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“Excellent” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Pumba Private Game Reserve

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Pumba Private Game Reserve
5.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Highlands (just off N2) | (100 kms from Port Elizabeth), Grahamstown 6140, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence
Lincoln, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
29 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Excellent”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2012

We were located at the Water Lodge. If you have a chance, visit this place! We found it to be one of the best holiday locations for safari yet, the staff cannot do enough for you. I must say we were treated very well, with everything at hand day or night. The accommodation and views were breathtaking with the animals sometime at arms length was unreal. We did consider other safaris but looking through the books, website and viewing various clips on youtube we were very happy that we chose this location. Although we stayed for five nights, other guests only had two to three days and although they had an excellent time, I felt that I wanted a little longer and to be totally honest Five days was about the right time to see everything and have the time to relax and soak up the atmosphere. I cannot say enough about this place, it was just fantastic.

Room Tip: It doesn't matter! they are all good
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Jayteepee_1999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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606 reviews from our community

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1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2012 via mobile

We visited Pumba Game Lodge in April this year. We were blown away by the whole experience! From the stunning comfortable warm inviting accommodation to the friendly helpful staff to the passionate beyond the call of duty game ranger....it was an amazing once in a lifetime trip!! We took our 13 year old daughter and our 10 year old nephew we all loved everything!! I know this sounds too good to be true but on top of this we saw the game all day everyday! Herds of elephant, rhino,hippo every type of antelope etc etc we scurried past the most amazing animal life on our way to even more spectacular finds...white lioness and her cub making a kill !! And... The hot water bottles and the early morning coffee and rusks mid morning game drive and the sundowners and biltong on the evening game drives!! Do it people you won't regret it!!

Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Angela M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
Level Contributor
33 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2012

Much more then I expected. After each safari you arrive back with hot towels and hot choc in the morn and hot wine in the evening. Rooms where lovely with a coal burner if you go in the winter like us, even though the temp was in the 20's in the day it was lovely to have the fire going at night making our room cosy.
Food and spa is amazing and service is unbeatable. As for the safari twice a day we where very lucky, we saw wht lions, cheethas, zebras, elephants, rhinos etc. could want to see more. Our ranger freedom was very informative and made the rides enjoyable.
We love it so much we are planning our next trip.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank leigh30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NYC
Level Contributor
55 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 10, 2012

Location: We were debating on going to Kruger National Park because it's said to offer the biggest & best safari experience, but since the eastern cape safaris were so much closer to Capetown and rated well (and malaria free!) we decided to go there. You have to fly into Port Elizabeth (30 mins from Capetown by plane) and then drive about 1.5 hrs from the airport to Pumba. Very easy to find!

Rooms: We stayed at the water lodge vs bush lodge. Our room looks just like the photos on the site. The beds were very comfortable. The bathroom was HUGE with separate tub & shower, there were always snacks in the room and amenities included binoculars, robes & slippers.
Pro: Water lodge rooms all overlook a watering hole and have beautiful verandas that offer great views and privacy...and an outdoor shower!
Con: And this was a BIG one for me. There were SO many little bugs in our room that came out at night. They were innocuous bugs, but they'd somehow get all over the bed, which as a city girl, totally freaked me out and kept me up all night. I later learned they reside in the thatch roofs and fall onto the bed. The bush lodge rooms have nets over the bed, which I think is key - especially if you're going during the summer season when there are more bugs out and about.

Safari: The safari was wonderful. Our guide was very knowledgeable and we got to see all of the big 5 except for the elusive leopard. It was so beautiful, it's hard to put into words. We stayed 3 nights and got 6 safari rides in total and I think it was the perfect amount. The grounds are large but not as large as Kruger so if we stayed longer, I think it would have gotten a bit redundant.

Food: AMAZING - and I know food! Every meal, we got to eat overlooking the watering hole. Breakfast menu was the same everyday, but really good. They make this great interpretation of eggs benedict. Lunch menu changed daily and you would get to sample everything! Dinner menu changed daily as well with seafood and game options. Excellent meat! Desserts were equally delightful. Unlimited alcohol, which is always a plus!

Service: Every staff person was incredibly helpful and nice. They really went out of their way to help you and make you feel comfortable. Even during my semi-embarrassing bug scare, they tried their best to help solve the situation.

Other: The property provided us with other great amenities and experiences. The water lodge had a small pool overlooking the watering hole, which was great. We got to practice archery and they take you on nature walks. One the of the most memorable evenings, they took us all down to the dock on the watering hole at night after dinner when the stars were out and shut all the lights off in the main cabins. Best star gazing I have and probably will ever see. We saw the MILKY WAY! Gorgeous!

Overall: Despite my war with bugs on this trip, I'd stay here again.. I would just stay at the Bush Lodge instead.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank NYCTraveller999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin
Level Contributor
31 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2012

Not sure where to start with this one as its honestly the one place I've ever visited that has beyond surpassed my expectations of accommodation and also of activities.

We stayed here for 3 nights as part of our honeymoon in April. I was extremely apprehensive about going on safari as I'm not the outdoor type and are more used to ''city living'' but my husband always wanted to go.

