Puku Ridge Camp

Puku Ridge Camp

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Room & Suite (83)
An elegant brunch was set up for us in the wilderness! We LOVED coming upon this fun spot while out on safari!
Dining (22)

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About

5.0
#9 of 24 lodges in South Luangwa National Park
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Location
4.9 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Service
4.7 of 5 bubbles
Value
The “new” Puku Ridge, located well inside the incredible South Luangwa National Park, is a collaboration between its new owners, Chichele Safaris, and the Cumings Family of Chiawa Camp & Old Mondoro. This camp is unlike any else in Africa and offers design, features and luxury not yet found in some of Africa's most famous uber-luxe safari camps. And yet, with the luxury comes a pedigree of 30+ years of safari experience, world class guiding and hospitality, and a conservation ethos that will ensure that Puku Ridge will appeal to those travellers wanting the best in all things safari. Its position is spectacular and secluded, overlooking a wildlife-rich floodplain and waterhole, where there’s seemingly always something to see, on one of the South Luangwa National Park’s prime sites. This well-known and much loved camp’s facilities, service and guiding have been upgraded to the "Best in Africa" award-winning standards that the Cumings Family’s own Lower Zambezi safari camps have become renowned. Unique in design but traditional in outlook, it has been completely rebuilt with a lighter footprint and blends in beautifully with its natural surroundings. Elements from the Luangwa bush camps of old have been combined with traditional village life and authentic, local art works complement crucial creature comforts making for one of the most appealing and welcome safari camp launches for many years. Previous guests of the old Puku Ridge will feel that everything has changed but nothing has changed, as although completely rebuilt many special touches from the past have been retained. The main area or sitenje is an oasis of calm overlooking an open plain towards the Luangwa River, dotted with all species of wildlife. There are telescopes, a fireplace, dining under the ebony trees and a comfortable hide overlooking the waterhole for fabulous viewing and photo opportunities. Each of the 8 tented accommodation units offer sweeping views, air-conditioning over the super-king beds, minibar and tea/coffee facilities, overhead fans, complimentary wifi, indoor and outdoor shower, bath, his & hers washbasins, international & USB plug points, veranda with private plunge pool and the piece de resistance, a sleep out tower!
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Property amenities
Free internet
Pool with view
Restaurant
Free airport transportation
24-hour security
Gift shop
Private check-in / check-out
Laundry service
Internet
Plunge pool
Breakfast available
Outdoor dining area
Special diet menus
Wine / champagne
Airport transportation
Mosquito net
Outdoor fireplace
Sun terrace
First aid kit
Ironing service
Room features
Blackout curtains
Bathrobes
Desk
Dining area
Private balcony
Safe
Coffee / tea maker
Walk-in shower
Seating area
Wardrobe / wardrobe
Bottled water
Clothes rack
Laptop safe
Private bathrooms
Wake-up service / alarm clock
Electric kettle
Bath / shower
Complimentary toiletries
Hair dryer
Room types
Mountain view
Good to know
HOTEL CLASS
Star ratings are intended to indicate the general level of features, amenities, and services to expect. This property is classified according to Giata.
4.0 of 5 stars
HOTEL STYLE
Luxury
Hidden Gem

