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“Amazing safaris. Poor service.”

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Pumba Private Game Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

On arrival we were met by Bianca who was lovely and promised us that we wouldn’t lift a finger from this point onwards. She asked us about food preferences and noted that we were celebrating a birthday and anniversary whilst in South Africa and said she would arrange something special for us. We were transferred to our 2 bedroom family chalet at Msenge Bush Lodge where we were met by Paige. She said that the maintenance men had finished for the day and so she would take us to our room and offered to singlehandedly carry our 4 suitcases and 4 rucksacks to our room. We obviously offered to help her and between us and the children managed to carry our belongings there. Our rooms were amazing with freestanding baths and outdoor showers for each room as well as a well-stocked mini bar. It was, however, very cold and Paige told us that our fire would be lit when we returned from our safari drive. The safari was amazing – on the first drive there were 8 in our landrover (a bit crowded) and we saw white and tawny lions and a herd of elephants. On returning to our lodge the fire was not lit and it was freezing. When we mentioned this to Paige she said that there were less housekeeping staff on so perhaps they had not had time. We also reported that our safe was not working on the first day and it was not fixed when we left 3 days later. We did accidentally leave our wallet in our car at the entrance gate and the staff were brilliant – taking our keys and going to retrieve it for us, without us having to leave the lodge. All meals were chosen from a menu with generally 3 choices per course. Food was nice but portions were small. I have no idea why Bianca asked about our preferences as personal taste was never taken into account and our son struggled to choose between the basic kids menu and the slightly too sophisticated adults menu – personalised menus were not an option. The bar service was incredibly slow. Once I waited 15 minutes at the bar to be served and when sitting on the terrace drinks were not offered, despite Paige’s assurances that they would be. The gym was okay but a couple of machines not working. The game drives were all excellent, with between 4 and 6 people per drive going forward and our guide was great. On one day we saw rhino, elephant, buffalo, lion so were just needing the leopard to complete the big 5. That night, whilst eating dinner, it was announced that the leopard was in the vicinity and to stay in the main lodge for safety. We were then offered the chance to get in the landrover and drive the 50 metres down the drive to where the leopard was sitting. An amazing day! We also did the fishing with our ranger which gave us an opportunity to visit the Water Lodge and was a great way to spend a couple of hours. The anniversary/birthday treat promised by Bianca never materialised. All in all a great safari, great accommodation, but lacking in service.

Room Tip: Family chlet in Msenge Bush Lodge was great.
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  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank Kirsty W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PEHotelGroup, Online Marketer at Pumba Private Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Thank you for your review and support. It is always great to hear back from our guests and get fresh perspective. Your points have been noted and will certainly be addressed. We hope that in the future you will return and allow us the opportunity to change you perception of Pumba.

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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We spent three nights here and it was just outstanding.We had 6 drives with an excellent and knowledgeable guide and saw the big 5 and countless other animals.The accommodation was first class and the food gourmet.We just wish we could have spent longer here.

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Farrercove
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PEHotelGroup, Online Marketer at Pumba Private Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Thank you very much for the kind words. We are really proud of our reserve, our staff and of course the wildlife. Safe Travels and we hope to welcome you back soon. Best wishes.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

This place is the most incredible place I have ever stayed. I did not want to leave. The people were all lovely. Especially Dan our ranger. He made the experience extra special. The food, service and the rooms were all amazing and I would definitely recommend it.

Stayed: September 2017, travelled with family
Thank Emily N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PEHotelGroup, Online Marketer at Pumba Private Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Thank you for your review and support. Great to hear you enjoyed your experience with us. We will certainly pass your appreciation onto Daniel. Wishing you safe travels.
Kind Regards

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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Myself and my partner had the most speculator time staying at Pumba Bush Lodge.

The lodge itself is gorgeous, modern and up to date but hasn't lost its character. And the best thing about Pumba is the staff. From the Game Drivers to the Front of House team, to the restaurant waitresses & waiters. - A Massive thank you to Siviwe and his Fiancee for making our time here so wonderful, you are lovely people - we hope you have the most gorgeous life together, you deserve it!

The lodge itself is all about 'The Little Things' that really make you feel so looked after and special. From the Hot Water Bottles they put in your bed whilst you're at dinner (as the nights can get quite cold) to the Home Made biscuit pouches they made us for our departure to have on the plane, and not forgetting the amazing surprise birthday cake (possibly the best chocolate cake i have ever had!) they gave me when the realised the holiday was a birthday treat!

I honestly can't recommend this gorgeous place enough, anyone who has the pleasure of staying here will not be disappointed! Love love love!!

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank sophieaO7303TU
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PEHotelGroup, Online Marketer at Pumba Private Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

It is great to receive such fantastic feedback, thank you very much. We are delighted to see that you enjoyed our reserve, 'the little things' and our amazing staff. Thank you for celebrating your birthday with us, we look forward to welcoming you back!

