Bumi hills safari lodge

The best of Africa

The stylish Bumi Hills Safari Lodge sits high on a hill looking down on to Lake Kariba, and is named after the private reserve where it’s located, which borders Matusadona National Park. It’s an utterly beautiful, soothing place, with glorious sunrises and views of elephants wading in the water below.

Bumi Hills is a gorgeous reserve on the shores of Lake Kariba, which is home to plenty of wildlife including elephants and lions. It has its own airstrip and takes around an hour and 40 minutes to reach in a bush plane from Victoria Falls. Then, it’s just a 10-minute drive to the lodge. 

Bumi Hills is a recent acquisition for well-known Zimbabwean safari operators African Bush Camps, and has been transformed into a beautifully designed stone lodge with 10 rooms. The main building has a vast lounge and library, and restaurants indoors and on the terrace. Interiors are decorated in natural hues of grey, brown and calico, and adorned with wooden carvings and statues, basket work and stunning sepia wildlife photos. The true star here is the lake (more like an inland sea as it spans 175 miles) and its captivating views. The infinity pool seems to just pour into the lake below in a haze of blue. Stone steps lead down to another deck with a firepit area and bar, ideal for gin and tonics as the sun sets over Kariba.

The team here are friendly and efficient and Hope is an excellent host, ensuring you have all you need. Guides are very knowledgeable, particularly Madison who’s lived in this area his entire life and tells fascinating stories about the Tonga people; visits to their nearby village can be arranged. Game drives and walks will take you up into the hills or down to the lakeshore where elephants are easily seen. Sunrise at the shore is mesmerising. You can try catching tiger fish on the lake and don’t miss the sunset boat trip with the charming Captain Eddy. The main building houses a gym, spa and snooker room. Wi-Fi is only available in the main lounge.

The 10 rooms, all in a row, lie on the same level as the bar below the main building; they’re accessed via a stone path surrounded by immaculate flowerbeds. The elegant décor inside follows the theme of the main buildings, in natural hues with carved crafts and baskets, and wooden furnishings throughout. Beds face the windows for those glorious lake views. Each room has dressing and desk areas, a sitting area, fans and air-conditioning, minibars, and terraces overlooking the lake. En suites have chic stone baths and twin basins. For absolute indulgence, stay in the Baobab suite – two similarly styled capacious rooms with an interjoining lounge and bar.

Unsurprisingly, the terrace restaurant overlooks the lake for more Kariba views. It’s friendly and informal, and serves meals of an excellent standard. Breakfasts are buffets with plenty of choice, and cooked options include tasty omelettes. Lunchtime salads such as Niçoise or avocado are fresh and crispy and three-course dinners might include halloumi and balsamic tomatoes, followed by aubergine stew and roast vegetables, and passion fruit panna cotta. Braais (barbecues) are cooked on the bar terrace with a selection of meats, salads and vegetables. Keep an eye out for cheeky monkeys who like to help themselves to breakfast.    


Bumi hills is rated 5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor