Tongole Wilderness Lodge

Tongole Wilderness Lodge

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, Nkhotakota Malawi
Traveller (182)
Our chalet at Tongole
Room & Suite (25)
Main Lodge bar and dining area
Dining (13)

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About

5.0
#1 of 6 lodges in Nkhotakota
4.8 of 5 bubbles
Location
4.9 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Service
4.7 of 5 bubbles
Value
Discover Tongole Wilderness Lodge. A luxury eco-lodge nestled deep amongst the breathtaking Miombo woodlands of the 1,800km² Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. Tongole is unique in being one of only two lodges in the reserve and the only lodge to boast high-end, luxury accommodation and first class facilities. Nestled in the South East corner of Africa, sandwiched between Zambia and Mozambique: Malawi and the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve are your playground. Each experience in the wilderness is unique. Your adventure at Tongole is fully customisable. Whether a first time explorer. Or a veteran of the safari. Your escape is personally tailored to allow you to be as wild or laid back as you wish. Traverse the snaking Bua River on a canoeing adventure. Trek through the rugged wilderness bush with an expert guide. Or if that all sounds too much like hard work, relax in your suites hand-built sunken bath before enjoying a meal under the African star-lit sky. Adventure or relaxation. Whatever your desire it's waiting for you in the wilderness.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free internet
Pool with view
Bar / lounge
Airport transportation
Mosquito net
Non-smoking hotel
Private check-in / check-out
Wifi
Special diet menus
Outdoor fireplace
Laundry service
Room features
Bathrobes
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Suites
Family rooms
Good to know
HOTEL STYLE
River View
Quaint

Location

Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, Nkhotakota Malawi
Getting there
Lilongwe Intl Airport
101.2 km
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109Reviews1Q+A29Room tips
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Detailed Reviews
Yasmin L wrote a review Jun 2022
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This was my first safari and the first place I stayed in and it was one of the best experiences of my life. When we arrived, we were welcomed with refreshments and hot towels and were taken to our luxurious room. The room had the largest bath and shower I had ever seen and it was so comfortable and was made up for us twice a day. The food we were served was the best food I have ever tasted and in the evenings, we had a four-course meal each night. The food was always hot and on time. We chose when we ate and when we did our activities and we could not have asked for better hospitality. The views from the lodge were wonderful. We watched baboons, vervet monkeys, crocodiles and elephants all from the lodge and on our last night, we even had a visit from the elephants who came very close to us which was so exciting. Each evening security walked us back to our room in the dark. Laundry was included in the lodge and as well as three meals a day, we had a pre-walk snack and afternoon snack each day. There were many little touches that made the stay so special, including them making a bonfire for us to sit by each evening, putting hot water bottles in our made bed and hot clean towels each time we arrived back from our activities. Johanne, our guide and waiter knew so much about the reserve and the trees, plants and animals. He could identify each animal footprint, each tree and each animal by its droppings. We saw at least one new animal each day which the guide always pointed out for us.

The only caveat we had was that according to my boyfriend who has been on multiple other safari holidays throughout Africa, there were not as many animals to see as there are in other places. He suggested a trained safari guide and driver would have been better. The hot water seemed to have run out by the last day. A little thing I had a problem with were the hidden costs. We were told alcohol was included except imported spirits but when I ordered a few cocktails, I was not told I’d be charged extra for them. Additionally on our last evening, we asked the manager if we could eat our dinner with our guide which he was happy to do, but did not tell us we would be paying for his meal too. We did not mind, we would have just liked to have known that before seeing the bill at the end.

Overall it was an unforgettable experience which I highly recommend.
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Date of stay: June 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Olive C wrote a review Jun 2023
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
The resort is so breath taking, it is a dream come true kind of moment when you’re there. The staff are so welcoming starting with the manager to everyone else there (not forgetting the reserve’s security guy too). The whole staff squad welcomes you with a glass of juice and sanitized towels when coming from every activity by the way😉. Everything is a 5 stars review from me. The food had this unique interesting flavor and was very delicious. The picnic by muta falls activity is an activity that shouldn’t be missed on your stay at Tongole.
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Date of stay: June 2023
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: Your stay at Tongole is worth every penny that is paid.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Tami M wrote a review Oct 2020
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We had a great time. It's such a tranquil place.we were welcomed by the staff with hot towels for our hands and a cool glass of rock Shandy . Our honeymoon experience was super, Tongole has the best chef who prepared meals according to our preference. To top that up the manager and tour guide were very friendly and experienced, we went canoeing and had our afternoon tea on the banks of the river Bua while we viewed elephants. And on our third night to celebrate with us they surprised us with a bottle of champagne.
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Date of stay: September 2020Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
raquel c wrote a review May 2021
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I spent two nights at Tongole in March and absolutely loved it! I was hesitant to go at first because, as it was the end of the rainy season, there were less chances to see animals. But I ended up making my way there and did not regret it at all! I did not get to see big animals then, but the beauty and tranquility of the place, together with the amazing service, definitely made up for it. All the staff, from security guards to waiters were fantastic, and the guides were incredibly knowledgeable and personable. I had such a great time that I had to go back again in May... and this time I saw elephants from the comfort of my bathtub!!! Needless to say, I am now planning my visit there in June!!!
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Date of stay: May 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kapi wrote a review Sept 2021
Lilongwe, Malawi
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Tongole Wilderness Retreat is a class above the rest. We had a memorable time there and we will go back soon.

The room was spacious with natural air-conditioning which for me is a huge plus. The food was excellent ly👌 done. The place offers a lot areas for relaxation and cooling off from normal hustle and bustle of everyday. This is a great place to unwind, relax and reboot your energy.

