There's more to South Africa Game Reserves than just visiting Kruger National Park

We visited Pumba Private Game Reserve and Spa for a weekend in March 2014. Pumba Private Game Reserve is the 3rd largest privately owned Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape. We drove from our offices in Port Alfred taking the Alicedale turnoff on the N2 between Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth. Pumba Game Reserve is signposted off to the right off the Alicadale Road.  As you turn into Pumba you follow a gravel road for about 1km and then take a left into the entrance to Pumba.  Once through the gates there is a further track leading up to the Main Lodge at Pumba. As you head up to the Main Lodge you will start to see animals immediately with Blesbuck, Warthog and Blue Wildebeest grazing close to your track.

Pumba Main Lodge is an impressive thatched set of buildings joined by wooden paths. Pumba has two lodges the Msenge Bush Lodge and the Pumba Water Lodge where we were staying. The Pumba Water Lodge has the advantage of overlooking a beautiful lake which each cottage can enjoy from their balcony. The lake is a haven for birds, a variety of buck and of course the hippo which you can see and hear grunting in the lake. Occasionally these lumbering giants will come out of the water close to your accommodation which is an amazing sight. We even caught sight of a giant tortoise across the other side of the lake as well as two of the white rhino that roam around.

We went on four game drives during our stay at Pumba which were a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Our guide was called Peter and he had recently joined Pumba after working at Amakhala Game Reserve. Morning game drives started at 01h30 and finished at approximately 02h30. After each game drive you are welcomed back at the lodge with a hot or cold towel to freshen up along with drinks in evening. On each of the game drives there is a chance to stop and have a hot drink in the mornings and a sundowner on the evening drives. Pumba Private Game Reserve has a lovely relaxed feel to it along and along with the Big 5 that are on offer to see here it makes for a real alternative to travelling up to Limpopo to Kruger National Park. Pumba has white lions as well as normal lion and we were lucky enough to see the male and female who are simply magnificent. Late on during one of our evening game drives we caught sight of four Bat Eared foxes which is quite a rare sighting.

Evenings at Pumba are so relaxing as you sit and eat your delicious dinner whilst looking over the lake. A warm fire is always on the go and creates a lovely atmosphere. We got to know our fellow travellers on our game drives and on our last evening we enjoyed dinner together. It was lovely to exchange stories of other trips whilst listening to the hippos grunting in the lake below us.

The accommodation at Pumba Water Lodge is first class with lots of space, a large balcony and even a plunge pool to enjoy. There is an excellent choice of Game Reserves in South Africa and Pumba in the Eastern Cape offers a real alternative to the more traditional Kruger Reserves. For more information on South Africa and what to see and where to stay visit where2stay-southafrica
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