Mkulumadzi Lodge

Reviews of Mkulumadzi Lodge

Excellent(94%) From 23 travellers
Excellent
16
Good
7
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Below are independent comments from 23 of our travellers who have visited Mkulumadzi Lodge, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
N & J Lancs from UK
Arrived on: 19-Jul-2019 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Good
Good

Mkulumadzi Lodge review

Great views again from main terrace and room no 1
Good guiding from Mali
Food the best of all the 20+ lodges we have been to in Africa & some of the others very good
Service at meal times also very good

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Carol M from Illinois
Arrived on: 22-Nov-2018 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Close Encounters with the Nyala at Mkulumadzi

I wanted to visit Mkulumadzi because of its location in the Majete Wildlife Reserve and the chance I’d be given there to encounter not only the stately Nyala but the entire Big Five as well. Of the latter, only an occasional Elephant showed up, but Nyalas were absolutely everywhere and they are indeed spectacular. Best of all, they roam freely in and out the camp and it was thrilling to be able to study them on such an “up close and personal” basis.

Mkulumadzi Camp is a beguiling property in a fairytale setting, and both the main reception/dining area and the "bush chalets" are classy, well-equipped and comfortable. Given all the right circumstances, this would be a dream-come-true camp.

Certainly the food is out of this world. One day we had a salad so delicious that I absolutely had to know its secrets, and Chef Thomas willingly obliged. As for my guides, both Michael and Mali were outstanding.

However, during my four days at Mkulumadzi the regular camp managers were away on leave, and several of the staff members seemed to be new on the job and unsure of their responsibilities. The situation gradually improved, but mealtime was particularly problematic for a person dining alone.

To further complicate matters, periodic – and at times torrential – rains made navigating the paths through the camp’s sloping terrain a definite challenge and obviously necessitated the cancellation of all boating activities. Moreover, much to my dismay, the roof over my bed leaked. A final disconcerting development was the arrival of a Bushbaby – and perhaps more than one – whose exact location in the rafters of my chalet was often unascertainable. (She – or they – stayed with me for two days.)

On a happier note, I thoroughly enjoyed hiking across the famous footbridge (suspended high above the Mkulumadzi River) every time we went out on a game drive and again when returning to camp.

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Ms A & Mr M from Lagos
Arrived on: 17-Aug-2018 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Stunning Location with wonderful hosts..

We loved Mkulumadzi from the moment we arrived. The warm welcome that we received continued throughout our stay which for us was faultless.

The location, the refreshing pool, the unique rope bridge giving access to the camp, the spacious and well equipped rooms with stunning river views were all very special, however what made our stay so memorable were the excellent managers Dave & Tammy and their staff.

Dave & Tammy are superb hosts & any lodge would be fortunate to have them. They have a genuine love of their job, their guest experience, the environment, and are extremely professional and hospitable without being overbearing. Nothing is too much trouble for them and if they can accommodate a request then they will. Their guidance and encouragement amongst their staff is also clear to see with their smiling faces. Personally I would like to see staff wearing name tags especially if you are there for a few days as it is easy to forget staff names.

For the last two nights of our stay we were joined by a group of fourteen which could potentially have changed the dynamic of the experience, however Dave and Tammy managed all the guests with courtesy and exceptionally well and we all enjoyed each others company whilst respecting each others space and privacy. Mkulumadzi has a very laid back and comfortable feel which we loved. The camaraderie with other guests and evenings and conversation around the campfire were wonderful.

We were extremely well fed at Mkulumadzi - the chef Thomas does a superb job of managing requests and food given the presumed difficult of obtaining supplies. Rooms were equipped with a fridge with basic supplies, there was no kettle in the room but the kitchen were happy to provide a flask of hot water for tea and coffee. The bed also had a unique and effective air conditioning system within the mosquito net. We had never seen this before and have to say that it worked extremely well.

Before we travelled we were aware of the situation with the amount and visibility of big game and since we have seen big wildlife elsewhere this was not a priority for us, however those visiting to see the "Big 5" maybe disappointed without correct research.

We simply enjoyed being out in such a wonderful environment and seeing the wildlife especially along the river and some wonderful birdlife. Game drives were morning (6.00am) and afternoon/evening (3.00-3.30pm) with the option of river trips as well. We especially enjoyed the river trips as they were something that we had not done previously and enjoying sundowners on the river was very special. We were fortunate to see a Pel's Fishing Owl which created great excitement amongst the avid birders on the boat - many thanks to Dave's efforts & guidance for that experience!