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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We came here to celebrate my partners 21st birthday and from arrival throughout we were treated with such fantastic service. We arrived about half an hour after the afternoon tour had been set out so were offered the opportunity to catch up with the group and join them. We decided not too as we wanted to unpack and refresh ourselves for dinner. Despite this we still got given our own private little tour on the way to the lodge where we saw a variety of animals! The guide was brilliant and had an abundance of knowledge.

We got to our lodge, which was a very cute hut with its own plunge pool. But be aware! The pools are freezing! This was the only negative experience of our stay here but cant fault it as it was in September. Inside the hut itself was perfect for couples, it included a large bathroom, as well as an outdoor shower.. a very interesting experience but beware of the Monkeys! There was a freshly restocked mini bar inclusive of delicious homemade biscuits, which was restocked twice a day when you were out on your game drives.

At night you needed to be transported to and from your lodge by a warden, and despite the long hours the wardens do they always remained upbeat and with an extremely friendly attitude. At every point of your stay you are always made to feel welcome by all the staff, and they always make everything feel personal, you never feel like a number here.

The meals are all delicious. Breakfast you got to choose from a variety of cooked meals, with the option of cheeses, meats and cereals from a buffet bar as well. We had one occasion where we were waiting for 30-35 minutes for our Omelettes to be delivered, but we were entertained during this wait by the mischievous monkeys running around the patio outside the breakfast room. For lunch you had the option of three cooked meals, i would highly recommend the venison as it was always cooked to absolute perfection! Dinner was a 4 course meal, and despite the portions not looking big, they fill you up!

Moving on to the game drives, you are given your own guide for the duration of your stay. We had Sevie (I'm sorry, i cant remember how to spell his name!) who was so passionate about the wildlife it really added to the experience of the trip. His knowledge was brilliant and every time we saw one of the big 5 (he helped us see all of them) you could tell how excited he was to see them. During the trip we had spent 5 hours looking for a leopard (the rarest of the big 5 to see). We were then on a fishing and archery activity when a radio call alerted the rangers that a leopard had been spotted, we dropped everything and got taken to the leopard sighting on an extra game drive! It was a fantastic experience to see such a beautiful creature, Sevie allowed us to spend so much time watching it before dropping us back to the lodge. My partner who was not on the trip then got taken out by a different ranger with another group to get the chance to see it. All the rangers really go the extra mile to provide all the guests with a great experience!

Finally not to forget on our second night we were surprised by a birthday cake for my partner! We were totally surprised by this, and the cake (handmade) was absolutely delicious! It really made her feel special and we are so grateful to Pumba staff for this!

Throughout our stay we were always treated on a personal level, everyone seemed to know who you were and knew little gems of information to improve your stay. I would highly recommend this game reserve and will definitely be looking to come back in the near future!

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Chris E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PEHotelGroup, Online Marketer at Pumba Private Game Reserve, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Thank you for your review, insight and support. We are absolutely thrilled you enjoyed your time here with us and will certainly pass on the appreciation to your ranger. Thank you again for your recommendation. Looking forward to welcoming you back in the near future!
Kind Regards

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Pumba Private Game Reserve

Address: 2) Highlands (just off N | (100 kms from Port Elizabeth), Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
Region: South Africa > Eastern Cape > Grahamstown
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 33 Speciality Lodging in Grahamstown
Price Range: R6 592 - R16 246 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Pumba Private Game Reserve 5*
Number of rooms: 23
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Awake to the sounds of the African bushveld as the sun makes its appearance on the horizon, bringing with it the prospect of another perfect day. Eco friendly Pumba, a proud member of the Green Leaf Conservation Initiative, is set in the malaria-free Eastern Cape and provides an intimate African safari experience never to be forgotten. The reserve is home to Africa's Big Five as well as rare white lion, hippo, hyena, cheetah, giraffes, various antelope and more than 300 bird species. Feel the heartbeat of nature as you explore the reserve in custom landrovers or on guided walking safaris. Water Lodge offers 12 waterfront chalets overlooking Lake Cariega while Bush Lodge is set on a floodplain with scenic mountain views, offering 11 luxury thatch and glass chalets. All Chalets open onto private game-viewing decks boasting plunge pools and outdoor showers. The indulgent bathrooms offer free-standing tubs and double basins, and each room is fitted with an earthenware fireplace. Whether dining indoors or under the starlit sky, meals at Pumba are simply sublime. Enjoy African fusion cuisine with an Eastern Cape flair, complemented by a superb selection of local wines from our Director's Cellar. Revitalise body and mind in the Soul Spa or enjoy a workout in the glass-enclosed gym at Bush Lodge. Other activities include bird watching, bass fishing, stargazing, archery as well as nearby horse riding and golf. An hour from Port Elizabeth and 15 minutes from Grahamstown. WiFi. TGCSA 5-star Lodge. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Pumba Private Game Reserve Hotel Port Elizabeth

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