Location

South Luangwa National Park 10101 Zambia
154Reviews3Q+A35Room tips
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Detailed Reviews
Indium49 wrote a review Jun 2021
Cape Elizabeth, Maine65 contributions25 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Puku Ridge has it all—location, beautiful decor, flawless service, great food, and wonderful game. Everything about Puku Ridge is superb. From the moment you arrive you will completely relax, and their are tons of places to do that from the beautiful lounge to the deck off your room to the plunge pool to the star bed. And from all of those places you can just sit and absorb the peace of the place with a huge plain and waterhole in front of you. During just a few hours between game drives, we saw puku, impala, giraffes, zebras, elephants, baboons, guinea fowl, and saddle bill storks just off the main deck while we eating lunch and from our room deck.
Everything at Puku Ridge is off the finest quality, but not fancy or overstated. It all fits in beautifully with the surroundings. The staff are all warm and friendly, and things are just taken care of without any fuss. The room was spacious, the bed wonderful, and the linens the best. You won’t want to get out of bed in the morning, but you’ll be excited to start another day to see and learn about what’s out there.
Our game drives with Fred were exceptional. One day we did an all day game drive with lunch in the bush which I highly recommend. On that one drive, in addition to all the animals we could see from the lodge we saw a leopard just relaxing by the road, hyenas, wildebeest, eland, four lions on two different occasions, and wild dogs! It would be pretty hard to beat that anywhere in Africa.
The food was creative, light, healthy, and delicious and came with recommended wine pairings. Puku Ridge was the last stop on our four week safari, and it couldn’t have ended on a better note. Thank you to Fred, Annemie, Grant, Edward, Steven, Lottes, Johnson, and everyone else at Puku Ridge for a fabulous stay.

For those with Covid concerns, Puku Ridge will put you at ease. It is very spread out with more than enough room for social distancing. Our temperature was taken when we arrived and every day we were there. Hand sanitizer was plentiful and the staff all wore masks. All of the staff were also vaccinated. Africa is the place to be. They have taken things really seriously and are waiting with open arms, socially distanced of course.

Thank you to all our new friends and a Puku Ridge.
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Date of stay: May 2021Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Grant Cumings, Agency / Consultant at Puku Ridge Camp
Responded 03 Jul 2021
Greetings from Puku Ridge, We were trilled to receive this very special review on Trip Advisor and appreciate the time you took in writing this. During these interesting times we find ourselves in at the moment we can only do our best to ensure all our guests are safe, so it was lovely to hear that we made you feel at ease. And we agree fully, Africa and the bush is the best place to be at the moment. We look forward to welcoming our new friends back to Puku very soon! Best Regards, Annemie, Grant & Team Puku
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Robert H wrote a review Nov 2021
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Our safari organizer urged us to include Puku Ridge in our visit to Zambia this November. What great advice! We stayed three nights at this camp.

Our guide Frederick ("Fred") was amazing! This was our 7th safari visit to Africa, and we have never met a more knowledgeable and expert guide. On our first day we discussed the animals and birds that we most wanted to see. Wild dogs were at the top of the list. Fred found the dogs every day, and the pictures we brought back were spectacular. Part of the credit goes to his excellent spotter, (John), who went out long before dawn to verify where the dogs had settled down for the night. As the sun came up we were in the perfect position. Most of the time we had the wild dogs all to ourselves. The high point (literally) was an unsuccessful chase they made after a puku that included a series of three meter high leaps across the Luangwa River.

The other guides in the area were simply nowhere near as good as Fred and John at figuring out where the animals were. Fred also has an excellent photographic sensibility, and constantly thought about positioning the vehicle in the best location for the image.

The food was spectacular. The general managers are a married couple, Grant and Annamie Cumings. Grant is a former executive chef who has worked at some of the world's most famous hotels and restaurants, and it shows! Every meal was different, and equally delicious. I tend to mentally rank experiences, and several meals were in the "best ever" category. The Moroccan style chicken sandwich we had for one of the lunches, and the roast duck we had for dinner one evening were particular standouts. Everyone was friendly, and the rooms were beautiful. The main building has an elevated deck with one of the best views in Zambia, overlooking a water hole thronging with elephants, zebra, hippos, antelopes and baboons. We were there on the hottest days of the year, and the mini air conditioner over the bed was particularly welcome. There was literally nothing they could have done to improve the experience!

But back to the animal sightings and photo ops; besides the wild dogs, we saw a wide variety of birds, including the extremely rare Pel's Fishing Owl, as well as lions (and cubs), leopards, and "night animals" like civets, genets, mongoose, "Giant" Eagle Owls and big cats on the hunt.

