay - Jennie and Mike were wonderful hosts so deserve to do very very well....I wish them all the best and will recommend everyone to come and visit here - I cant wait to go back!!!!

Room Tip: No tips other than ENJOY which I am sure you will!! Oops - take insect repellent - not for the tent...
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Sian G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marulajen, Owner at Marula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 1 August 2014

Thanks for your great detailed review, giving other travelers a good idea of our low season prices. We do try to be budget friendly all year!

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Reviewed 19 June 2014

Marula Lodge is siuated at the South Luangwa Nationalpark. It is definitely the cheapest place there but nonetheless truly lovely. It's a family-run Lodge and great for backpackers and low-budget travellers who seek to enjoy the african wildlife. The lodge is right on the bank of the river and you can see crocodiles and hippos basically all the time and the game drives are twice a day with not too many people. You can also relax at the pool or visit the village or local schools so there are things to do even if you decide to skip a game drive. The food is good but also a bit expensive (which is understandable because they have to drive for miles to buy things) so we brought our own food which we prepared in the staff kitchen. The owners are really great and working hard to make your stay pleasant.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Essi90
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marulajen, Owner at Marula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 1 August 2014

Thanks for coming to visit! You are right we are so lucky to live and work in such a lovely place. WE do try to provide lots of alternatives for those on a skimpy budget!

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Reviewed 17 June 2014

We used a guy named Mophy to arrange the 3 days we spent at Marula and were so pleased! We could've spent many more days here with the hot showers, great food, beautiful riverside relaxing, viewing elephants cross the river, hippos swimming around, and the game drives were sooooooooo cool! The drivers they use know their stuff and we saw so many amazing things--leopards, rare birds, rare wild dogs, warthogs, elephants, impalas, kudus, monkeys, baboons, giraffes, hippos, crocs, and so much more! We even saw a leopard and the hyenas that stole and were eating it's kill. So cool. We stayed in a tent, but it was a super-mega-tent! It had 2 beds in it and lots of security from bugs and critters. They also took a visa, which is rare in this area of the world. Jenny and Mike who own this place are so wonderful and you just feel at home here.

Room Tip: I liked the tent near the bathroom. I'm sure the chalets were nice too.
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank jennykr1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
marulajen, Owner at Marula Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 1 August 2014

Thank you so much for visiting and for your review.....we love the tents too! WE hope that you get a chance to come back to Zambia and see our upgrades!

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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: £27 - £133 (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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