Tongole Wilderness Retreat

Set in the relatively unknown and untouched Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, Tongole is a sanctuary for luxury in the wild. Whilst the animals here are not as thriving as the other parks they have a very healthy population of elephant which increased thanks to the record breaking translocation by African Parks. Tongole focus on gentle walks, birding and canoeing it is a must-visit for keen birders who want to sit with their binos and tick off over 300 species!

Why we love Tongole!

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

Fast Facts




4 Riverside rooms and 1 family cottage

Great for

Birding (with over 300 species to be spotted)

Children welcome

Yes (minimum age 6 years)


All year round

Ideal length of stay

3 nights




Yes (at reception area)

(Rates 'from' pppn)

Pricing Category

Price Categories Explained

The price categories give you an idea of the nightly cost of the respective lodges. Please note: the category is based on the starting from price.

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

Lodge Key Features


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!


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!


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.

Client Reviews

  • 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

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Contact Us

(MONDAY - FRIDAY 08:00 - 17:00)

Malawian Style
B18 Golden Peacock center, Lilongwe, Malawi
Call Malawi office: +265 177 1789
Call US office: +502 871 50 31
Skype: Malawian.Style

Team Contact

Tapiwa, Sales & Reservations Manager: +265 992 393 376
Chifundo, Senior Reservations Consultant: +265 998 393 673
Ronald, Finance Manager: +265 991 667 078
Eddie, Operations: +265 999 772 788