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Bumi Hills Safari Lodge
Bumi Hills Safari Lodge
Bumi Hills Safari Lodge
Bumi Hills Safari Lodge
Bumi Hills Safari Lodge
Bumi Hills Safari Lodge
Bumi Hills Safari Lodge
Bumi Hills Safari Lodge

Bumi Hills Safari Lodge


16°48’31.5"S 28°20’55.0"E

Bumi Hills Safari Lodge: Our full report

Set on top of a high hill with views that stretch out across the Zambezi Escarpment in one direction and ...

... the vast expanse of Lake Kariba in the other, Bumi Hills Safari Lodge has been around, in one form or another, for many years. Extensive renovations in 2009 and a more recent refurbishment in early 2018 means that the lodge now provides probably the most luxurious and relaxing location on the Zimbabwean side of Lake Kariba.

The lodge sits within its own private game area, which extends below the lodge and includes a long stretch of lakeshore, close to Matusadona National Park.

Spread out along the hillside, the 10 suites are semi-open plan, with a low partition wall separating the en-suite from the bedroom. Don’t worry, though: there are curtains that can be drawn for those who like a little more privacy when bathing or showering, and the toilet is in a separate cubicle. There is also a second, outside shower, with lake views but still quite private.

As well as king-size or twin beds curtained by a mosquito net, the bedrooms boast a sofa and a writing desk. Sliding doors open up onto a private covered veranda, with a couple of chairs from which to soak in the views. Neutral tones blended with plenty of natural wood create a clean, modern feel and – unusually for a lodge in Zimbabwe – Bumi Hills also has air conditioning.

Ideal for families or couples travelling together is the relatively new two-bedroom Baobab Villa, which comes with a private butler, safari guide and vehicle. The villa was occupied during our visit in October 2018 so we couldn’t look round, but we understand that it is self-contained and has its own private bar, living room and both indoor and outdoor dining areas.

Not surprisingly, the communal area at Bumi Hills is built to make the most of the views across Lake Kariba. The buildings form a U-shape around a spectacular infinity pool fringed by sunloungers, daybeds, palm trees and flowers. Watch out for the vervet monkeys here, though – they have kleptomaniac tendencies!

A real highlight at Bumi is lingering over meals on the deck overlooking the lake, but the inside dining area, which forms one side of the ‘U’ is well set up for the weather with both air conditioning and a fire.

To the other side is a curio shop, a small gym and a spa room (treatments at extra cost).

Set back from the view is a large indoor lounge with WiFi, and an adjacent games room with a dartboard, TV and full-size antique slate snooker table that is so heavy that it had to remain in place during the extensive refurbishments in 2009!

Step down from the pool and dining deck and you’ll come to a firepit, the perfect spot for watching the kapenta fishing boats bobbing around on the lake at night, lit up like fireflies. Another decking area features both a wood-fired pizza oven where lunch is occasionally served, and a monkey-proof, self-service bar – although during our visit the staff were always more than happy to help.

While the Matusadona area isn’t as famous for wildlife as some other areas of Zimbabwe and its game densities are not as high, Bumi Hills offers a range of wildlife-watching activities. Do note, however, that their land-based activities, which include game drives and walks conducted by professional guides, do not enter the park, but rather stay on Bumi’s private game area. Our game-drive sightings were few and far between, but we did spot a lone lioness and saw plenty of the area’s renowned elephant population.

More flexible, and by far the better option, are water activities on Lake Kariba. Game viewing and birdwatching by boat can be enjoyed off the private game area, or off the shores of Matusadona National Park, and late afternoon sundowner cruises afford a spectacular photographic opportunity.
Despite limited experience, we had a really good afternoon fishing with a professional guide, and were even lucky enough to try our catch as an appetizer for dinner.

No matter the activity you choose, we found the team here very flexible and accommodating, further enhancing the relaxed atmosphere of the lodge.