Its about 1.5hrs from PE airport. When we first got there I got the immediate feeling of isolation and had a mini panic attack when I saw the insects (not that there were many) etc, but that soon faded when I saw the main lodge and the water lodge that we were staying it - it was AMAZING. I've showed family/friends the photos since then and they were in awe. We had a balcony with a pool etc and a massive bed and room. It was huge. 10/10.

The fact that a ranger needs to bring you to / forth from your room at night kinda freaked me out, but after a little bit, that was fine! We are in the wilds I guess..

Then came the drives! We had 2 per day (7am and 3.30pm) for approx 2 - 3hrs each. These were again, far far better than I would have imagined. We saw so many animals and I even found myself really enjoying it and getting into it big time. We saw the white lions which were brilliant to watch - again, something I'd never even think about, but was great.

Food wise - its absolutely beautiful. There is a great variety to choose from and you will always find something to eat - in fact, we ate more on this than anywhere else! The bar is fully stocked too, which is a great addition! When we were on the drives we would a brekkie and early evening picnic complete with full bar - again a fantastic experience!

However without doubt what made our trip was definitely the staff. They were fantastic!! Shipo et al were so lovely and they would come and sit and talk to us which was lovely getting to know them. Felt like they were our friends at the end of it. Dean was our guide for the 4 days and he was brilliant - he made the trip great fun as well as tell us so much about the place and the animals - he left no stone unturned in finding them! Was great getting to know him also and he even brought us fishing! Such a personal and luxury service all round.

After every game drive we were greeted by smiling staff with hot towels and drinks - super! They also had the fire lighting too, which was so warm and cosy.

The spa was super too - Cindy was so nice. I got to visit the bush lodge with Rob (where the spa is) and its very nice too and more modern, but the views in the waterlodge are way nicer.

We actually and ironically (coming from me) didn’t want to leave! We also toured parts of SA and Mauritius on this trip and this was by far the best place - ever. 3 nights is a lot, but nice.

So all I can say for those that are a little weary of wildlife like me - trust me on this one. Its fantastic. Dean and the other rangers are so experienced, that if I can do it - anyone can!

Its pricey but worth it (far more than Mauritius was!). Would 110% recommend it.

Room Tip: Waterlodge all the way!
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank missyjm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sandown, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
58 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2012

We recently did a three-day safari here and what a treat it was. The animals we saw were numerous but amongst them were a white male lion (who was only 2ft. away from our jeep), the white lioness and her cub who took a warthog while we were watching them. Our ranger, Justin, said that in 4 years he has only seen this happen a handful of times, so we were very lucky.
During our trip we also saw a herd of giraffes, rhinos, elephants, impalas, buffalo, wildebeest, kudu, many birds including the most beautiful sunbird and lots of other too numerous to mention.
Our game drives were great fun and we enjoyed our 'sundowners' immensely. We originally thought this would be a one-off experience but I wouldn't be surprised if we go back there in the not too distant future.

Room Tip: We stayed at the Water Lodge which, in my opinion, was the best.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Valerie N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
East Sussex
Level Contributor
25 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2012

If you like bouncing around in the back of a landrover in wonderful scenery and seeing a dazzling array of animals ad bird or sitting by the lake as the sun goes down with a cold glass of Chablis then this is the spot for you.
This is a truly lovely place. The accommodation is superb, the restaurant is excellent and the staff are friendly, helpful and charming. A particular thanks from us to Peter our guide, and all the reception staff.
If you hand in laundry however make a list and check what comes back as items can go astray!!
Other than that everything was spot on. We are to return in October

Room Tip: Choose the water lodge. The lake made it for us.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Snippetthewhippet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pumba Private Game Reserve

Address: Highlands (just off N2) | (100 kms from Port Elizabeth), Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Grahamstown
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 20 Specialty Lodging in Grahamstown
Price Range (Based on Average Rates):
Hotel Class:5 star — Pumba Private Game Reserve 5*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Awake to the sounds of the African bushveld as the sun makes its appearance on the horizon, bringing with it the prospect of another perfect day. Eco friendly Pumba, a proud member of the Green Leaf Conservation Initiative, is set in the malaria-free Eastern Cape and provides an intimate African safari experience never to be forgotten. The reserve is home to Africa's Big Five as well as rare white lion, hippo, hyena, cheetah, giraffes, various antelope and more than 300 bird species. Feel the heartbeat of nature as you explore the reserve in custom landrovers or on guided walking safaris. Water Lodge offers 12 waterfront chalets overlooking Lake Cariega while Bush Lodge is set on a floodplain with scenic mountain views, offering 11 luxury thatch and glass chalets. All Chalets open onto private game-viewing decks boasting plunge pools and outdoor showers. The indulgent bathrooms offer free-standing tubs and double basins, and each room is fitted with an earthenware fireplace. Whether dining indoors or under the starlit sky, meals at Pumba are simply sublime. Enjoy African fusion cuisine with an Eastern Cape flair, complemented by a superb selection of local wines from our Director's Cellar. Revitalise body and mind in the Soul Spa or enjoy a workout in the glass-enclosed gym at Bush Lodge. Other activities include bird watching, bass fishing, stargazing, archery as well as nearby horse riding and golf. An hour from Port Elizabeth and 15 minutes from Grahamstown. WiFi. TGCSA 5-star Lodge. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pumba Private Game Reserve Hotel Port Elizabeth

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