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Bua River Lodge
Region: Central
Low Price: US$75
High Price: US$130
Price Basis: pppn, FB, seasonal, 3 levels
No of Rooms: 6
Tel: +265 (0)995 476887
Website: visit now
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Accommodation details
Bua River Lodge , Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve

Bua River Lodge is a small and unique, owner-managed lodge, where you are sure to feel at home and guaranteed to relax. We are receiving very favourable reviews, commenting on the excellence of service, friendliness of the staff, comfort of the rooms and quality of the food. (Please see our TripAdvisor page - or check out our Guests’ comments on our website.)

The lodge is located just two kilometers inside the eastern boundary of Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve in Malawi, making access by saloon car, even during the rains, quite straightforward. The reserve, covering 1,800,000 Hectares, is the third largest protected area in Malawi and one of the least known. Largely miombo woodland, the reserve falls from around 1,000 m. above sea level to just 600 metres in the east. The beautiful Bua River, the second largest in the country, on whose banks Bua River Lodge is located, bisects the Reserve.

The reserve is very much a wilderness area. Apart from the main M18 road, which runs through the reserve, there is only only one motorable track in the reserve. North of the river, there are no tracks at all.
There is a considerable diversity of wildlife, including a healthy elephant population, buffalo, lion and leopard, as well as roan, sable, zebra and many smaller mammals, although it must be said that the wildlife is difficult to observe. Over 200 species of birds are listed, including Finfoot, Palm Nut Vulture and Black Stork. It is likely that Pel’s Fishing Owl also occurs.

Bua River Lodge offers high quality tented accommodation at moderate prices, with three categories, Island, Riverside and Hillside, priced to suit most budgets, as well as backpackers’ rooms, two camp sites and an overland truck stop. Currently, six units are available, consisting of purpose-made canvas safari tents, pitched on extensive wooden decks, shaded by thatched roofs. Each tent is pitched well away from the others, providing a degree of seclusion found in few other lodges in Malawi. On your own private deck you neither overlook your neighbours, nor are you overlooked. All you can see is the wilderness and the river! The Island tents, offering even more seclusion, are reached by a bridge and you have the option of breakfast on your deck and a personalized “butler” service.

The accommodation comprises two Island tents, measuring 6.5 x 4.5 metres, one twin-bedded, one with a queen size bed; two Riverside tents, 4.5 x 3.5 metres, one double, one twin; and two Hillside tents, 3.5 x 3.2 metres, also double and twin. All tents are well appointed with cane armchairs and occasional tables on the extensive decks, and bedside tables. Bed linen is of high quality cotton and quilts will keep you warm on cool winter nights. All tents have open-air, but very private, en-suite facilities, with waterless toilet, wash basins and hot showers.

The main camp site is serviced with hot showers and flushing toilets, a shaded deck with eating area, a barbecue, dishwashing facilities and a laundry area. There is also a “wild camping” site, some 500 metres from the lodge with very basic facilities, only approachable by 4x4 or on foot.

Accommodation for backpackers is in two rooms, one with a double bed, one with two twin beds. Located at the camp site, sharing the ablutions, the backpackers’ accommodation provides the opportunity for those travelling on a budget to experinec and enjoy the the wilderness of Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
By mid-2013, a two bedroom, self-catering cottage will be completed, providing family accommodation for up to six people.

The main building, housing the restaurant, bar, reading and reception areas, is unique in Malawi. Built entirely of timber and thatch, right on the banks of the river, it has three main levels for dining and relaxation, as well as an upper viewing deck. Completely open sided, it provides shade and a cool breeze during the heat of the day, but you can dine under the stars in the evening on the open lower deck, or sit around the camp fire on cool nights.

Three meals delicious meals per day, as well as afternoon tea, are provided within the price: a full breakfast, with fruit salad and cereal; a salad-based lunch; and a three-course dinner, with a vegetarian alternative. There is a well stocked bar offering beers and minerals, spirits and wines. A small selection of bottled South African wines is now available.

Lighting throughout relies primarily on paraffin lanterns although small solar powered LED lamps are used to provide illumination in the bathrooms and front decks of the tents. Island and Riverside tents now have bright solar powered lamps inside. Taking the path back to your room after dinner, lit by the flickering flames of the lanterns is a magical experience. But bring a torch!

Given the nature of the terrain and the density of the vegetation, vehicle-based wildlife viewing is generally unrewarding. Walking safaris are offered, with a trained and armed game ranger. Walks are tailored to the wishes of the guests, varying from short strolls along the river to a nearby waterfall, to all-day hikes, a combined vehicle safari and ascent of Chipata Mountain in the west of the reserve and, eventually, overnight safaris with fly camps. Sundowners at strategic points along the river are a particular highlight for many of our guests.

We consider community outreach as a key component of our operation. However, as far as is possible, we intend to assist local communities on a business-to-business basis. We do not believe that hand-outs and guests’ charity provide long-term benefits for local people. Apart from providing employment and training – all current personnel are from surrounding villages - we purchase food items locally and will provide assistance in producing the quality we require. We also provide assistance in marketing local arts and crafts.

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