We are definitely going to come back to this wonderful camp!
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Date of stay: November 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Room Tip: The view from every room at Puku Ridge is awesome, but the rooms furthest from the main building...
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Grant Cumings, Agency / Consultant at Puku Ridge Camp
Responded 28 Dec 2021
Hi from Puku! It was lovely having you at Puku for 3 nights. We are so glad that you found Fred to be extremely knowledgeable and that he was able to show you all the special birds that you had on your wish list to see. Thank you for all the lovely feedback regarding your meals at Puku, our team of Chef's take great pride in cooking delicious meals. We look forward to your return and will be sure to allocate Fred as your guide again. Best Wishes, Annemie & Grant Parker -General Management Couple
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Harriet J wrote a review Jun 2022
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We stayed at Puku Ridge for two nights, and walked away definitely wishing we had allocated more nights at Puku Ridge. Actually, we wished we had spent all of our nights in South Luangwa here.

Most importantly, the game drives were excellent. Pius, our guide, is truly passionate about guiding and teaching and has an eagle eye. On one morning, Pius spotted African dogs playing in the distance from the magnificent view at breakfast so we raced to the car and started following them through the camp’s private land areas and got to see a large pack feeding on an impala. It was honestly one of the most thrilling things I’ve ever gotten to witness.

Everything from the breakfast pastries, snacks, tea, and meals were all amazing! The braai we had one night included one of the best steaks I ever had. The rooms were beautiful, clean, and the pool/ac combo made cooling down during the day between drives easy.

But at the end of the day what makes this camp so so special is the people and the level of thought that has gone into the details. My partner is mildly allergic to some apples and pears — and in the morning, a special chia pudding had been set aside for him made without apples. The first night I ordered chamomile with honey. The second night I ordered chamomile and they brought it with honey in case that’s how I liked it (it is). They set up a special sundowner for us (a complete surprise) to celebrate our belated honeymoon. It’s truly in the details, both big and small, that you appreciate how deeply well-cared for you are at Puku Ridge. We know this was a sentiment that was shared by several of the guests we spoke to that we met at other camps we had stayed at. We want to give a special shout-out to Annemie. Without getting into details, she really went above and beyond to take care of us and she and Grant are definitely a large part of what makes this camps so so special.

We can’t recommend Puku Ridge enough and can’t wait to return!
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Date of stay: May 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Grant Cumings, Agency / Consultant at Puku Ridge Camp
Responded 18 Jul 2022
Thank you for your wonderful detailed review. We are so proud of Puku Ridge and its amazing team. Come back soon …
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tibertram wrote a review Oct 2021
Singapore, Singapore75 contributions17 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My highly anticipated return to Puku Ridge finally happened. This was my second visit after 2017. Puku Ridge underwent a recent upgrade so I was very keen to experience the place once again.

The additions to the camp are amazing:

A secret hide to watch over the waterhole in front of the lodge is exciting for observing elephants, giraffes, warthogs, buffalos, pukus, impalas, zebras, kudos, baboons, birds including owls who regularly flock by.

A small pool is added on the veranda of each room. This came in very handy as the October heat exceeded 40 degrees celcius in the Luangwa. Rooms are also equipped with A/C which makes the heat much more bearable. Of coz you can chose to switch it off and enjoy the breeze but that probably works in other months better.

The bungalows are now two-story. The upper floor not only gives you an elevated, even more amazing view of the plains, but it also features a bed so you can sleep under stars. Of coz it comes with a mosquito net so you don't need to worry about insects at night.

The most outstanding additions are the bush surprises...thanks Puku Team for these experiences. Very cool!!!

Meals are very tasty and of high variety. It was often difficult to chose from the options. They were all great.

Management and all staff are impeccable. There is really nothing that I feel could have been done better.

I highly recommend this camp. And spend a morning or evening in camp, and just enjoy the action that takes place around the veranda of your bungalow. It's Bush TV all the time.

Also, if your time permits, do a bush walk, the team is very experienced and does not take any risks. When we saw elephants, we detoured to give them ample space, same with hippos. Seeing hundreds of hippos from the riverbanks of the Luangwa River on foot is just cool.

