Reviews of Pumulani
Wildlife sightings and reviews
24 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Pumulani and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
As lovely as the private villas are, we feel they are very overdue a bit of a facelift, the accommodation is looking tired, sliding doors were virtually impossible to open, bathroom door very difficult to close." See all these reviews: 7n in Zambia; 3n in Malawi
"Pumulani -- The Next Best Thing to Paradise "
The villa was comprised of a long entryway leading to a kitchen area (complete with well-stocked fridge) and then to a huge and amply furnished living room. A comfortable writing desk was one of my favorite features in the bedroom, but the absolute best one was the air-conditioning provided there. (Late November can be very hot in Malawi, and the AC was a much appreciated surprise.) The bathroom had all the expected trimmings plus the lake views. And doors from both the living room and the bedroom opened onto enormous balconies.
Most of the time I stayed at Pumulani I was the only guest in residence. I could wander the property at leisure, swim in the two beautiful pools, descend the 140+ stairs leading to the beach and even have lunch there. All of the meals prepared at the lodge were exceptional, but they tasted even better at the beach.
With Ganizan and Black, both of whom are expert guides, I had the opportunity to explore the colorful shoreline by boat on four separate occasions, each time discovering something new and interesting about the lives of the fishermen who live and work in the area. Feeding and photographing the Fish Eagles close up further enhanced my Lake Malawi experience, as did a birding walk around the Pumulani grounds.
I was told that in the Chichewa language Pumulani means "rest well," and I can’t imagine a more appropriate name for this enchanting establishment." See all these reviews: 11n in Zimbabwe; 10n in Zambia; 7n in Malawi
The snorkling gear and the bikes were in very poor condition (already rated in the lodge). Top bikes and focus on mountain biking could improve the location.
Swimming in the lake was somewhat disappointing. I expected crystal clear water, but it was murky at the beach.
Manager made everything possible.
I think it is over the top." See all these reviews: 9n in Zambia; 4n in Malawi
Dinghy sailing and kayaking were fun and we especially enjoyed the evening cruises on the dhow for sundowners. There was no wind so we used the engine rather than sails but it was switched off as the sun set so we could enjoy the peace of the lake over a G&T, drifting quietly as we watched hippos and the local fishermen.
The rooms are set on a hillside and lunch is often served on the beach - which could be an issue for the less mobile - but a recently acquired buggy will help here." See all these reviews: 9n in Malawi; 4n in Zambia; 3n in Botswana; 1n in South Africa
"Fantastic rooms and food"
Highlight was visiting Loyce's orphanage and meeting her 22 children. She also works at Pumulani.
The rooms were huge and the views spectacular. Highly recommend for an end of a trip stay." See all these reviews: 6n in Malawi; 5n in Botswana; 5n in Zambia
"Beautiful location, very relaxing"
The room and service was excellent. We enjoyed a number of sundowner trips on the dhow, the snorkeling with the fish trip and the early morning walk through the bush and kayak back but generally laid on the beach relaxing. As it was quite late in the season the lake level was low which meant that the beach was quite muddy at the water line and swimming in the lake was not really an option. The pool is lovely but quite small so could be a little busy.
The warning about the number of steps was really important, not a problem for us, in fact quite useful exercise, but could be a problem for others.
Best not to rely on the internet access, it was down a lot of the time due to power cuts and when it was working was very slow. However that is a minor gripe.
We spent 7 nights there which was really a bit long, 4 would be ideal" See all these reviews: 6n in Zambia; 6n in Malawi
"Excellent but not as advertised"
The brick built chalet was painted green unlike the main building which was cream. Our chalet walls became roasting hot during the day and the chalet was an oven which the single air conditioning unit had little effect upon. The main building walls were much cooler than ours. One could not leave any windows open since there were no grills/mesh/nets to keep the monkeys and insects out. There was little in roof overhang thus the sun poured into the rooms. One wall had windows pointing to the rising sun thus the chalets warmed quickly in the mornings. The expedient of adding shutters was an obvious addition the chalet needed to these windows. The balconies [two!] offered fantastic views and a nice 15 foot drop onto rocks below which the single piece of tree branch nailed to questionable uprights seemed little safety. The balconies were potential death traps and our chalet was not suitable for a "family" I guess. Things were different a few years ago.
What to do at Pumulani now that the lake has dropped is serious question. Swimming off the "beach" is a No No since the waters edge is thick mud into which one sinks to the knees. Worse still is the fact that the beach is very flat and one has to wade many meters out before one can then float through the weed. Not a pleasant experience. We did struggle out to the advertised swimming platform which was covered with bird droppings and unusable. There is a small sandy area 5 minutes walk from the beach where one can get into the warm lake water and swim among the weed which the lodge management seem to know little about. There was a much better beach 45 minutes walk or canoe paddle from the lodge where the swimming was quite good. Pity that the management had not thought to arrange free boats to this area since their beach was not for swimming. We took a ride to an island to snortle with the fishes which was good if expensive. I used the Lodge's sailing boats which were for the competent sailor I would suggest, and were in a bad condition and poorly maintained. We went for a scramble up the hill behind the Lodge. Two and a half hours later we considered the scramble was a bad description and should have been described as a "serious" walk for a rambler and impossible on a hot day. Our day was cloudy and low twenties centigrade. This brings up another issue with the Lodge.
The management seemed to know little of what was on offer for the visitors. They did not know about the beaches, we doubted that they had been on the walks, doubtful that they had used the sailboats and obviously had little idea about the chalets. I did suggest to the under manager that she should stay in a chalet to experience the pros and cons.
But before one thinks this is just a moan this lodge has mains electricity to each chalet [and backup generator] , air conditioning, kettle and fridge and air conditioning. Good food at the restaurant and a practical swimming pool. We had dinner on the beach one night. The service was second to none all our stay and the laundry service was free and same day returned.
The management admitted that there were things to be done like getting an engine for their second boat. The engine had been "bought" a year ago and delivery was the "problem". Malawi is very poor and life is very very Africa !
Pumulani is a great place to relax and unwind but hardly a lake beach holiday." See all these reviews: 13n in Malawi
"Perfect wind-down from bush safari"
The beach is beautifully maintained and well equipped with a beach bar serving cocktails as the sun goes down over Lake Malawi. The rooms are huge and well appointed - more apartments than rooms, in fact.
The main lodge facilities at the top are very stylish and arty and again, staff and food were exemplary." See all these reviews: 6n in Zambia; 5n in Malawi
Holiday styles & special interests in Malawi
From birdwatching breaks to walking holidays, find great ideas for your trip in Malawi.
Other lodges in Shore of Lake Malawi
Alternative places to stay in this same area.