Trip Report: Pumulani Lodge, Lake Malawi

Pumulani LodgePost from Peter Bates, Cedarberg UK:

I recently visited Pumulani Lodge in Malawi as part of a trip through Malawi, Zambia and Chobe. Pumulani, meaning ‘the place of rest’, is a luxury beach lodge on the southern-west shores e of Lake Malawi. It’s the only luxury beach lodge within the Lake Malawi National Park which is the world’s first freshwater marine reserve established to protect the unique Cichlid fish of the lake.

Pumulani Lodge was set up to offer a beach option after a Zambia safari without the need to go to Mozambique or East Africa. When I went from Pumulani to Nkwali Camp in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, the TOTAL travel time door to door was 5 hours, including a bit of waiting time at Lilongwe while the pilot filled out his new flight plan – not bad at all!

The lodge itself is perched on a hill with fantastic views over the lake. Themain lodge building  is at the top of this granite outcrop and the villas at different heights below. I had room 5 which not only has the best view in my opinion, but is also close to the communal areas in terms of horizontal distance and height.  Other rooms are lower; some are pretty much at beach level which is great in one respect, but quite a hike – about 150 steps or a fair 3-5 minute walk up to the lodge (However they do have a golf cart they use to transport people.)

All villas have grass roofs and are huge and beautifully appointed. There’s a family villa near the Lake which has 2 bedrooms. The honeymoon suite has an outside shower in a kind of dhow.

All activities included except Scuba diving and motorised water sports are included. For diving and snorkelling they take you in one of their speed boats to Cape Maclear to search of the Cichlid fish. They also have open kayaks and 2 person dinghies: the latter are available to experienced sailors to take out on their own or be accompanied by a guide. I did the dhow sunset cruise which was fantastic.

I also did the early morning bird walk which was fab. Mine was only an hour but we saw a fish eagle nest and the eagles, sunbirds, a pygmy kingfisher amongst others. Often they combine a walk and a return by kayak in a 2½ hour morning activity. They also have a wizzo 850 x magnification telescope for star gazing. Highlight was seeing the rings of Saturn – yes they really DO exist!

Food was superb as expected. You can dine up at main lodge or down by the beach bar where there’s plenty of shade. Overall I very much liked Pumulani and could well imagine chilling out there after a Zambia safari.

Click here for my  full article on Malawi and Zambia

You can also see how Pumulani fits in with a Zambia safari in our Valley and Lake safari…

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Kate Bergh is co-founder of Cedarberg African Travel, a specialist tour operator for Southern and East Africa.

She heads up the South African office, having lived in South Africa since 1993. Her home looks up to the Cedarberg Mountains, where she enjoys hiking and cycling, when she’s not out discovering new places to visit, with her three children in tow. Kate has travelled extensively throughout the region to Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe as well as most areas of South Africa. She also loves history, meeting people and a good thriller...

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