Would always come back if opportunity arises.
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Date of stay: October 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Grant Cumings, Agency / Consultant at Puku Ridge Camp
Responded 28 Dec 2021
Hi from Puku, It was so lovely to welcome you back to Puku again, and very happy to hear that we did not disappoint. Thank you for the detailed feedback, this will certainly assist other travelers when needing information on Puku. We look forward to welcoming you back to Puku a 3rd time, maybe next time with your wife. Best Wishes, Annemie & Grant Parker -GM Couple
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yous1 wrote a review Jul 2020
Lusaka, Zambia16 contributions5 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
The epitome is African Safari.
Having been to multiple safari camps across Africa, I must say, this camp is up there amongst the best. Picture Perfect. There’s a star-Bed in every room on a tower, where you sleep out in the open, completely safe, seeing nothing but the amazing star studded brilliance of the African Sky.Jason and Kayla, the managers are a wonderful couple who were extremely friendly and helpful. The staff from guides to chefs and waiters are all very warm and very well trained. The views from the main deck or from your rooms are amazing, we were seeing leopard, Impala, Buffalo, Elephant, Zebra, Baboons, Giraffr, Puku from our bed every single day. NOTHING BEATS THIS, however, it’s not a child friendly camp, many stairs, and very wild. I highly recommend a visit here. I’ll definitely go again.
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Date of stay: July 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
mrc282 wrote a review Nov 2021
Worldwide8,682 contributions263 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
While I am more of a rustic, bush camp person, a little luxury at Puku Ridge doesnt hurt when the weather is scorching hot in October!

The room is huge, equipped with AC and a plunge pool. The pool water is maintained at a very comfortable cooling temperature. An elephant decided to browse right outside my room just as I dipped into the pool one afternoon.

There are two beds, one on the main floor, and a second one at the top. The starbed is accessed via an exterior staircase connected to the room.
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Date of stay: October 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Grant Cumings, Agency / Consultant at Puku Ridge Camp
Responded 28 Dec 2021
Hello from Puku, Thank you for your feedback on Puku. We do offer all the creature comforts to make your stay so much more comfortable and items such as the AC in the rooms becomes especially handy in the very hot months in the South Luangwa. Something that does make us stand out a bit above a normal bush camp. We hope to welcome you back some day for a bit more Luxury. Best Wishes, Annemie & Grant Parker -GM Management Couple
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Vikki C wrote a review Dec 2022
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma80 contributions4 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Puku ridge is a beautiful modern safari camp in South Luanga National Park, Zambia. It’s perched on a hillside overlooking a watering hole where one can watch animals coming to drink. Highlights included excellent service, delicious meals and interesting game drives. October can be hot and the plunge pool for each room and cooling system over the bed are welcome conveniences.
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Date of stay: October 2022Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: Even though you are not on the river, it is close by and the hillside location and waterhole...
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
ahf1110 wrote a review Nov 2023
Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany17 contributions21 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We spent four unforgettable nights at Puku Ridge, savoring every moment. The experience was nothing short of perfection: from the lodge's ideal location with a direct view of a waterhole, the beautifully appointed rooms, the warm and welcoming staff, to the exquisite cuisine – there was genuinely nothing to fault. Saying goodbye after an 11-day safari in Zambia, our first in the country, was particularly difficult for us. This emotional farewell was largely attributed to our guide, Innocent Simango, whose profound knowledge left a lasting impression. We are indebted to him for the unforgettable moments and unique animal encounters during game walks and drives. Zikomo Puku Ridge, Zikomo Simango!
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Date of stay: November 2023
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
zambiatraveller wrote a review Sept 2021
Perth, Australia23 contributions2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We had three wonderful nights at Puku Ridge in mid July. We couldn't fault the hospitality, the rooms were superb and the food out of this world. We can honestly say its the best food we have had on Safari (we have been on many)and better still it was such fresh and healthy food. Puku Ridge is certainly one of the finest camps on offer in Luangwa.
The attention to detail is something else, sunset drinks on the river had a welcome plaque and even table decorations.
Grant and Annamie have such a good team which radiates through the camp and adds to the tranquil beauty of it.
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Date of stay: July 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Grant Cumings, Agency / Consultant at Puku Ridge Camp
Responded 27 Sept 2021
Lovely to have received this feedback from you on Trip Adviser. Thank you for your high praise of your stay with us at Puku Ridge and for the special mention of the meals that you had during your stay. The team in the kitchen take great pride in each meal that they prepare. We hope to welcome you back in the near future. Best Regards, Annemie & Grant Parker -GM Couple
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Katie B wrote a review Jun 2021
Dubai, United Arab Emirates105 contributions7 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I couldn't fault Puku Ridge in any way. I had 3 nights here in May, and it didn't disappoint. Grand and Annemie were perfect hosts, and all the staff and guides were super helpful and knowledgeable about the area, with most of them having grown up in Mfuwe.

