Malawi Press Reviews
Planet Appetite: On Safari in Malawi, the Warm Heart of Africa
Huffpost Lifestyle, March 2013
Rupert Parker visits Pumulani which "occupies a stunning position overlooking the lake with an infinity swimming pool and its own private beach. My chalet is almost as big as a shopping mall and I can sit on the veranda and take in the vast expanse of the lake, watching the waves lapping on the shore."
Bird Watching and Sunset Dhow Cruises on Lake Malawi, by Lee Daley
San Francisco Examiner, April 2012
Lake Malawi and Malawi National Park are often overlooked for other destinations in Africa but those who make the trip to this “Friendly Heart of Africa” are rewarded with exceptionally dramatic scenery of craggy outcrops, plateaus and high mountains coupled with a wealth of adventure in and around what is considered to be Africa’s most beautiful lake.
While safari-goers come for the sight of big game, here abundant wildlife sings a subtler, yet equally impressive song. Bird life abounds with frequent sightings of fish eagles and the magnificent Pel’s fishing owl. More than 500 species of fish populate the waters of the lake, a freshwater ‘sea’ surrounded by golden sand beaches.
Just inside the park, perched above a sandy beach on the southern lakeshore, rests the outstanding Robin Pope Safari’s ten villas called Pumulani Lodge, The main lodge overlooks an infinity pool with views of verdant hillsides embracing the clear, calm waters.
Metro (UK), 5 August 2011
A luxurious new lodge in the warm heart of Africa
Thanks in part to the controversial adoption actions of Madonna, Malawi is more firmly on the map these days.
The country. located in the south east of Africa, is making major headway into the tourist trade this month with the opening of the Mkulumadzi Lodge.
With a level of luxury not before seen in Malawi, which is known as 'the warm heart of Africa', the new lodge in the Majete wildlife reserve offers safari adventures in style.
Eight hi-spec stone-built bush chalets (one honeymoon, two family) sit across a footbridge over the Mkulumadzi River and each boasts outdoor showers and viewing decks offering a range of stunning vistas.
In contrast to the busy game reserves in the neighbouring nations of Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique, visitors to Majete can expect true isolation.
Rita Pires, of lodge owners Robin Pope Safaris, says: The intimacy of the location, the feeling of exclusivity and privacy is unavoidable, and the 7,000 hectares of private concession means that guests rarely see other vehicles. It has a sense of wilderness and each drive or walk feels more like an exploration into the unknown than an animal-spotting excursion.'
That said, wildlife watchers can expect to see black rhinos, buffalos, zebras, elephants, impalas and baboons.
After morning and late-afternoon game drives and walks, lodge guests can kick back in the lodge's pool or around the campfire and watch the hippos wallowing happily in the nearby river. Breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea are served out on the terrace and a three-course dinner is eaten under the stars.
Sunday Times (UK) 3 July 2011
Mkulumadzi, Malawi. Robin Pope is one of the most respected names in African adventure and, on July 15, his latest venture opens in the Majete Wildlife Reserve, in southern Malawi. Mkulumadzi has just eight muslin-strwen chalets, with private viewing decks for dinners under the stars. The area is home to black rhinos, elephants and buffalo, so the game drives should be as memerable as the hospitality.
Zest - 20 breaks with a difference
20 Breaks with a difference: no. 7 The luxury yoga break at Pumulani Lodge
If you're sitting on the deck of a private villa overlooking Lake Malawi, the chances are you're already pretty relaxed. So this week-long tailor-made yoga holiday at the exclusive Pumulani Lodge may elevate you to delirious levels of contentment. Twice daily classes are held on the beach or under the shade of tamarind trees; when you're not meditating or attending nutrition/ayurveda workshops you can snorkel in the lake, which is home to unique species of fish. You can also add a four-day walking safari in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park.
Tatler Travel Guide 2010
Best Beach Hideaways
Malawi has a hippie appeal but Pumulani is the more sophisticated sister.
Msafari - Kenya Airways in-flight magazine
May - July 2009
Lakeside Retreats ~ a roundup of Africa’s best lakeside getaways.
The Great Escape
Travel Africa Magazine
Dale Morris is an enthusiastic fan of the bush, though the early morning onslaught of safari activities do eventually take their toll on him. On his latest trip to the wilds of Zambia he decided to add on a little side trip to Lake Malawi, hoping it would recharge his batteries...
Nestling on a hillside at the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Lake Malawi National Park, Pumulani’s ten individually-designed, opulent villas are each a work of minimalist art. The massive windows and outside decks all have commanding views of the surrounding forests and lake, while the rooms are big enough to swing a lion about by its tail (should the compulsion take you).
The scaling up of the swank factor began from the moment I was picked up from Mumbo’s Jetty. The putt-putt of my previous ride was replaced with the vroom-vroom of a slick speedboat’s throbbing engines. As I was zipped across the lake’s glassy surface, I began to fancy myself as the next James Bond.
The Hot List 2009
Condé Naste Traveler
Pity Malawi, a Lilliputian, landlocked country surrounded by the heavyweights of the African safari biz. Overlooked by most travellers, its recent claim to fame (as the home of Madonna's adopted son) is more the stuff of tabloids than holiday brochures. So Pumulani, the luxury venture from Zambian operator Robin Pope Safaris, is a bold step forward. With a spectacular hillside setting on Lake Malawi's southern shore, the 10 villas are suspended above a golden crescent of sand and are designed, with their curving lines, to match the smooth contours of the lake. Each villa has a private terrace, spacious seating area and a cathedral-like bathroom with baths boasting the best lake views in Malawi. Minimalist interiors eschew the objets d'art overload of many African lodges, with whitewashed walls and bright textiles adding a light touch. The cuisine is likewise restrained, from light seafood lunches by the infinity-edged pool to beach barbecues under the stars. Kayaking, fishing, sailing and snorkelling are all available, although most guests are content to laze on the beach and unwind after a safari.
