(10 rooms, camping)
email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.mvuulodge.com
It's difficult to escape the hippos at Mvuu (the name means 'hippo'), a relaxed and welcoming lodge, 18km west of the national park, that has been completely rebuilt since a fire in 2002. Most visitors arrive by boat from Gwabi Lodge.
Narrow, flower-lined paths wind through the grass, linking the central area to various styles of accommodation. Five chalets are for self-catering guests, with their own braai and fire, and all equipment provided; just bring your own food. A further five Meru-style tents each have a reed-screened bathroom (with at shower or a baths) and a wooden terrace looking across to the river; quilted bedcovers and wooden shelves indicate a thoughtful hand behind the décor. Lighting is provided by paraffin or battery lamps. There are three campsites, of which one is in the centre of the site, a second is right on the river, and the third is secluded and shady; each has its own braai area, plus private shower and flush toilet. In addition, there's an open-air ablutions block with stone-and-reed walls and running hot water. The place is popular with overlanders and canoeing safari companies, with tents available for rent.
The large central area is open on three sides with a stone terrace and views over the river. Simply furnished with wooden dining table and chairs, it also has a small area with cane chairs. Carved hippos sit atop the posts and on the circular bar, and more hippos adorn the doors. There's a boma area by the river and a small plunge pool.
Activities include game drives, short walks, fishing (tackle may be hired on request), half-day canoeing safaris, and overnight hikes. There are also plans for lunch trips to the islands and perhaps to a waterfall in the mountains.