The tents were beautiful, with stunning views across the plain, waking up to the morning sunrise and sounds of the bush. The food was outstanding and there were a few surprises organized by the staff including a beautiful hot bath to welcome me back after a chilly evening game drive.

I couldn't recommend this camp enough, definitely worth a visit.
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Date of stay: May 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Grant Cumings, Agency / Consultant at Puku Ridge Camp
Responded 03 Jul 2021
Greetings from Puku Ridge, It was lovely to host you at Puku Ridge in May, we are so glad to hear that Puku did not disappoint. We are truly blessed with a beautiful location here in the South Luangwa and yes those morning sunrises and sound of the bush is something not to be missed. Thank you for recommending us and hope to welcome you back some day. Stay Safe! Best Regards, Annemie, Grant & the Puku Team
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Answer from zambiatraveller
Perth, Australia23 contributions2 helpful votes
Hi there Contact Jane - I am unable to put an e.mail address on this site but if you look up Chiawa reservations. You will Love Puku Ridge, however I am not sure if they are open over Dec/Jan as that's their wet season.
vbnet asked a question Aug 2019
Mount Prospect, Illinois490 contributions59 helpful votes
Has the camp reopened?
vbnet asked a question Mar 2018
Mount Prospect, Illinois490 contributions59 helpful votes
Do the drives go off road to get closer to the animals?
Answer from Peter K
Sotogrande, Spain21 contributions10 helpful votes
Absolutely. You get up amazingly close
halm wrote a tip Aug 2023
Ipswich, United Kingdom12 contributions17 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"The house wines were fairly restrictive. The villas are set apart nicely but not an easy walk if you are unsteady on your legs."
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Elham23 wrote a tip May 2023
Manama, Bahrain16 contributions14 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Don't miss the walking safari! "
Read full review
NorthStar00939834017 wrote a tip May 2023
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Best time for Luwangwa is June to Early November. Rainy reason and after rains get tough for spotting game. But still a beautiful park! "
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Mbclover wrote a tip Dec 2022
Loxahatchee, Florida3 contributions4 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"I don't think there is any bad room!"
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Nicholas D wrote a tip Dec 2022
1 contribution1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Be sure to stay for at least 3 days."
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Not the right property for you?
There are more places to choose from in the South Luangwa National Park area.
LOCATION
ZambiaSouth Luangwa National Park
NUMBER OF ROOMS
8
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PUKU RIDGE CAMP - Lodge Reviews (South Luangwa National Park, Zambia)

Frequently Asked Questions about Puku Ridge Camp
What are some of the property amenities at Puku Ridge Camp?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include an on-site restaurant, airport transportation, and laundry service.
Which room amenities are available at Puku Ridge Camp?
Top room amenities include blackout curtains, a desk, and a dining area.
What food & drink options are available at Puku Ridge Camp?
Guests can enjoy an on-site restaurant, breakfast, and an outdoor dining area during their stay.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Puku Ridge Camp?
Yes, guests have access to a plunge pool during their stay.
Does Puku Ridge Camp have an airport shuttle?
Yes, Puku Ridge Camp offers an airport shuttle for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Does Puku Ridge Camp have airport transportation?
Yes, Puku Ridge Camp offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
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