On a sunny morning in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, my colleague Richard and I set out for the Pumba Game Reserve, located about 1.5 hours north-east of Port Elizabeth. The sign from the main N2 highway reads “Alicedale” – “Pumba” and only a short distance down this road brings you to the turnoff on gravel road and onto the gate where you sign in. Continue another short distance inside the reserve with warthog (Pumba) popping out from all directions…funny little pigs they are!
On arrival at Pumba Water Lodge we were welcomed at the reception area, our rental car unloaded and parked for us and we were handed a cool and refreshing welcome drink. After signing the indemnity form (because if a lion gets you it’s your own fault) we were taken to our rooms. The lodge offers Impala Suites, Gemsbok Suites and the Kudu Suite, most with private plunge pools - remember to request these. I was amazed at the spaciousness, comfortable and inviting furnishings and décor and, oh my gosh, the largest bathrooms you have ever seen…almost as big as the rooms and sliding doors leading out onto the deck and private plunge pool. Needless to say I decided not to go on the afternoon game drive (the morning game drive would be just fine with me…) and settled into my room for the afternoon. But game viewing I surely did! I sat in my plunge pool all afternoon with a glass of wine in hand enjoying the views over Lake Kariega and watching numerous species coming down to drink. These included Eland, Blesbok, Kudu, Wildebeest and Elephant with the resident pod of Hippo being quite vocal about being disturbed from their afternoon nap.
Lunch and dinner at Water Lodge were superb and I can only congratulate the management with the high quality of the dishes and the friendly staff that served it! Dishes were varied and indeed we were spoilt for choice with a selection of wines included in the price to accompany each dish. But it is the view I cannot get over, whether from your room or from the beautifully designed and decorated main lodge areas, the place will enchant you as it did me.
The next morning I received a wakeup call and dragged myself from the extremely comfortable bed to get ready for an early morning game drive……only to find, as I opened my front door, a massive Rhino waiting for me on the walkway. Reversing very slowly back into my room I quickly phoned the reception area to send a game ranger to come and fetch me. I surely was not going to take on that big fellow myself… On the morning game drive we saw lots of different species including more elephant, giraffe, zebra and a rescued leopard. But the highlight was the female white lion resting close to a boundary fence; a beautiful animal with piercing blue eyes which made our visit to Pumba a really memorable one.
After our morning game drive we were taken to Pumba Bush Lodge, also known as Msenge Lodge. Again the design and décor was very well done and I was impressed with all the windows allowing uninterrupted views from rooms and the main lodge area onto the Eastern Cape bushveld! Truly remarkable!
Suffice to say we left with fond memories of this gem!