News from Bua River Lodge

We regret that we have been forced to close the Backpackers' Accommodation temporarily. A large colony of bats has made the building rather unpleasant to stay in. We are in touch with a local bat conservation organization that will come to remove the bats, but until that is done, we feel it is better to close the building. As soon as we are open again we will let you know!

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She's back ...

After a long wait, the elephants are back at Bua River Lodge. A herd of 6 or so congregated at Namndinga pool about 500 metres upstream from the lodge this afternoon (10th September) and made their way on to the Island, only 25 metres from our island B tent, from where our new guests had their first view. Then, later, as our guests were enjoying their afternoon tea at the lodge, this lone female made her way into the reed beds in front of the lodge. At first a bit nervous and frisky, she soon settled down to her own afternoon tea of reeds. She is, in fact, one member of the trio who visited us frequently last dry season. Clearly, she remembers the royal reception she was given the last time!

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The wonderfully clear, cool nights of winter are here. The skies are ablaze with stars and the Milky Way is glorious ....

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TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

We are delighted to announce that we have now received 50 TripAdvisor reviews, of which 40 are "Excellent" and 9 "Very Good". And, as a result of our performance, we have been awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2014. Please click on the logo at the bottom of this page to read our reviews.

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The rains are over ...

... and winter is approaching.

The rains have left the Bua River running high and sparkling now in the late afternoon sun. Nightime temperatures are dropping below 20 degrees and soon it will be time to light a fire in the boma in the evening.

At this time of the year too, as the last wisps of cloud hang over the reserve, we enjoy some of the best sunsets.

Now is the time to visit .....

Overnight camping safari

Overnight camping safaris now a reality

Our first guests to take the Overnight Camping Experience loved it. Late morning we dropped them at the top end of the Bua Gorge, from where they began the hike down the gorge, stopping for a packed lunch on the way, to enjoy the spectacular scenery.

They arrived at the camp site in time for sundowners, watching the sunset over the Bvundikira Hills across the Bua River, while they sipped a cold beer.

A three course meal was prepared for them over an open fire by one of the lodge cooks. They ate dinner by the light of candles and the camp fire, lit to ward of the chilly air as we move towards winter.

In the morning, after fruit salad, full English breakfast, toast, tea and coffee, they set off downriver again, arriving tired but very happy at Bua River Lodge in time for lunch.

Did I say they loved it? Well, they enjoyed it so much that the gentleman proposed to his lady while they were there .... and she accepted!

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It doesn't always rain during the wet season!

A few clear days with showers at night. The air is scintillating, the colours unbelievable. The Bua River is full, but still sparkling. And the clarity of the late afternoons is just stunnning!

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With the advent of the rains each year, so arrive the fireflies. Insects of the forest edge they congregate in their thousands around the camp site, which to them, presumably, resembles the boundary of the woodland. For a week or so they appear in large numbers, flashing their chemically-illuminated tails in search of a mate. The spectacle is quite magical!

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The Rains have Arrived

The rains are here, bringing with them a flush of new green in the forest, crystal clear light and water in the river. Beautifully coloured butterflies, a multitude of beetles and other insects, including fireflies, an enormous variety - in size, shape and colour - of flowers, have all appeared in the space of a couple of weeks. Confused Kingfishers hover over the brown water of the river wondering where the fish have gone!

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More elephants visit the lodge

The latest visit from elephants, this time a group of 5 adults, one sub-adult and a calf. They stayed in the channel between the "mainland" and island, where fresh rainwater had accumulated in rock pools. The river is running brown with silt washed out of the farmland to the west of the Reserve, and elephants prefer clean water.

Sadly, one of the cows had a snare wound on one of her hind legs. She moved OK, but the wound was suppurating. We hope that soon anti-poaching patrols will put an end to this ...

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Whte-backed Night Heron spotted at Bua River Lodge

The elusive and nocturnal White-backed Night Heron has not been recorded before at Bua River Lodge. This individual was resting (and perhaps nesting) in the reeds across from Island A, from where this - not very clear, sorry - photo was taken

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We are getting more and more elephant visits during the day time. This small group of two cows and a calf have been regular guests over the past few weeks. In fact, they are coming a bit too close for comfort at times!

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Our guests were enjoying afternoon tea at the lodge yesterday afternoon, when this herd appeared out of the bush. Eight adults, two sub-adults and two calves, they fed for a couple of hours on the reeds in the river, seemingly quite unconcerned about the watching humans. Later that night, three came within 10 metres of my tent and this morning I had one feeding 5 metres away.

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Bua River Lodge access improved

We are delighted that the road from the tarmac to the Reserve gate has recently been graded. There is no need to worry that your saloon car won't reach the lodge!


Magical! Elephants in the light of the full moon. Our guests were enjoying a pre-dinner drink by the fire last night, when two cows and a calf emerged into the light of the full moon. While our guests ate their dinner the elephants quietly consumed theirs, just metre from the lodge. Apparently completely unconcerned, the elephants quietly moved into the reeds and, still clearly visible just 20 metres away, our guests sat and watched them from the Riverside Deck while drinking their coffee. Sorry, no photos. :( Well, it was dark!

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July at Bua River Lodge

It is beautiful now on the Bua. The river is clear and sparkling in the winter sunlight. The air is warm during the day and cool at night - cool enough for a log fire at the "boma". Walking safaris are seeing more and more animals - elephants, bushbuck, waterbuck and klipsringer - as well as the guaranteed crocs and baboons! The birds are becoming more active too - the beautiful Little Bee-eaters are a common sight in the reedbeds outside the lodge, our resident finfoot continues to put in the occasional appearance, fish eagles are calling and the solitary goliath heron is still around!

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Elephant visits to Bua River Lodge increase

We rarely see elephants in the daytime, so the visit we had from four and a very small calf the other day was very exciting! Four adults and a very young calf emerged from the forest on the north bank of the Bua. After a while, they crossed into the reedbeds in front of the lodge. They stayed in the beds, quietly feeding, not the least alarmed by the people watching. Eventually they moved into the forest between Riverside A and B then behind the camp site and eventually up behind the Lodge itself.

We are being visited more and more frequently by elephants and I like to think it is the effect of the Lodge itself that is encouraging them. They do not feel threatened and, because we have kept fire out of the lodge area for 4 years now, there are plenty of succulent young trees and bushes for them to browze on, not to mention the reeds. Long may they continue coming.

Inside Island B

Number One on TripAdvisor

Back to Number One for Nkhotakota on TripAdvisor! Please click on the link at the bottom of the page to see all our reviews.

Pel's Fishing Owl confirmed on the Bua

Finally, a sighting of Pel's near Nyankhoma Pool. Our guests were watching flocks of trumpeter hornbills and green pigeons feeding in a large fruiting tree beside the river, when their binoculars picked up this distinctive large owl.

The finfoot has also been in evidence again recently, as have black stork and palm-nut vulture.