Activities that Excite at Bumi Hills
Bumi is remote, exclusive and magical, yet offers an enticing array of activities that is the envy of most safari lodges because of the added dimension of the water, rich local Tonga culture and fascinating history of the creation in 1958 of one of the world’s largest man-made dams, including the incredible “Operation Noah” that saw thousands of animals, stranded on islands, saved by a small and courageous team.
Go on a 4 x 4 game drive in open, state-of-the-art Land Rover game viewers with the possibility of seeing four of the Big Five – elephants, lions, leopard, buffalo....then pause to reflect on the magic of the day with sunset cocktails on the shoreline. In the nearby Matusadona National Park you may also walk with Bumi’s exceptional armed professional guide to track the rhino. A walk in the wilds on the private Bumi estate also enriches the soul in getting close to nature and learning about a myriad of smaller things, such as insects, foliage, ants and more than 350 species of birds.
The sea-like Lake Kariba, more than 300 kms long, adds a truly unique dimension to safaris at Bumi – enjoy viewing many animals from a small motor boat or larger cruiser. This affords guests with wonderful photographic opportunities.
If you’re out in the late afternoon perhaps your guide will switch off the boat motor while you lazily drift, gin and tonic in hand, and relish some of the most glorious sunsets on earth. The water element that differentiates Bumi from 90% of safari lodges, also enables you to visit a dinosaur fossil site; to witness a rare grey-headed gull breeding colony or to circle the aptly-named Starvation Island and learn about its dramatic history.
It’s not just the elephants, buffaloes and lions that captivate guests at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge. It also offers birding enthusiasts a veritable paradise. More than 350 species have been recorded, including the majestic Fish Eagle, with its haunting cry, and such species as cormorants, saddle-billed storks, malachite kingfishers, bee eaters, harrier hawks, martial eagles, bateleur eagles, grey herons, sacred ibis, red-billed hornbill and the beautiful and prolific lilac-breasted rollers in the most majestic setting.
Fishing for delectable bream and the fighting “tiger” game fish is immensely popular and you may also land a massive cat fish (Vundu). The annual Kariba International Tiger Fishing Tournament (KITFT), each October, is Africa’s largest inland fishing competition and draws hundreds of teams. Each year it is a fact that most of the most prized fish are caught around the Bumi area. The pleasure is heightened by often having wildlife as a backdrop, especially elephants and buffalo, while fishing.
The Matusadona, one of Zimbabwe’s prime wildlife parks, is a short boat trip from Bumi. Here you may drive in open 4 x 4 vehicles or walk with an armed professional guide to track the rhino.
One of the most appealing attractions of staying at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge is being so close (30-minute drive) to the sprawling mud-hut Tonga village under Chief Mola. A visit is both humbling and life-enriching to witness how these friendly, spiritual people survive under such harsh conditions and how they keep their centuries-old traditions alive along the length of the Zambezi River.
Visit the local school, clinic, village shop, their basic mill and meet the people. Their rich culture is closely linked to the history of Lake Kariba. There was much drama in 1958 when the dam was built and the Tonga people had to be moved away from their ancestral homes at the edge of the Zambezi River as they would have been engulfed by the rising waters.
Our staff at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge are predominantly Tongan whose families are in the surrounding area. They are always happy to share their stories and experiences or to proudly show you their homes and way of life. Bumi Hills safari Lodge works closely with these communities and commits financial and other assistance to the council, schools and health clinics.