Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Southern Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
At a Glance
Sat high on a sandstone ridge within the 130,000 acre Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve of Zimbabwe’s remote southeast, Singita Pamushana is one of Zimbabwe’s most luxurious lodges.
Each of the eight elegant and spacious suites include one, two or three bedroom options – a perfect variety for couples or families to enjoy.
With each suite comes your own private plunge pool and decks from which to soak up the picturesque views of the Malilangwe Dam and sandstone hills beyond.
Make the most of the private access to this untouched wilderness and submerge yourself not only in the twice daily game drives and bush safari walks but unforgettable sundowner boat cruises spotting hippo and crocodiles settling down for the day.
The Malilangwe Reserve is infamous for having one of the highest concentrations of the endangered black rhino and the hides throughout the reserve guarantee incredible up-close and unparalleled game viewing.
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
From mid May through to early August the days are warm and clear but the night time temperatures can drop below freezing. September through to May is generally hot in the day and warm at night, Malilangwe usually sees rain from late November to April.
The best time for game viewing is from August to early November, water is scarce, the bush has died back and game congregates around the pumped waterholes. Birdlife is prolific during the rainy season, and although the game has dispersed due to readily available surface water, this is still a great time to experience Malilangwe.
To start planning your vacation to Singita Pamushana
Singita Pamushana is a luxurious safari lodge set in the South Eastern corner of Zimbabwe in the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. This exclusive lodge sits high on a forested hill with magnificent views of the Malilangwe Dam and sandstone hills beyond.
Singita Pamushana is one of the most luxurious safari lodges in Zimbabwe. The location, in the private Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, adjacent to Gonarezhou National Park ensures an unforgettable safari experience with fantastic game sightings. The 150,000 acre private reserve comprises 38 distinct habitat and ecological zones.
This virtually untouched wilderness area is home to one of the highest concentrations of critically endangered black and white rhino in Africa. Numerous other endangered species such as the Roan antelope and Wild Dog are regularly spotted here. The diversity is perhaps best demonstrated through the incredible 14 species of eagle found throughout Malilangwe.
The design of Singita Pamushana is inspired by the culture of the local Shangaan people: colors throughout the lodge are vibrant and bold. Indigenous art and organic shapes influence these flamboyant interiors.
Accommodation comprises only six spacious suites and one villa. All enjoy fantastic views out over the lake below, and beyond across the forested sandstone hills. Each suite has a private plunge pool and large deck to relax at during the heat of the day.
The architecture of the main lodge intelligently enhances the setting with its combination of dramatic views and open communal areas. There are indoor and outdoor dining areas, a bar, library, wine cellar and open air lounge. Both the outdoor swimming pools are heated to be enjoyed year round.
Singita Pamushana offers a variety of different sized suites, working well for both couples and families. There are four one-bedroom suites each with a private plunge pool, a two-bedroom family suite (suitable for 2 adults, 2 children) with a private plunge pool, a three-bedroom family suite (2 adults, 4 children) with a private plunge pool and lastly the Jones House which is a five-bedroom villa retreat with a large private infinity pool.
Four one-bedroom suites.
|Three-bedroom family suite||
One three-bedroom family suite.
|Two-bedroom family suite||
One two-bedroom family suite.
Five bedroom villa retreat.
Children of all ages are welcome at the lodge. Babysitting services are available, and guides are able to customized activities to suit each family. However, in the interest of safety, children’s participation in game activities is at the discretion of the guide.
Children's activities include: bush walks around camp, baking with chefs, fishing, swimming, stargazing and community visits.
While each suite enjoys its own private plunge pool, there are also two heated swimming pools and a Jacuzzi in the main lodge area, all with fantastic views.
The lodge has a fully equipped gym and a yoga room. There are two tennis courts, one with a clay and the other a Rebound Ace surface. A 9-hole golf course is 45 minutes drive away. At the lodge is a bush spa offering a range of massages and treatments.
The lodge offers complimentary internet (WiFi) access, however, due to the remote location of the lodge, the wireless connection can be slow and intermittent.
Activities at Pamushana are varied and tailored to each guest. Early morning and afternoon game drives are offered, as are spot lit night drives and guided bush walks. A number of hides have been developed close to popular waterholes to enable close-up encounters with the game in the area.
The reserve is rich in San Bushman rock art sites, a fascinating illustration of the rich history of the area. Throughout the year, the 1,500 acre Malilangwe Dam offers brilliant game fishing for tiger fish, bass, bream and catfish. As with other Singita properties, the lodge is heavily involved in community outreach projects which can be visited by guests. For the more adventurous, a night sleeping under the African sky in a private hide in the bush can be organized.
All vehicle activities take place in adapted 4x4 game viewing vehicles, with a maximum of six passengers, the lodge does offer the option of a private guide and vehicle at an additional cost.
Zimbabwes economy depended on tobacco and tourism. In that spasm of calculated madness a decade ago, President Robert Mugabe destroyed both. When 2,500 white farmers were turfed off their land, the tobacco industry collapsed. The brutality with which it was done deterred all but the bravest of visitors.
People are strange, one tour operator told me. The violence against the farmers and their workers put a lot of tourists off. But when television showed their family pets being killed, 98 % of bookings were cancelled overnight. The tourists are starting to come back now. The politics of Zimbabwe are still poisonous but the country has reached the stability of stalemate. Mugabe retains power through fraud & thuggery. The opposition was first beaten to a pulp and then sucked into a unity government and neutered. Mugabe may not even have needed to rig the last elections but he did anyway. Hes 90 and says hell live to 100.
The tourist revival is being spearheaded by the dispossessed. Everywhere we went, the places seemed to be run by former tobacco farmers, or their sons and daughters. They work hard and keep their heads down. They cant, or wont, leave the land they loved and lost.
