Reviews of Tongole Wilderness Lodge
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Tongole Magic River Lodge
Tongole Lodge is both an uplifting story and a worry. The wild life park has been fenced leaving Tongole Lodge outside the park. The animals have been moved into the park thus there should be few four footed animals to see. The birds of course fly over the fence. The water for the park is via the Bua river which when we were there had ceased to flow and was just a few water holes. With 3 months before the rains we wondered what the animals would do for water when the holes dry. Tongole always has a length of the river flowing past the lodge since the river is fed by a series of springs which have never been know to dry up. If the park elephants get too thirsty they may well knock the fence down despite the 7000 volts on it. We were not allowed into the park, a third of which had been burnt [by poachers it is thought], since there were few roads and the animals needed time to settle in after the move. A lot had come from the Shire river area. We had no particular desire to go into the park to see more elephants and the tsetse flies were everywhere.
Tongole Lodge was a fantastic few days which we spent mostly canoeing up and down the river watching birds. My highlight was the Fish Eagle which flew from a tree and snatched a large catfish out of the river in front of us. Our host and guide Emmanuel was a fund of knowledge on all the flora and forna though his speciality was birds. Birds were varied and plentiful.
The lodge cook was a genius and each meal perfectly cooked. The accommodation was up to the best safari lodge standard.
The service was embarrassingly good, made more so in that we were the only tourist there for three of our days. What a pity that the lodge did not have more guests though I suggest that this lodge is not for those who want to watch big game since there is little to see. We did see monkeys, two elephants, bush buck and crocodiles.
Expert Africa comments
There seems to be some confusion with regards to the recent wildlife translocation into Nkhotakota and the fenced sanctuary. Tongole Wilderness Lodge is located in the centre of the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve and has not been fenced outside it. Just to clarify, African Parks took responsibility for the management of the reserve in August 2015 and in July and August 2016 they commenced the first phase of one of the largest elephant translocations ever.
These animals have initially been released into a 19,000 hectare fenced sanctuary to ensure their safety and well-being. Approximately 250 more elephants will be introduced in 2017.
Due to the vast size of the reserve, its not feasible to fence it initially, which will be the plan sometime in the future. So African Parks are doing this in phases, extending the boundaries of the sanctuary each time, with the second phase already underway.
Tongole Wilderness Lodge review
Donna and Stephen were excellent managers and Emmanuel was a really good guide.
Donna must have really enjoyed our company as she came on all the excursions including 2 boat trips, which apparently is unheard of. Even though it was not Ann's birthday until later in the week, she arranged a local small band and a separate group of dancers.
We were told this was only the 4th time in 2 years this has been done. The staff really enjoyed it. as did we and it made for a special stay.
The food and accommodation were excellent and hot water bottles were provided for the cold nights.
The birds were good, particularly on the dinghy trips on the River Bua. We did not see any elephants or large antelopes, but we were right in the middle of the trans location from Liwonde and many animals were fenced into compounds until they settle in..
Love Tongole, my favourite place. Facilities, food, staff, wildlife all great.
A new swimming pool to enjoy in completely relaxed surroundings.
A treat at Tongole
As we stepped out of our vehicle and shook hands with our welcoming hosts, we just knew we were in a very special place and that's before we met with the local elephants - the icing on the cake!
It became clear we had a natural connection with the staff. We embrassed their relaxed but competent manner. Their knowledge of nature, their surroundings & their ambiance with people was very appealing.
Tongoli was to be the 'treat' on our adventure around Malawi - and what a treat. With our luxury lodge housing a large comfortable bed - like camping in real style.
Enjoying a soak in the massive bath while a crocodile basks on a mud bank down at the river - don't get that every day! Dined by lantern light on the terrace. Menu choice amazing for the remote location. Varied locations for sundowners - so relaxing.
Beautiful, peaceful, great for relaxing
We had a wonderful time here. The lodge and accommodation were beautiful and very comfortable. The service was very helpful, personalized and friendly. The food was excellent and personal preferences were responded to. We had a great time just relaxing, enjoying the scenery and lodge, watching the birds, reading. We very much enjoyed the walks, the climb up the local hill and the game walks/drives with sundowners in beautiful spots at the end.
Donna and Steve were fantastic hosts
Thank you to everyone for a great start to our Malawi holiday.