Our view

One of the more solid and substantial safari lodges in Zimbabwe, Bumi Hills feels more smart hotel than bushcamp: perhaps it’s the stone construction and air conditioning that serves as something as a barrier between guests and the bush. Yet it’s difficult not to be lured in by the views of Lake Kariba, the superb pool and the opportunity to explore the lake by boat, all of which make it very appealing just to relax and enjoy the lake. As such we’d recommend Bumi as a place to break up a safari or perhaps as a place to recover from, or prepare for, a long-haul flight – although with a range of flexible activities, it won't feel at all out of place in a safari itinerary.

Tom Morris

Tom Morris

Country manager: Zimbabwe

Geographics

Location
Matusadona National Park, Zimbabwe
Ideal length of stay
We'd recommend Bumi Hills for at least a couple of nights although three would be better. It's a fantastic place to relax and unwind, either at the beginning or the end of a safari.
Directions
Bumi Hills has its own airstrip making it easily accessible by air from Kariba, Victoria Falls, Mana Pools and Harare.
Accessible by
Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
As you might expect from a luxurious lodge, the food at Bumi Hills was excellent on our last visit, in October 2018. We understand that with advanced notice most dietary requirements can be catered for.

Breakfast takes the ubiquitous form of a buffet of muffins, bread, cereals, fruit, yoghurt and juice, with sausage, bacon, omelettes and other egg dishes cooked to order.

Lunch is usually different each day. We had the choice of a hearty chicken salad, a selection of toasted sandwiches served with French fries and green salad, or creamed spinach pasta. These may sound small, but a light lunch was most welcome in the heat of the day and was more than sufficient.

On our first night all the guests were treated to a special dinner – we wouldn’t want to ruin any surprise, but suffice to say it was a wonderful evening. On our second night we enjoyed a grilled halloumi salad to start. This was followed by a novel pick-your-own stir-fry buffet where we chose the ingredients to be cooked in front of us. This was certainly a fresh take on safari food but it did result in a fairly long queue and a slightly disjointed meal, so perhaps needs some fine tuning. Bringing us back together to round off the meal was a delightful lemon cheesecake.
Dining style
Individual Tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
Available on Request
Drinks included
Included except for premium wines and spirits.

Water is pumped from the lake and treated before use at the lodge, so is considered safe to drink.

Special interests

Honeymoons
The view, the spa, the food and zipping across the lake waters for sundowners make Bumi Hills Safari Lodge an unforgettable stop with a splash of luxury on your Zimbabwean Honeymoon.
See ideas for Honeymoons in Zimbabwe
Wellbeing
Built atop a hill with picturesque views of Lake Kariba, Bumi Hills Safari Lodge boasts an impressive infinity pool, gym and spa. It’s a great place to slow down, relax and indulge yourself on a Zimbabwe safari.
See ideas for Wellbeing in Zimbabwe
Private villas & houses
The Baobab Villa at Bumi Hills is a 2-bedroom private villa, complete with its own living room, bar and indoor and outdoor dining decks. This is a perfect option for those wanting some privacy on their Zimbabwean safari.
See ideas for Private villas & houses in Zimbabwe
Luxury
Huge rooms, plenty of private space, an impressive infinity pool, spectacular views, a gym and a spa make Bumi Hills Safari Lodge fantastic option if you're looking for a bit off luxury in Zimbabwe.
See ideas for Luxury in Zimbabwe

Children

Attitude towards children
Bumi Hills Safari Lodge welcomes children of all ages.
Property’s age restrictions
None
Special activities & services
African Bush Camps offer a kids’ club with nannies and special activities for younger children. NB The “nannies” may not be trained childcare professionals but rather staff members with experience of their own children.
Equipment
Highchairs, cots and additional beds can be provided for younger children on request. The villa is a perfect choice with flexible activities and a dedicated team throughout your stay. Alternatively, suites 1 and 2 have an interleading door.
Generally recommended for children
While the villa would be a great option for families, the main lodge has a distinctly adult feel and we do not recommend it for younger children.
Notes
There are numerous drop offs and an unfenced, unguarded pool, so children should be supervised by their parents at all times.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Bumi Hills Safari Lodge

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.

