The turnoff to the reserve's main gate is 10km north of Nkhotakota town. Public transport along the coast road north of Nkhotakota can you drop you at this turnoff, from where the gate is 10km away along a dirt track. You can walk to the gate, but you can't walk in the park unaccompanied. If you are staying at Bua River Lodge, SMS or email 24 hours ahead (don't call, because mobile reception at the lodge is bad) to be picked up from the turnoff (US$5 per person) or Nkhotakota (US$10).
Ulendo Airlink offers charter flights to the reserve from Lilongwe and Likoma Island (adult/child one way US$271/194 each; minimum two passengers). The airstrip is near Tongole Wilderness Lodge. Note that you are not guaranteed exclusive use of the aircraft. A more affordable option is to check the 'bid to fly' section of Ulendo Airlink's website and make an offer for a seat on one of the listed flights.
The reserve roads are mostly navigable in a 2WD car during the dry season, if a little steep on certain stretches. Car access is less assured during the wet season; in general, call ahead to check on road conditions. The very potholed Nkhotakota–Kasungu road passes through the reserve's southern section.