Reviews of Pumulani
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
We had 5 nights at Pumulani after 2 very active safari camps. The location is stunning and the facilities are top notch (no wifi). The lodge was very quiet during our stay, so the atmosphere was somewhat low-key, but that is not to detract from the helpfulness and friendliness of the Managers and Staff. Compared to safari camps, the pace of life at Pumulani is slower - but no early morning starts, and plenty of opportunity to laze on the beach or by the pool.
One of the highlights was snorkelling in Lake Malawi (no bilharzia). The visibility is very clear and the cichlid fish are brilliantly colourful. The other outing we enjoyed, was visiting the orphanage in the local village. This is run by Loyce, a most remarkable woman who, in addition to her own 2 children and her job at Pumulani, has taken 20 orphaned children under her care. We gained much insight into the lives of rural Malawians, and felt very humbled after our visit. Robin Poe Safaris offer a lot of support to the local community, and this is a huge help for the villagers.
There is not a lot of wildlife, but the birding is excellent.
The food and wine are 5 star, and the rooms offer privacy and comfort.
A fine place to wind down and have fun
This is a large property beautifully located in the national park.
Apart from Saturday, we had the place almost to ourselves, the kayaks and motorboat as well as other facilities were readily available. Guy is a good host and chef, very attentive and helpful, the staff cheerful and always ready to fulfil our wishes.
We particularly enjoyed talking to Louise who runs a small souvenir shop and produces craft work together with orphans.
Relaxing at Pumulani
Our second visit to Pumulani. Beautiful location, high above the lake, and excellent spacious accommodation with large bedroom and living area, plus views of the setting sun over the lake.
Staff are attentive, efficient and friendly. For us, the slight disappointment was the food which was not as good as on our last visit a year ago and not up to the standards we found at other locations on this trip. Hopefully, this was a temporary blip.
We enjoyed snorkelling, walking and kayaking.
Great lake setting and activities
We enjoyed our stay at Pumulani very much. The setting was fantastic and we doubt chalet 5 could be bettered for its excellent views.
The chalet itself was also extremely spacious and comfortable. The service was excellent and all our requests were promptly dealt with. The facilities were also first class and the dhow and trips on the lake were wonderful. We appreciated the chance to use the telescope with interesting information from Rob.
A very enjoyable experience.
Relaxing and active time at Pumulani
Superb setting for the lodge. Beautiful spacious accommodation, lovely view over the lake. Food really good, excellent barbeque lunch one day by the lake.
Excellent host (Jake, who was temporary manager while Alex and Karien were on leave) who went to great lengths to make sure all our activities were well organised, i.e. snorkelling, dhow lake trips, walks, including village visit, and kayaking. All great fun and extremely informative, especially the village visit, where we also visited the village school. Guides and all staff were excellent, really welcoming and friendly. Overall, excellent level of service.
Only comment would be the lack of clothes hanging space in our chalet: there was only space for four hangers in total, which really wasn't enough for our clothes for our three different locations. The design of the hanging space could not allow for more hangers, a bit irritating. But a minor point overall.
This lodge has the most incredible location, rooms and views! The flight in by light plane was brilliant, seeing the lodge from the air confirmed our high expectations, and set us up for a special few days of relaxation after our safari. Our welcome at the hotel was friendly and efficient - we were soon enjoying lunch and a drink on the terrace overlooking the lake. The food and service were brilliant for all of our stay. The rooms are huge and very comfortable. Overall we had a very good stay, didn't use the boating facilities except for the sunset cruises on the dhow. These were really good, with snacks and plenty of drinks provided.
There were some negatives. The wooden walkways that lead to the rooms and the beach were in an appalling state of repair, with loose boards and handrails, and many exposed nails. This included the decking around the pool - ok in daylight with care, but at night most of the walkway was not lit. A small torch was provided attached to the room key, but this wasn't really adequate given the state of the boards.
Our return flight to Lilongwe was a big disappointment. When we were advised that we would be joined by another couple and a large amount of luggage we were promised by Claire the manager that a bigger plane would be provided. Not so! The plane that arrived was the same Cherokee Six that had delivered us. At best this is a 4 plus 2 seater, including the pilot, which was why we were concerned over fitting in 5. It was impossible for my wife to move her legs at all during the fight, as the other couple were seated opposite her with their legs trapping hers.
A great hotel, good food and service and a fantastic location, which we did enjoy, but in the end we were not impressed with this part of our trip. On reflection we would have been more relaxed spending extra days at Tafika, in Zambia..
A great lodge with fabulous food
The Lodge was great. The food was faultless. The service was ok.
The Relief Manager was weak. It is usually going to be a negative when the Full Time Manager isn't there.
Such a treat despite the slightly dissapointing weather. Rooms were so well maintained and luxurious. The staff were willing to fit anything into your time table which was great.
The casual nature of the beach facilities was fantastic and made such a change! We had a great few days here kayaking, cycling and walking. The efforts of the hotel to improve the lives of local people was appreciated, as was selling the beautiful products by Lois in the shop.
The food wasnt amazing but the location of the resort was phenomenal. Take me back!
Pumulani perfect for winding down
We chose to start our safari at Pumulani and this worked very well, we were soon in holiday mode. The highlight for us were the charming staff, they are quite simply exceptional and led by Mara, Chris and Emma, and ably supported by Michael, Lois, Luckio, Glen, Nicolas and Joseph. They all went out of their way to make sure that our stay was something special. The villas are exceptional, luxurious, stylish and comfortable, and the views of the wonderful Lake Malawi from our villa (number six) were breathtaking. However, we did notice that some villas were more concealed in the forest and had a somewhat impaired view of the lake and this is worth considering when you are booking.
We relaxed by the pool, on the beach, in the lodge and on our balcony, and enjoyed the delicious and varied food. A great strength is the variety of activities on offer. We very much enjoyed the village walk with Luckio and would highly recommend it, we felt welcome, that we were not interfering and in no way was the visit staged or artificial. Likewise, the nature walk with Glen and kayaking back, snorkelling with the cichlids and spotting the otters were highlights. The sunset outings on the beautiful Dhow are also highly to be recommended. Finally, the incredible stargazer telescope gave us wonderful views of Saturn.
During our trip in Malawi and Zambia some people we spoke to were concerned that visiting Lake Malawi was really only for serious watersport fans. So in case you are put off Pumulani because of this dont be, we are not divers or waterskiers, and as Expert Africa told us when we booked, there is so much more to do and see at Pumulani. Our only concern was that the lodge was very quiet when we were there, with only 2 villas occupied by guests and for a couple of days by an RPS film crew. This was by no means a problem for us, but we felt that the word needs to get out that both Pumulani and Lake Malawi are a wonderful destination and we cannot recommend it highly enough.
Sadly the unseasonal bad weather did not allow us to enjoy this camp to the full, but the welcome from all the staff and above all from Luke and Bettina helped to make up for what we were missing.
The village visit was a memorable experience, being a real village, not one set up for tourists and the dhow trip was lovely, even with extreme winds!
The accommodation in the spacious and well equipped bungalows was outstanding