Buffalo

100% success

Elephant

100% success

Hippo

100% success

Lion

100% success

Zebra

100% success

Aardvark

0% success

Black Rhino

0% success

Eland

0% success

Giraffe

0% success

Leopard

0% success

Roan antelope

0% success

Spotted Hyena

0% success

Wild dog

0% success

Wildebeest

0% success

Communications

Power supply notes
220 volt electricity is available by generator 24 hours a day.There is a back-up generator.
Communications
Bumi is solar powered during the day with a generator providing additional power at peak times and in the evenings. Batteries can thus be charged in your suites day and night.
TV & radio
There is a TV in the main area.
Water supply
Other
Water supply notes
Water is pumped from the lake and treated before use at the lodge, so is considered safe to drink.

All the rooms have flush toilets and hot and cold running water.

Sustainability

Bumi Hills Safari Lodge sustainability

Actively fighting against elephant poaching

Located in a game-rich area along the largest man-made lake, Bumi Hills Safari Lodge allows guests to sustainably enjoy the sights of elephants, hippos and many other animals in their natural habitat. Conscious about the dangers of human-wildlife conflict in the region, the lodge’s positive impact can be mostly seen in its anti-poaching objective.

With elephant numbers down 75% in the area as a result of poaching, in 2009 the lodge has established the Bumi Hills Anti-Poaching Unit with a clear motto: Rehabilitate – Protect – Preserve. Using a mix of collaboration, knowledge and technology, anti-poaching land patrols cover on average 2,100km every month. They look for and regulate any sign of illegal activities such as commercial snaring, subsistence hunting and prohibited harvesting of timber. One example of the foundation’s contribution is Ben the elephant, a victim of a failed poaching attempt. The staff at Bumi Hills arranged for a wildlife veterinarian to fly in and fitted Ben with a VHF tracking collar to monitor him closely during the follow up treatment phase. Guests can too help the Bumi Hill anti-poaching foundation accomplish its mission. Working with the experienced guides, tourists can safely help them spot snares and other signs of poacher activities.

The foundation has been successful in substantially reducing the number of poached elephants, allowing the species to recover. Numbers stand proof for this. 17,231 recorded wire snares have been removed since 2009 and 166 elephant carcasses have been investigated since 2013.

See more great sustainability projects in Zimbabwe

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
There is a first-aid kit at the lodge and some of the staff are trained in first aid. The nearest doctor is in Kariba, which is 20 minutes away by air.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
Security guards patrol the property 24 hours a day, primarily to keep an eye out for wildlife.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers outside each suite and in the main areas.

Activities

  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Boat trip

    Boat trip

  • Fishing

    Fishing

  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

Extras

Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
Bumi Hills Safari Lodge includes a daily laundry service (weather permitting) in the cost.
Money
There is a digital safe in each suite.
Accepted payment on location
Visa and Mastercard cards are accepted as well as cash in US dollars.

Other lodges in Matusadona National Park

Alternative places to stay in this same area.


Musango Safari Camp

Musango Safari Camp

Set on an island in Lake Kariba, Musango Safari Camp is owned and run by Steve Edwards, a guide of note and an authority on the local area and its wildlife.


91% (9 reviews)
Changa Safari Camp

Changa Safari Camp

On Lake Kariba's southern shore the luxurious Changa Safari Lodge offers comfortable accommodation, great guiding & varied activities.


96% (5 reviews)
Rhino Safari Camp

Rhino Safari Camp

Secluded on an island on the shores of Lake Kariba, the simple Rhino Safari Camp offers great guiding and a combination of water- and land-based activities.


88% (5 reviews)

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