You can see why. It was is the most beautiful country in Africa. When it was part of my patch as a BBC correspondent, we used to spend most of our vacations there. My children got soaked in the rainforest created by the Victoria Falls, thrilled there was no fence between us and the thundering chasm (there still isn't). We canoed down the Zambezi past 30,000 hippo, camping on the riverbank among elephants and rhino. We stayed in a tree house in the Hwange National Park listening to buffalo scratching themselves all night on the trunk below us. We roughed it, graciously, in the bush camps by Lake Kariba, and on hiking trips through the Eastern Highlands. The place was magical and the people, even after a long and bitter bush war, were friendly. It was a much kinder, easier place than South Africa where we were living.
That, or much of it, is still true. The economy may have been ransacked & ruined. A nation that once had the highest standard of living in Africa now has among the lowest. A country that fed much of the region cant feed itself. Millions of people have left the country; among those who remain, only one in 20 has a job, & life expectancy has fallen from 60 to 36. But there are small signs of improvement you can buy things now that they have swapped Zimbabwean dollars for US ones (only after the exchange rate had reached 308 trillion to 1).
It is still a great place to visit, and you don't help anybody by staying away. You have to see Victoria Falls at least once in your life and it is much better from the Zimbabwe side. You could join the trickle of tourists returning to the well-known glories of the Zambezi valley, Mana Pools, Hwange. But if you want to taste the real Africa, and see how a little high-level tourism could do a lot about poverty and official neglect, go to the southeastern corner of the country. Go to the Lowveld.
The real saviour in Zimbabwe comes in the unlikely guise of a New York hedge fund manager. Paul Tudor Jones is worth more than $4bn, according to Forbes, and is spending quite a lot of them on the Zimbabwean Lowveld. He has bought an old cattle ranch the size of Berkshire, abutting Gonarezhou, and turned it into the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. Its all ringed by an electric fence and patrolled by 80 rangers. At its heart, in a magical setting on a rocky promontory overlooking the flooded Nyamasikana gorge, is the most luxurious lodge in Zimbabwe, possibly in Africa. Its called Pamushana and is operated by the South Africa-based Singita group.
Everything about it is breathtaking (including the price). Each lodge is a minor palace of rough-hewn stone and elephant-grass thatch, vibrant with Shangaan artifacts & design. You can watch the hippo playing in the 1,500 acre lake below from your own private infinity pool. The food is sublime, the service almost overwhelming & the wine cellar (pretty well everything is included) would not be out of place at the Ritz.
Around it is 150,000 acres of untouched, and now heavily protected, bush, mopane forests and acacia woods, studded with leopard lookout outcrops of sandstone and granite. Malilangwe holds one of the largest concentrations of black rhino left in Africa. On a short trip through the rainy seasons dense vegetation we nearly stepped on a lionesss tail & were seen off by a tumescent, 6 tonne bull elephant, livid with lust. There are birds to blow a twitchers mind; 9 different owls, 11 kinds of hawks, 14 species of eagles.
Its a different kind of tourism, says Mark Saunders, executive director of the Malilangwe Trust & former tobacco farmer. Tourism as philanthropy low-impact stuff with the profits, & much more besides, used not just to preserve the wildlife, but to save the human communities on its borders.
Malilangwe feeds 19,000 children every school day. At hundreds of feeding points around the conservancy, local women dish out a special porridge, imported by the trust, with enough nutrition to keep a child going for a day. It costs $35,000 a month. The trust pays for irrigation, it has refurbished the local Mwenze school & subsides the Chizvirizvi clinic where 3 nurses deliver 30 babies a month. Saunders is relentlessly positive. He talks of working with the government, of officials it is possible to deal with, of a brighter future for Zimbabwe, its animals & its people. His is a personal victory of pragmatism over pain.
I asked Luke Bailes, the chief executive of Singita, why he was gambling on Zimbabwe, with its political risks & a tourist industry where even the best lodges run at 20-30% occupancy. He said it was because Zimbabwe had many of the finest destinations in Africa, which is true, & that the business was unlikely to be confiscated becau
Louisa Verney (Staff)
Singita Pamashana has the most luxurious villas scattered of the hillside with wonderful views to the Malilangwe Dam below. The lodge has a very African feel with local design infused throughout the lodge but with all the luxuries you would expect from Singita. Whether you want to while away a morning on your deck watching game come into the dam below through the telescope, explore the dam by boat or explore the 500hr reserve on a game drive guests are not stuck for things to do here. We were also lucky enough to see 10 white rhino in a mornings game drive, which thanks to the extensive anti poaching team in the reserve are thriving.
With beautiful villas designed for couples and also families (there are 2, 3 and 5 bedroom villas) there is an option to suite most people and enough of a variety of activities that everyone would be kept happy.
Fishing in Zimbabwe
Visitors travel from across the globe to Northern Zimbabwe to try their hand at catching one of the most iconic of fresh water game fish: the Tiger Fish. Ten-pound plus tigers are a common catch on the waters of Kariba and the wider Zambezi.
Zimbabwe is one of the best places in Africa to experience walking in the bush. The guides are of the highest quality, the game is fantastic and the different environments, throughout the country, are well suited for exploring on foot.
Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba & Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve
from $16900 pp 9 nights
- Take a private tour of the Victoria Falls to view the ‘Smoke that Thunders’ before heading to the classic Victoria Falls Hotel for its renowned afternoon tea
- Try your hand at fishing and catch a Tiger fish on Lake Kariba
- Fantastic wildlife viewing at Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve on 4x4 game drives
Location & directions
Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Southern Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
The lodge is set within the pristine Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in South Eastern Zimbabwe, bordering the Gonarezhou National Park.
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