The activities the planned by the staff for visitors create a memorable experience for the visitors and the guides are so knowledgeable of the area, the animals and the history of the area. This offers a 360 view to everything. For one to have a full experience, the visit should be planned for more than one night! In short, Tongole Wilderness Retreat provide A-class service and great experience. Tongole is a class above the rest.
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Date of stay: September 2021Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Donncha wrote a review Oct 2023
Ireland
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nkhotakota is a place to escape to, a huge expanse of hilly woodland wilderness, and Tongole is a fine place to enjoy it. The staff are great, very eager to help and genuinely interested in their guests.

The terrain and dense woodlands don't make wildlife viewing easy, but we saw enough to know that the place is full of life. The highlights were the hides, where we saw sable and other antelopes, zebra, warthog and yellow baboons.

We spent a morning on foot and enjoyed it more than the driving, as we we were able to slowly appreciate the plants and animal tracks and stories from our guide, Danial. It's shady and the trees are not thorny, so it was enjoyable to walk the tracks created by elephants and hippos.

The lodge itself is a spectacular open-sided thatched building, and the rooms are huge - biggest mosquito net ever. Lots of steps and a stony path to the rooms, so probably not the best place for anyone unsteady on their feet. Shower good, and rooms have baths big enough for a football team.

Thanks to the whole team for making our stay so pleasant - Paul, Johanne, Danial, Kennedy, James, Precious, Matthias and Innocent.
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Date of stay: October 2023
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Elidas B wrote a review Sept 2021
5.0 of 5 bubbles
The experience at Tongole was amazing! The booking staff, the guide/office manager and all the hospitality staff were so helpful and welcoming. The rooms are absolutely gorgeous. The food was excellent!
You will definitely need to spend more than a night to take it all in- the 'roof' deck offers such a peaceful scenic view overlooking the river and forest. We unfortunately missed the elephants but spotted a few rare birds and crocs on the boat ride.
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Date of stay: September 2021Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Sepeedeh S wrote a review Jan 2021
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We spent time here as a family (2 adults, 2 children) in December. From the moment of arrival there was clearly something special about Tongole. It felt very peaceful, surrounded by birdsong and cicadas, and with beautiful views out over the river and across the rest of the park. The rooms were luxurious and there was plenty of space to sit and relax in the treehouse-style dining and lounge area. The pool was great, with seating all around. Activities included a trip out across the river and a walk in the national park. Guides Emanuel and Aaron were full of interesting information and Malawian stories about the bush, handed down through their family, which were lovely to hear. I would definitely recommend a stay here if possible. A Malawian highlight!
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Date of stay: December 2020
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dan M wrote a review Jun 2024
Louth, United Kingdom
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My 3rd trip to the lodge in just over 10 years and it just keeps getting better. Every minute here was excellent; the greeting and farewell from the staff - which even the tin man would find the heart-warming - to the sun soaked afternoons by the pool with seemingly unbothered wildlife in peaceful surrounds. The staff are extremely knowledgeable about the area and can identify every animal and plant in sight. The food is incredible too, Chef Paul and team do not miss! Any dietary requirement seems to be catered for without hesitation or fuss. I could (and do) talk about this place for infinite time but can’t explain the feeling of warmth and wander that it invokes.
Thank you Tongole! Goodbye, for now!
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Date of stay: June 2024Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Sarah wrote a review Apr 2021
London, United Kingdom
5.0 of 5 bubbles
The staff were absolutely amazing, they really looked after us, from the driver who picked us up, to everyone at Tongole. Emmanual was an amazing guide and had tons of knowledge. And we felt really safe on the Dingy activity, which had a beautiful sunset on the way back.

We loved the activities, although we did not see any animals (it's the end of rainy season) it was lovely to go out for a nice long walk, go on a sunset drive and also get to go across the river. We had a great time and really loved the different types of activities.

The facilitates were excellent, amazing place to eat, especially up on the deck with the view. Food was great and lots of it. Nice pool with lots of loungers, well looks after.

The room was probably the best we have stayed in Malawi. So well designed and comfortable with the biggest bath we have ever seen. Lots of hot water all of the time, and incredible views. Stunning! Very luxurious!!!
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Date of stay: April 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Answer from Monkey198723
London, United Kingdom37 contributions28 helpful votes
Good morning and thank you for your enquiry. Please may I ask you to send your email address so I can send it to the relevant team? Many thanks!
Matt S wrote a tip Jun 2024
10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Take bug spray. Flying in to the air strip is brilliant as opposed to driving up."
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Pam H wrote a tip Nov 2023
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom3 contributions1 helpful vote
4.0 of 5 bubbles
"Prepare to seriously chill out!"
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Scott G wrote a tip Nov 2023
Indonesia2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Bring comfortable walking shoes, take your malaria medicine, and bring binoculars."
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Happiness575328 wrote a tip Oct 2023
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Phone reception is not great & their WiFi is limited. But this is why it is perfect for a getaway. Airtel network is on & off. "
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Rosemary A wrote a tip Jul 2023
Bromsgrove, United Kingdom12 contributions2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Everything you want is provided. You might not see the animals"
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LOCATION
MalawiCentral RegionNkhotakota
NUMBER OF ROOMS
5
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TONGOLE WILDERNESS LODGE - Reviews (Nkhotakota, Malawi)

Frequently Asked Questions about Tongole Wilderness Lodge
What are some of the property amenities at Tongole Wilderness Lodge?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include a lounge, free parking, and airport transportation.
What food & drink options are available at Tongole Wilderness Lodge?
Guests can enjoy a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Tongole Wilderness Lodge?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Tongole Wilderness Lodge?
Yes, guests have access to a pool with a view during their stay.
Does Tongole Wilderness Lodge have airport transportation?
Yes, Tongole Wilderness Lodge offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Does Tongole Wilderness Lodge have any great views?
Yes, guests often enjoy the river view available here.