There were two main guides who were very enthusiastic and tried very hard to give guests a wonderful experience despite not being to always show the larger wildlife. We thoroughly enjoyed the company and discussions with Mali & Dali and they gave us a different experience to other drives that we have been on elsewhere. Their enthusiasm is wonderful to see. It is my understanding that African Parks do track larger wildlife but that their location is not shared with the lodge therefore making tracking and sightings difficult.

I will say however that at the moment the lodge seems to have only the two guides and guiding vehicles which quite honestly I do not feel is sufficient especially when close to or at full capacity. During our stay when the large group arrived Dave borrowed a vehicle from African Parks and guided himself which although great with his experience should not be relied upon, however it is to his credit that he borrowed another vehicle to enhance guest experience rather than have everybody squashed together.

We very much liked the fact that excluding tips the lodge was all inclusive, therefore you are not worrying about carrying money or how to pay or what activities to choose to maximise your experience. We gave guide tips separately but otherwise left an envelope to be shared with the remaining lodge staff who apparently have an elected committee who open and distribute tips accordingly.

We had nothing but a positive experience at Mkulumadzi and wish them continued success. There are so many wonderful lodges and experiences to be enjoyed in Africa, but we would not hesitate to return to Mkulumadzi if the opportunity arose.

We most definitely felt like we left as friends... Our thanks to all for a truly special and memorable stay.




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Peter & Helenka from UK
Arrived on: 11-Jul-2018 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Wonderful start to holiday

This is a fantastic location in a well established lodge which is well organised. The game drives we're very good with a very well informed guide.

We saw a lot of wild life the scenery is stunning and the whole stay here could not be faulted.

The lodge managers were the perfect host and hostess forever attending to our needs without being asked

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The Sand Martins from Oxon
Arrived on: 2-Jul-2018 Stayed for: 5 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Good
Good
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Average
Average

Mkulumadzi Lodge review

Access to the Lodge is by a rope bridge over the Mkulumadzi river, somewhat challenging at first (we arrived after sunset), but one gets used to it. The Lodge operates more like a hotel, in comparison to the other safari camps we have visited. Guests have the freedom to choose when to take lunch and dinner, but this restricts the opportunities to socialise with other guests.

The food (lunch and dinner) at Mkulumadzi was exceptionally good. Breakfast was ok, but we missed the porridge and toast around the campfire.

The chalets are spacious and functional, but the concrete construction has little character. Each chalet has a decking overlooking the Shire river, and we enjoyed watching the birds and animals from there.

The miombo woodland of the Majete National Park is very dense. Although we saw a large number of antelopes, including sable, hartebeest and nyala, it is not ideal for keen wildlife photographers. Majete National Park advertises "come and see the Big Five", but this is unrealistic. The few lions and leopards are extremely difficult to spot in the extensive thicket, and the few black rhinos are totally protected away from guests,

When we were there for 5 nights, there were only 2 safari vehicles and 2 guides for potentially 20 guests. Fortunately, the Lodge was far from full (except on our last afternoon), and the camp manager (Dave) made a big effort to accommodate the wishes of the guests with the resources available to him. Dave and Tammy made us very welcome, and we enjoyed wide-ranging discussions with them around the camp fire after dinner.

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Mr L from Bristol
Arrived on: 15-Sep-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Mkulumadzi Lodge review

I found Mkulumadzi a bit of a conundrum. I had a very good time there and the activities were good.

I thought the design of the chalets , although luxurious and comfortable ( particularly the ingenious in-mosquito net air-conditioning ) and very modern, was all a bit at odds with the ethos of a safari lodge. In particular the massive concrete construction of the chalets which didn't really blend in with the surroundings. This is of course just my opinion. I did find the swimming pool very refreshing as it was particularly hot during my stay.

another noteworthy feature is the "rope bridge" which is the only access to the camp. It is undoubtedly spectacular , and a very different way of entering and leaving , but gets a bit tedious when used several times a day, particularly in the dark with limited lighting. Also if several people use it together it tends to sway and undulate. I find it remarkable how all the supplies for the camp , regardless of size ( as I saw ) are carried across this bridge, so hats off to all the staff !

The activities were good , with very good game drives. There are very few predators , so I was not expecting to see any. There were excellent sightings of Elephant, and many antelope. Some magnificent Kudu, also sable and Nyala and many waterbuck. We also had an excellent sighting of a magnificent Crowned eagle which are not often seen.

