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Why we love Tongole
Key Features
When to Visit
Tongole Tours

Set on the banks of the Bua River, Tongole is an exclusive river lodge in the untouched Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve. The Tongole experience focusses on land and water-based nature adventures; walks, hikes, drives, birding (over 300 species) and canoeing. The Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve is Malawi’s oldest and least-developed protected area, and managed by African Parks, benefits from conservation scouts, new parks infrastructure and species reintroductions. The animals are starting to thrive and they have a very healthy population of elephant thanks to a record-breaking translocation by African Parks. The reserve showcases diverse eco-systems – rivers, rainforest, miombo woodland, savannah and mountains that have never been exposed to human population nor mass tourism. Tongole is a recipient of multiple awards, including honours for its top guides, responsible ecology and community support achievements.    

“This is a beautiful lodge in a stunning reserve. The wildlife is not as abundant here as most parks and reserves but if you enjoy the beauty of the bush, birdlife and the great African elephant, this is the perfect spot. Tongole is more about the wilderness, breathtaking views, stunning sunrises and sunsets over the Bua River, exceptional kayaking, bush walks, tasty food, friendly hosts and guides and the plunge pool sized bath. It is the perfect romantic escape.”

Last visited by Mike Varndell, Managing Founder – July 2019

“Tongole is nestled above the shoreline of the Bua River, surrounded by vibrant forest, making for the ultimate wilderness retreat. Relax and unwind on the canopy topping sky deck, luxurious open-fronted rooms, or baths to die for, accompanied by the gentle trickle of the river below. Spot and aid some conservation in action when viewing Nkhotakota’s translocated elephants – half of Tongole’s profits go towards education and conservation.”

Tapiwa, Sales Manager – April 2018

tongole wilderness lodge - malawi-lodges-malawian-style-nkhotakota-rooms-bedroom-exterior-view


The retreat is the epitome of luxury with a large swimming pool, star deck, brilliant food and incredible rooms. With large open fronted chalets you can have uninterrupted views of the river, the wildlife and also the stars! The rooms have a gate that shuts at night for your safety but the large cosy double beds still look out at the night sky. The huge bathrooms have walk in showers and a bath big enough for two. The ultimate romance destination, whisk your partner away for a wilderness retreat, have a picnic on the Bua River and share a bottle of bubbles looking at the stars- in the huge bubble bath, of course!

tongole wilderness lodge - malawi-lodges-malawian-style-nkhotakota-conservation-elephants


Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve was taken over by African Parks in 2015. Following the success in other areas of Malawi they fenced the reserve, hired rangers and reduced the poaching epidemic. Because of the success in Liownde and Majete they moved 500 elephants from the parks to Nkhotakota in a record-breaking translocation. They had great success and moved 2000 other animals to the reserve. The population is now thriving and after some initial fear of humans they have happily settled in and there are regular sightings of the herds!

The Tongole Foundation was set up to meet the social, economic and environmental needs of the some of the most vulnerable communities within the region, through education, training and employment, whilst also encouraging support for the protection of the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.

tongole wilderness lodge - malawi-lodges-malawian-style-nkhotakota-river-buildings


Relax in style and escape from hectic daily life, surrounded by unfiltered nature. With no light pollution, the stars here are incredible! Knowledgeable guides can point out all the constellations on their large telescope. With only 3 lodges within the park, you can be sure you won’t run into another soul whilst staying here. Just kick back and immerse yourself in the blissful natural surroundings. We recommend making use of the canoes to gently meander down river, take a picnic for a real treat.

LOW Season: 1 Jan – 3o Jun & 1 Nov – 31 Dec

HIGH Season: 1 Jul – 31 Oct



  • Lush green scenery and best sunsets
  • Flowers, birds and baby animals galore
  • Few tourists
  • Cheaper rates


  • Beautiful green scenery after rains
  • Fantastic photography opportunities
  • Dry weather
  • Mild temperatures


  • Dry scenery, best for spotting game
  • Abundant wildlife – fewer water sources
  • Warm/hot temperatures
  • Prime time for walking safaris

Category Ranges:
$: USD 0 – USD250/pppn
$$: USD 251 – USD600/pppn
$$$: USD 601 – USD1,000/pppn
$$$$: USD1,001+/pppn

The price categories give you an idea of the nightly cost per person for this accommodation.

  • Best Lodge in Malawi!

    I have been very fortunate to stay in many lodges in Malawi, from budget to luxury. Tongole tops them all! Every detail was perfect, the location is stunning, the activities are very pleasant, great food; the chef Paul is super talented – cooking the best food I’ve had in Malawi, the staff is extremely personable and highly knowledgeable of the surrounding.

    A TripAdvisor Member
  • Amazing place

    Loved my visit here everyone is so friendly and knowledgeable about the area, animals, insects. Trees and flowers. Loved the fact that an elephant known as short trunk spent a lot of our visit within a few feet of us. Lovely food and hospitality would highly recommend.

    A TripAdvisor Member
  • Awesomeness

    This is a place to be if you want to relax while appreciating nature. It’s so calming and awesome. The views are breathtaking, the wild animals so thrilling and the hospitality very good. We stayed for a weekend and felt so awesome we never wanted to leave. The food is superb. Oooh just fell in love with this place. Pay them a visit you will never regret it.

    A TripAdvisor Member

Fast Facts

  • Location: Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, Malawi
  • Internet connection:Yes (But limited)
  • Fans/Air ConNo
  • Number of rooms:4 Riverside rooms and 1 family cottage
  • Child policy:6+ years
  • Swimming poolYes

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