My wife, children ( aged 12,14 and 14) and I visited Pumba for a 3 day safari in August. Having researched extensively a game reserve suitable for children and first time safariers, Pumba seemed to fit the bill.
We were not disappointed, from the minute we arrived and were met by warm towels and a refreshing drink, to the minute we left at 6am when they arranged for the Kitchen staff to arrive especially early to prepare us breakfast, they could not have done anymore to make our first safari experience special.
We had booked the Kudu suite as we wanted the children to be in the same room as us, and this provided a 2 bedroom suite. The room was huge, 2 very large bedrooms, with equally large ensuites, joined in the middle by a massive living area. All rooms opened onto the decking terrace that overlooked the lake, giving the most spectacular view. The deck had a plunge pool, although as we visited in winter, the water was very cold and we didn't make use of it. Each evening, wood and fire lighters were provided to get the open fire going in the room, lovely to return to a cosy warm room after dinner.
Quite simply fantastic, some of the best food I have had anywhere. Beautifully presented at all meals, to be fair a limited choice, but we always found something to eat. I even tried the kudu steak one evening, which was fantastic. Some reports on here have said that service was sometimes slow, we certainly didn't experience this, all you need to appreciate is that everything is cooked fresh and to order, so it takes 20 Minutes or more sometimes. There is also always a children's menu available, that our children appreciated.
You need to appreciate the difference between a private game reserve and a national park safari. In a private game reserve there are limited numbers of each animal, so do not expect in smaller reserves to see thousands of wilderbeast or zebra crossing the plains. However, what you can expect to see in a short space of time are some of the experiences of the wild that would take weeks or months to see in a national park. For example, On our last day, we were lucky enough to locate the reserves 3 cheeta's, and track the at close quarters, at times no more than a few feet away, whilst they hunted wilderbeast. on the occasion we experienced, we were amazed to see them corner a wilderbeast, only for the rest of the herd to return and chase he cheeta's off, quite extraordinary to see.
Again, quite simply exceptional. Nothing was too much trouble, whether it was the housekeepers, the waiting and dining staff or the rangers. We had Justin as our ranger for the 3 days, and he was fantastic, extremely knowledgable, always willing to take us off road to get the best view of the animals, and extremely polite and friendly.
Would we return to Pumba? Probably not, although that is not any reflection on the reserve. We felt it was a fantastic introduction to safaris, and may well go to a bigger reserve or stay on Nnational park next time, although the chances of them living upto the exceptionally high standards set by Pumba are unlikely.
Thanks Pumba for a truly memorable trip.
The marshall/ Ketley family