There are waterholes scattered in the Majete reserve, one with a very good hide which gave good views of many animals , particularly elephants coming down to drink in intensely hot weather.
We had a very interesting boat safari on The Shire river , seeing many waterbirds and mammals of all kinds on the riverbank. One factor in planning these boat trips is the river level which tends to fluctuate depending on the activity of the nearby hydro electric dam. We did get briefly marooned when the water level dropped , but got back safely! The guides Mustafa and Mali were truly excellent and each had an engaging sense of humour to match their other skills.

Majete reserve is not the easiest to navigate in view of the numerous gullies and small hills , and the tracks are quite rough and stony in places , which necessitates good driving skills. The bush is dense and mostly comprised of small trees, and even in the dry season with most trees devoid of leaves , calls for skilful guiding. Unfortunately we saw no Rhinos, but these animals are very elusive and hide in the dense bush.

The food was very good , although not to quite the same standard as I had had in the South Luangwa. The managers David and Tandy were friendly and professional, and helped make my stay very pleasant.

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Mr H from Isle of Man
Arrived on: 11-Sep-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Good
Good
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Spectacularly located Mkulumadzi

The location is amazing and the rooms take full advantage of this.

The National Park has done well to re-populate the park so quickly, although the elephants are less than happy which makes for uneasy encounters.

The waterholes created as a focus for wildlife, with hides for use by travellers, meant we got to see large numbers of different plains game and antelope which might otherwise have been elusive.

The nyalas were particularly special.

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Ms S & Mr K from USA
Arrived on: 29-May-2017 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Good
Good
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Great staff and service

What makes a place special to us is the staff and camaraderie with other guests. We had both at Mkulumadzi.

The rooms were huge and setting overlooking the river was gorgeous. Loved the sundowner boat ride.

Dave you're the best!

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Mr B from Hertfordshire
Arrived on: 19-Dec-2016 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Good but no game!

We were aware this lodge was accessed via a rope/steel footbridge over the river. What we did not realise that this was to be used daily every time we went on a game drive. It's a tad unnerving and not, in my opinion, suitable for young children or the elderly who might be infirmed as it does tend to swing sideways when several people are crossing.

The stone built chalets with thatched roof are well appointed, spacious and comfortable with hot water available at all times but you might have to wait some 10 minutes or more for the shower to run from cold to hot. There is a mini fridge stocked with beers and soft drinks but no tea making facilities (ie. no kettle) but the staff will bring a hot thermos to the door so you can make tea or coffee which are provided. Food was very good, no bush food served, and the 'full English' breakfast following the early morning game drive was most appreciated. The chalet viewing deck could do with some TLC - there were rusty nail and screw heads protruding through some fairly uneven boards which could easily rip your feet.

The downside was there was virtually no game to view. In the 4 days apart from plenty of antelope species and many birds we saw the back end of 4 Zebra and a glimpse of 5 elephants. Appreciate it may have been the rainy season but the area is very large and although there is supposed to be 500 elephants, 17 rhino, Leopard, and one lion pride (no cheetah or giraffe) the land is mostly dense thicket so the chances are actually seeing any game is fairly slim since they 'disappear' very quickly.

The staff were very attentive and welcoming and no effort spared to ensure our stay was enjoyable and despite the lack of game the guides were very enthusiastic.

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Expert Africa comments

Mkulumadzi Lodge thanked these guests for their feedback. They advised that they are replacing the decks and substructure with metal instead of wood to avoid uneven boards and protruding screws in the future.

Dr D from Salisbury
Arrived on: 12-Sep-2016 Stayed for: 3 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

High style and dramatic location above river

Mkulumadzi was voted the family favourite, or rather first amongst equals, of all our lodges.

The lodge is fantastically stylish and clearly a work of great innovation and drive. The main buildings are beautiful and full of art, with amazing views across the rocky river Shire and the rapids upstream. The approach across the long, pedestrian suspension bridge over the Mukulumadzi river is a dramatic, Indiana Jones entry to the lodge and nothing disappoints on arrival.

The rooms were huge and beautifully appointed with very effective in-mostiquito net air conditioning and great views over the river. The pool was the best of all the lodges - a perfect place to watch the wildlife with a gin and tonic. The staff were friendly and charming and the guiding top-class - Eric our guide, Mani the apprentice and Edo our ranger were great company and we had some adventurous guiding and exciting encounters with wildlife.

The Majete is a great success story in restocking a once barren game reserve; the bush is much thicker than the South Luangwa, so game is glimpsed often, but this gave a different not diminished experience.

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