Tatler Travel Guide 2009
Pumulani ~ Ranked among the best 'Word of mouth' hotels
Malawi is the sleeper hit of the year. The fabulous sub-Saharan red of the bush is punctuated by the bright, bobbing blue of the vast lake. It’s quiet and gorgeous – fishermen trailing their lines out of their dugouts, ladies carrying home their stacks of pink-tipped hay. Pumulani is the slick place to stay after you’ve explored the wonders of Zambia’s Luangwa. It’s been opened by Robin and Jo Pope – safari heroes. Here you lie about on the blond sandy lick of beach drinking fresh lime and vodka cocktails, zoom about like nutters in the speedboat, go diving, or waterskiing, or splash about like hippos. Pumulani has wonderful views of the calm lake, the local chef is young and perfectly brilliant and you’ll find lovely pots of moisturising beeswax in your room. A new thing for Malawi – be the first.
Hacked out of a hillside on the southern end of Lake Malawi are 10 vast suites that appear so much part of the landscape, you don't notice them at first. One has a tree growing through it; others incorporate granite boulders, and all have huge decks with great lake views. The lodge, opened in July, is Lake Malawi National Park's only luxury property, overlooking clear waters inhabited by jewel-bright fish.
Go snorkel and see: just off Cape Maclear you will find the Aquarium - a series of boulders and rocks in the lake that give an even greater view of the wonders below.
Who goes: Seasoned travellers, post-safari.
Top tip: Visit old hippie spot Cape Maclear.
Must-do: Try the amazing fresh croissants.
Downside: It's a long way from the UK. Published: 13 January 2009
No distractions, just splendid isolation
The Independent, UK
5 October 2008
To experience the African wild, you need to forget the outside world for a while. Adrian Mourby travels to two new retreats in Zambia and Malawi (Pumulani).
June 22, 2008
Robin Pope made his name as Africa’s hardest-working walking-safari guide, but we always knew there was a touch of hedonism about him. On Tuesday week, he opens Pumulani lodge. It’ll be positively decadent: 10 luxury villas overlooking the clear, warm waters of Lake Malawi. Great diving and snorkelling, with clouds of indigenous fish, but we suspect most guests will be be found sipping cocktails in the infinity pool.
17 May 2008
With its empty white beaches and clear water, Lake Malawi feels like a private paradise - although you might have to share it with the odd croc, says Isabel Choat
"Landlocked Malawi has been slow to develop its tourism - hardly surprising considering it is one of the poorest countries in the world. It also lacks the big draws of its neighbours - it may have sandy beaches but it doesn't have a coastline, the Big Five or sweeping plains or vast dunes. It only attracts between 150,000 to 200,000 visitors a year. Such small numbers hold no attraction for major investors but smaller, specialist companies are flourishing. Wilderness Safaris now operates five lodges and camps in the country, including Mumbo; and Robin Pope, the safari company that made its name in Zambia, is about to open 10 £400-a-night beachside villas (pumulani.com), their first in Malawi. Of course, these companies are foreign owned - in a country where nearly 90% of the population are subsistence farmers - how could they be anything else? But to their credit they take their environmental and social responsibilities seriously. "
One to Watch
Lydia Bell reports: "Safari Legend Robin Pope has opened a new lodge in Malawi, the perfect place to relax after going walkabout this summer. Pumulani has 10 rooms and private decks for watching the birds and sunsets. "
20 Style Destinations for '08
20 January 2008
"MALAWI: Robin and Jo Pope helped put responsible tourism on the map in Africa. Robin is one of the continent’s most respected guides, and their safari camps in Zambia’s South Luangwa are just gorgeous."
"Still, a beach option would be nice. No sooner said than done – in the shape of Pumulani, on Lake Malawi, which opens in July. The romantic 10-room lodge overlooks its own creamy beach. Safari in the morning, then dip your toes in the water and snooze all afternoon."
100 summer holidays for '08
6 January 2008
"59: Branson goes there, Madonna goes there: Lake Malawi is becoming an unlikely celebrity playground. In July, Robin Pope, Africa’s leading safari guide, will open Pumulani camp on its southern shores: five hillside villas in spectacular surroundings, with fantastic scuba-diving to see unique fish species. It should make a cool addition to Pope’s famed walking safaris in the South Luangwa valley, Zambia. ... pricey, but, if Pope’s track record is anything to go by, you’ll get what you pay for."
Luxury Travel Magazine
In their review of what's new, Luxury Travel Magazine highlights Pumulani Lodge.
Holiday Hotspots: Where to go in 2008
31 December 2007
Mark Jones, under the heading "Where we'll be going", says: in July, the celebrated Zambian guide Robin Pope is opening Pumulani in July, a new lodge on Lake Malawi, set inside a World Heritage Site.
Best New Hotels for 2008
31 December 2007
Nicky Holford draws up a wish list, and in Africa, selects:
Pumulani, Lake Malawi, Malawi "On the west side of the Namkumba Peninsula on Lake Malawi, Pumulani - opening in July - is in Malawi's only national park. There will be 10 guest villas, with an infinity pool, with fantastic views from elevated terraces."
The 53 Places to go in 2008
New York Times
9 December 2007
At #29 is Malawi: "Blame Madonna. Safarigoers tended to overlook Malawi, but that has changed since she began her effort to adopt a 1-year-old boy from this tiny African country that lies within the Great Rift Valley. Next July, the luxury lodge Pumulani is set to open 10 villas on spectacular Lake Malawi, home to rare cichlids and pied kingfishers."