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Bumi Hills Safari Lodge

Bumi Hills Safari Lodge is built high on a hillside, bordering Matusadona National Park and with breath-taking views of Lake Kariba.

Bumi Hills Safari Lodge has been built to make the most of its hillside setting with spectacular views of Lake Kariba from all the rooms and central areas. The lodge feels more “resort” than “safari” and while game viewing drives are more limited than elsewhere in Zimbabwe, it makes for a good option for anyone wanting a relaxing start or finish to a more traditional safari, whilst still having the option of activities; or a slower-paced stay in between big game destinations. With its sparkling views, beautiful infinity pool and spa, there’s plenty for those who want to rest, and with a variety of activities it is a great option for families who can choose how active they want to be.


The lodge accommodates around 22 guests in 10 rooms and the two bedroom Baobab Villa. The rooms are arranged in semi-detached stone buildings leading off a path through the pretty grounds and all have balconies with spectacular lake views. On entering the room, there is a dressing area which leads to the bedroom with twin or double beds, a sofa, writing desk and sliding glass doors to the balcony. The en suite facilities include a bath, double vanity, walk in shower and leading off the entrance area is also a door to an outdoor shower (with views of the lake).
The Baobab Villa works very well for families and groups of friends and includes a central shared lounge with plenty of comfortable seating. Sliding glass doors open on to the balcony which runs the full width of the villa and where there is a dining table should guests wish to take lunch in the villa. Either side of the lounge are two large en suite bedrooms (one of which has a third bed to accommodate a triple).

Central Areas

The central areas of the property offer incredible views of Lake Kariba and Starvation Island and the focus is a large resort-style infinity swimming pool. The communal areas are split between an upper and lower deck. On the upper deck is the reception, lounge, games room with snooker table and TV, an indoor air-conditioned dining room, and outdoor dining deck, and outdoor lounge, bar and the pool. The lower deck includes a firepit with comfortable seating, a further outdoor dining area with pizza oven, and a second outdoor lounge and bar. There is also a health spa where an array of treatments can be arranged locally and a gym.


Wi-Fi – Yes
Power for Charging – Yes
Swimming Pool – Yes

Habitat & Wildlife

Kariba is the largest man-made lake in the world and covers some 5,500 square kilometres (about 2,100 square miles). It is around 220 kms long, and around 40 kms at its widest. Built in the late 1950s to harness hydropower for both Northern and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe and Zambia), the dam wall straddles a gorge of the Zambezi River between Kariba (Zimbabwe) and Siavongo (Zambia). The dam wall is impressive, particularly when the gates are open.

The formation of the lake has a chequered history. During its formation, Rupert Fothergill, a local senior game ranger, initiated his ‘Operation Noah’, saving thousands of animals from the rising waters. Many local people, particularly the Batonka, were also displaced and forced to live elsewhere. However, hydro power was produced and a flourishing fishing industry also gathered momentum. Even today, the twinkling lights of the many Kapenta rigs can be seen at night as they gather in their haul.

Covering a large proportion of the southern shoreline, the Matusadona National Park was established as a non-hunting reserve in 1963 and proclaimed a National Park in 1975. The Park is largely inaccessible and extends over the upland area above the lake. Vegetation varies from grassland on the upper reaches to woodland (often destroyed by elephant) on the lower slopes leading to the foreshore. This habitat variation provides for a wide variety of animal and bird life. Larger mammal species include elephant, lion, leopard, zebra, waterbuck, buffalo, hippo, kudu and impala. The area was a stronghold for black rhino but unfortunately today few are now seldom seen. However, in 2019 Matusadona National Park was the first of Zimbabwe’s protected areas to be taken under the management of African Parks with a number of species reintroductions planned, alongside effective management. A variety of wildlife can be found in the park and the private concessions bordering it, including lion, elephant and waterbuck. Giraffe are not found north of the escarpment and eland, sable antelope, and roan antelope occur in the escarpment hills. Crocodiles of impressive size inhabit the water’s edge along with plenty of hippo.

Although the shoreline ecosystems are constantly evolving, a wide variety of waterfowl, herons, storks, waders, plovers, jacanas, the African finfoot and others inhabit the region. The haunting cry of the fish eagle often echoes across the waters. Other raptors include the bateleur, black eagle, harrier hawk (gymnogene), and a variety of falcons, hawks and owls. Additional general species include kingfishers (grey-hooded, malachite, brown-hooded, giant and pied), bee-eaters (carmine, little) as well as orioles, starlings, barbets and shrikes.


Activities include game drives (by day and by night), guided walking safaris, boat cruises and fishing on the lake as well as cultural excursions. Or simply relax by the pool or enjoy a spa treatment.


Bumi Hills Safari Lodge is open year round, but game viewing is best from June through to October and rain is experienced from November to March.

The lodge accepts children of all ages and has both inter-leading rooms and the two bedroom Baobab Villa works perfectly for families wanting more space. With a lovely pool and plenty of activities, the lodge makes for a good family friendly option. A private guide and vehicle is included with the Baobab Villa for all activities, giving extra flexibility.

Bumi Hills Safari Lodge is owned by African Bush Camps who contribute a certain amount per stay in camp to the African Bush Camps Foundation – a non-profit focused on conservation, education, and empowerment in the communities near the company’s camps.

Community initiatives close to Bumi Hills include the support of the local primary school in the Mola rural district. Mangwara School is located parallel to the Bumi wildlife area and challenges include a shortage of classrooms, access to grant funding, walks of over five kilometres for most students to reach the school, high risk of wildlife contact for students travelling to school, shortage of learning equipment and low teacher morale. Long term goals for the school include improving school infrastructure, improving teacher’s accommodation, supply of text books and printers and helping with human-wildlife coexistence issues.

One initiative to support human-wildlife conflict efforts in the wider Mola community is the Build a Boma project which raises funds to build livestock bomas. Guests can donate towards this and visit the community to help erect the boma during their stay at the lodge.

Across wider Zimbabwe the Foundation is involved with conservation work and supporting local women’s craft and sewing groups.