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Reviewed 26 September 2018

We stayed for 2 nights in this wonderful camp and it was a fantastic introduction to the African bush. The camp is small and intimate, with only 4 tents and a maximum of 8 guests. There is no electricity so everything is lit by oil lamps, water is heated from a fire lit by the staff during the evening game drive and a kettle full of water boils continuously on the camp fire always ready for tea and coffee. All this means a total escape from reality and produces a wonderful ambience.

We were fabulously looked after by the staff who cooked excellent meals for breakfast and dinner, plus rusks before the morning game drive and afternoon tea with cake. Isaac, our driver and Wonder Boy, our tracker, excelled in finding game and we saw four of the big five during our first drive. On a subsequent drive we quietly waited by a pair of lions who finally mated. Remembering the roars they, and other lions on the reserve made, still makes my hairs stand on end.

We were also able to go on bush walks accompanied by Isaac and Wonder and learned much more about the plants and animals in Manyaleti, including what to look for when tracking. But I would never be able to spot the wildlife like those two pros!

Although the trees and shrubs are less prevalent on Manyaleti there were still plenty of animals on each of the drives and walks which made them easier to spot, well for most of us anyway. And we were never bothered by other vehicles, which made us feel like the only people on the reserve. A truly wonderful experience.

Room tip: There are only 4 tents so each has a good outlook.
Date of stay: September 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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1  Thank MATTNottinghamUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2018

A lovely Bush trip. Michelle and Rob and staff were great. Meeting people from all over the globe was really nice. Wish I could live this life for good. The sightings were incredible. 2 leopard, mating lions, lion brothers, etc. Thank you!

Date of stay: September 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
2  Thank jmundy770450
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2018

It is our second time in Manyaleti and really enjoyed our stay. The atmospheare at the camp is so nice but I missed a dinner in the boma, around a fire.... Only 4 tents, very comfortable and warm, even if it was winter and no electricity. We really loved our stay.

Date of stay: August 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Thank Silvia P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2018 via mobile

Our family of five spent two nights in this beautiful camp and would happily have spent many more. Full of heart, hospitality and ambience, and with all the sounds and smells of the African bush surrounding you, the Pungwe bush camp was a perfect way to experience safari life!

Date of stay: August 2018
Trip type: Travelled with family
3  Thank astrima
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 July 2018

My wife and I enjoyed a 2 night stay in late June which for us perfectly rounded off what was an extended stay at various lodges in the greater Kruger area. Finding affordable, authentic bush camps in prime game viewing areas is I my experience akin to searching for hen’s teeth. In this respect discovering both Pungwe and the wider Manyeleti reserve proved to be very fruitful indeed as both in my opinion can be considered hidden gems.

As I researched the history of the reserve itself I found that it has had a colourful past and due to the unsavoury politics of the time was for many years somewhat neglected or even shunned as a safari destination. It has certainly never been afforded the level of marketing or exposure to the international tourist trade as its more illustrious and well known neighbours. This is despite the fact the Manyeleti reserve enjoys an enviable geographical position between and unfenced to the KNP, northern Sabi Sands and southern Timbavati.

Another major advantage to visitors is the relative low density of game lodges currently operating in the reserve. This often means that you rarely see another game vehicle when out on drive which in turn means that longer can be spent at sightings in comparison to areas or reserves where there is a high lodge/vehicle ratio. Furthermore the internal squabbles of landowners does not seem to have surfaced as yet or if so not to the extent of sections in the neighbouring Sabi Sands. This means currently each lodge regardless of price point can traverse the whole reserve rather than be confined to a specific traverse within a larger area. To have the degree of land access to explore at Pungwe’s nightly room rate is serious value for money in game viewing terms.

The landscape in the Manyeleti is also noticeably more open and plains driven in places than other areas. It might be a stretch but to me there were vistas in the Manyeleti that we passed through that were more East Africa Savannah than South African bushveld. We enjoyed the topography of the reserve very much. Over our 4 game drives we saw 4 of the big five (no buffalo) but with Lions on every drive and Leopard on 3 out of 4 drives including one particular sighting which proved to be an extremely close shave for a very fortunate Impala

Pungwe itself is my type of bush experience. The camp is rustic yet luxurious. How can this be as surely this is a contradiction in terms? Well not necessarily because for me luxury is in the eye of the beholder. Is the camp materialistically luxurious? Perhaps not yet it certainly is perfectly comfortable for all but those with the most fragile of sensibilities. Spoiler alert… Pungwe is not for you if you are bound by butler service, spas, massages, splash pools and an unhealthy predilection to be ‘online’ at all times.

However in terms what I deem to be the important safari prerequisites then Pungwe is first class. It has modern glamping tents, comfortable beds and a warm shower. The price is in relative terms affordable yet the camp is very exclusive. (4 tents/ 8 guests max) The food is seriously delicious and plentiful, the service on the whole is friendly and attentive and most importantly the game viewing experience will certainly not disappoint.

Not to end on a sour note but it should be noted that there was at times a laissez-faire attitude adopted by our guide not in keeping with the rest of the staff; particularly so when Michel the boss was not around. Both mornings our guide slept in and so the expected camp wake up calls never came and thus we were quite late in departing on the morning drives. Similarly we were instructed that it was bedtime on our last night despite us all being still engaged and sat around the communal area after dinner with our nightcaps. Maybe he was having a bad couple of days but it is the only time we encountered these type of situations at any camp we have stayed at.

I have put these discrepancies to the back of my mind as the overriding feeling from our time at Pungwe was satisfaction and a hope that Pungwe change very little else about the camp so we can find it just where we left it on our next visit which will hopefully be sooner rather than later.

Date of stay: June 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank roeboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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