When you book a lodge like this in a private game reserve you are bound to go there with high expectations ... to make it short: Chapungu and the Thornybush Reserve did not disappoint us at all. From the first moment on we were made feel at home, from our welcome to our farewell, also including the game drives the friendlyness of all staff, rangers, trackers was amazing. Also accomodation is perfect - the tents are spacious, quite luxurious and give you the real feeling of being in the bush (including an AC!, a beautiful veranda and an outdoor bath tub!) - i would never trade a luxury tent like this for a "normal" room when on safari if i had the choice. Food: perfect! not one single issue you could complain about, most of the was not only good but up to gourmet standards (but after all you don't go there for the food :-).
Most important thing: the game drives: first of all we wanna point out Jancu, our ranger - we have been on Safari before (Kenya, Botswana, SA before) and we have had very good guides and rangers - but never someone who is equally knowledgeable about animals, plants, tracks, the whole area and at the same time as funny and entertaining and also "at home" in the reserve as Jancu. Safari is not only about seeing wildlife but also about learning new things about what you see and he combined this in a perfect way and mixed it with a lot of stories from his experience. To make it short: we saw Lion multiple times, also Leopard and all the other big 5 in our 2 days there and had not one game drive without one or multiple highlights, also a Cheetah with cubs and another Cheetah. The quality of the sightings is very high since the rangers spare no effort to follow and track also offroad. One thing that you should be aware of: Chapungu does not have a waterhole (at/near camp) and has also has a fence around the camp, the tents are build along a small river bed but it is dry for most of the year - so game viewing from the lodge while you relax in between drives is quite limited (to warthogs or bush buck .... :-). Plus: though Thornybush is a big reserve to cover it is not VERY big, so if you do some drives there you will probably reach the fence or drive along it once in a while (which spoils the bush ambience a little bit). But as I said, all in all: highly recommended!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the heart of the Thornybush Nature Reserve the nostalgic guest will find Chapungu Tented Bush Camp. Tastefully furnished in old world colonial splendour, in a style and class of a bygone era. Eight comfortable air-conditioned en-suite tents offer private and exclusive accommodation. Boma dinners are an occasion and an opportunity to select a bottle from the stock of fine wines and to savour the finest fare. Settle around a log fire to recount the days’ game experiences before retiring to the lounge for a night-cap, or the comfort of your tent. Our passion for hospitality and the excitement of dawn and dusk safaris in an open safari vehicle, ensuring close and unrestricted encounters with the wild. The more adventurous are encouraged to join an experienced game ranger on a walk as he interprets and discusses Africa's footprint. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Chapungu Camp Hotel Thornybush Private Game Reserve
- Chapungu Tented Bush Camp South Africa/Thornybush Private Game Reserve