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Pumba Private Game Reserve
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All reviewsbush lodgeplunge poolwhite liongame reserveour honeymoonoverlooking the lakehot water bottlesland roverwhole experiencefantastic experienceoutdoor showerthree nightsbush walkelusive leopardgarden routeout of this worldsafari experience
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1,125 - 1,130 of 1,470 reviews
Reviewed March 30, 2014

My husband and I spent 3 nights in an Impala chalet at the Water Lodge in early March 2014 and had a glorious time. Our chalet was well designed, tastefully furnished, and spacious, with a lovely deck overlooking the Lake. The bed and sofas were very comfortable. The food was great. Our experience was outstanding from the get go when Linda met us with a cup of cocoa for each of us because it was a rainy day. She explained how our stay with them would be organized and was very knowledgeable about the Reserve.

The staff at the lodge was outstanding. Many, if not all of them, were from the surrounding areas and they were gracious, cheerful, and highly attentive to our every need. It was particularly nice to get to know Thembalani, the host, who went out of his way to make sure we were happy. I had a bad cough while I was there, and the lodge even had someone stop by the Pharmacy in Grahamstown for me.

Pumba was very serene and laid back and we felt very well cared for and completely enveloped in a cocoon of goodwill. We appreciated that "everything was included" when we booked our stay so we didn't feel "nickle and dimed" about mini bar charges etc.,. as is often the case in hotels. Our ranger, Vuyani was terrific. He was experienced and knowledgeable and quite clearly loved his work. Although we had some rain, we saw animals galore. I will always remember our very first game drive in the rain at Pumba when we happened on a beautiful male white lion who had just killed a warthog and was lounging next to it, savoring the moment. He even rolled on his back, after he spotted us, all the while keeping an eye out for unwanted dinner guests who might want to share his prize. . Vuyani worked hard to make sure we saw the illusive cheetahs before we left. Having driven around through some rough terrain trying to spot them, we returned to the lodge a little disappointed because it was our last evening. No sooner had we returned, however, reports came in that the Cheetahs had been spotted. Although it was late evening, Vuyani jumped back in the vehicle and offered to drive us out again to find the cheetahs.And we did. The next morning, on our very last drive, the 3 cheetahs came out for us again, and hung around drinking and marking territory for a long time, providing us with an amazing opportunity to see them up close in all their glory. I liked the conservation work that Pumba does as well as it's local community development initiatives. We picked this Reserve based on reviews as this was our first visit to South Africa. It exceeded our expectations. The lodge was highly organized, well staffed, and superbly managed. One of the other couples who were staying at the lodge with us had been to several of the other 5 star game reserves and rated Pumba the best. Bottom line, Pumba is very special and you will have a fantastic time. We are so very glad we stayed there.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank JADSNYC2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2014

We have just returned from a three night stay at Pumba Water Lodges in celebration of my 50 birthday. We loved every minute! We had an Impala lodge which was beautiful. The food and service were excellent and truly all inclusive. Even our laundry. Our ranger Gladman was knowledgeable and enthusiastic and tried his best very successfully to let us see a wide variety of animals.We got on so well with the others in the jeep and had many laughs.We loved our drinks during the drive outs! We had dinner at the Bush lodge one evening which was equally as good. I wish we could have stayed longer!

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank cdsg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2014

This was very special. I felt like royalty in the luxury cabin. The bed was superb, the bath enormous, and there was a private outdoor plunge pool as an extra. No television might be a problem for some.

At the main building, meals were lovely if leisurely. No buffet-style eating here, and patience was required.

But the real reason for going was, of course, the game drives and the animals. We were safe in a comfortable Land Rover as our enthusiastic young guide sought them out and explained what we were seeing. He was a true expert. In the course of six drives we saw white and tawny lions on several occasions, very close-up, as well as buffalo, elephant and rhino. We chased after but failed to see a leopard, so that was four out of the 'Big Five'. One of the other Land Rovers was luckier.

We became familiar with impala, kudu, gnu, zebra, warthog and giraffe. The highlight was the stalking and unsuccessful chasing of a group of elands by three cheetahs. It was heart-stoppingly exciting.

It needs to be remembered that this is a fenced reserve, so it is not quite the full wild experience. The guides know exactly the numbers of the larger animals, and some of them are collared [the animals, not the guides!]. But the beauty of the lodge and the countryside, the chance to see exotic and truly beautiful animals close-up, made this a memorable experience.

And everything was utterly professional, the standard of service outstanding.

  • Stayed: March 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank Dave M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 22, 2014

We stayed two nights in the Family Lodge and it was really lovely. We had two lodges with a sharing entrance and a very big terrasse with plungepool. For a family really value for your money compairing with other lodges in these surroundings
Everything is already said in the previous reviews. Surroundings, animals, food, the game drives etc. everything is superb.

But unfortunately we have some negative points. We paid a lot for this stay and then we expect 5 *. The airco wasn’t working in our room during the whole stay. It was pretty hot so we slept very bad. The manager tried to organize a mechanic but was not succesfull. At our last night a bottle of champagne was on our room, but without a small card with an excuse.

It s 5* but the small little attentions are missing. The service in the restaurant could be much better, you had to help them consantly to fill up the water and the wine. But the staff is very friendly and you could not be mad at them.

We are on holidays and we do not bother about small things, but some people will... So it could be if you expect 5* it isn’t 5* for your!
We had a great time in Pumba, only our Ranger could have been a bit more entertaining.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with family
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Thank Jacqueline S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2014

We stayed at Pumba for 3 nights at the end of January
Both the accommodation and the safari were fantastic
We stayed in a Gemsbok Room – all accommodation is separate cottages, with an open plan bathroom, lounge area and large outside decking area with your own private plunge pool. The room looks across the lake and you can see the animals grazing on the far side. In the room there is a complimentary mini bar, as well as biscuits and sherry. In the evening you have to call reception to get a ranger to walk you to and from the main hotel area, just in case there are any animals around.
The hotel offers a buffet breakfast including fruit yoghurt and pastries and then there is a varied menu of cooked items which can be ordered. Lunch offers a choice of 3 courses which change daily, served alongside a selection of wines. Dinner is also 3 courses with wine and they try to offer local produce such as Gemsbok. The service was very good except on the 3rd day when staff changed and it appeared the new staff were not very organised.
Our safaris were with Jono – there were 8 of us in jeep and we saw loads of different animals including elephants, giraffe, cheater, leopard, rhino, and many antelopes, also spent time watching the white lions. We have been on safari before but felt this was better, allowing us to get close to the animals in their natural environment. There were two game drives a day – one at 6:30 and another at 16:30, we also did a night drive.
Our only suggestion for improvement would be for the reception to call rooms if there was a good sighting from the hotel grounds – for example one afternoon two elephants were bathing in the lake in front of the hotel, we missed this as we were relaxing by our pool but would have happily gone along to the main deck to view this.

We would return and recommend this to others

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank mm29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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