SA: Manyaleti – Pungwe Bush Lodge – April 2024

Pungwe is a small intimate authentic safari camp which brings back the essence of a true safari experience. The comfortable en-suite meru-style tents are reminiscent of days when safaris were all about the sights, sounds and smells of the bush. The camp is about the bush, the animals, the unique experiences and the subsequent regaling of these by the iconic fireside. Pungwe Safari Camp is situated in the southern part of the 22 000 hectare Big 5 Manyeleti Reserve. Pungwe shares unfenced boundaries with two world renowned reserves, the Sabi Sand Reserve to the south and the Kruger National Park to the east, allowing for free movement of wildlife between the three reserves. This ensures that Pungwe's guests will be privy to some spectacular game viewing without having to share the sightings with numerous other visitors. Guided morning walking safaris puts you in touch with the bush, immerses you in your surroundings and enable you to encounter wildlife at a unique level. Afternoon/evening game drives ensure that sightings are up-close and personal. The perfect combination to create lasting memories. The 4 en-suite meru-styled tents at Pungwe offer simple elegant comfort, security, hot (via donkey burners) and cold running water for baths or showers and an exceptional feeling of truly being in the African bush. Only under canvas will you not only hear, but feel the roar of the lion, the throaty cough of a leopard and the Fiery Necked Nightjar celebrating the night.

🙂 Rustic Charm. Lions on a kill

🙁 Rain, Rain, Rain!

The Manyaleti Game Reserve is a quick 7Km drive from Orpen Gate. We were delighted to finally stay at Pungwe as Michel Gardin has been telling us for ages how special this camp is. A last minute cancellation had resulted in a very special rate which resulted in us cancelling our last two nights in Kruger in order to eagerly take advantage of this kind offer.

Our arrival was WET – VERY WET! Torrential! But we received a warm welcome and chatted while the rain did not subside … !

We sat down with Michel and a lovely family from Belgium – well sort of from Belgium… Alain and his daughter, Natalie lived in Cape Town but he was doing business on Pemba Island in Tanzania and also had interests in Madagascar. They were great company. Unfortunately the rain was relentless which meant that our afternoon drive was a No – Go. Our tents were spacious and comfortable.

Food was delicious – Carol is the 23 year old Chef who presented the courses every evening.

The next morning the rain had abated but came and went during the drive. Unsurprisingly sightings were sparse and we had our coffee stop at a lookout point under shelter.

When we got back we enjoyed brunch followed by a well earned nap. We then went to the main area and played Pigs with Alain and Natalie who really enjoyed the game, so we gave it to them to keep.

There are two rhino skulls bearing the evidence of poaching 🙁 Bullet holes in the first and the second shows where the horn was hacked off by a blade. 🙁

We spotted an interesting caterpillar with fans and hairs …we could not identify it until we got home and looked it up in my SA Insect book.

That afternoon a Dutch couple called Danny & Leonie arrived unexpectedly which put Camp in a bit of a tizz… we were very relaxed and they were a lovely couple. We set off on our afternoon game drive with low expectations as it was still very wet. Fortunately our luck turned an we found the Nazza Pride on a buffalo kill. Very smelly but a good sighting!

We enjoyed our sundowners before heading back for another good meal – we could hear a leopard sawing in the distance while we ate … we turned in for an early night.

The next morning we were up again at 05h30 – a hyena was prowling around camp…. Despite the rain on our game drive were treated with a lovely buffalo and rhino sighting to end our trip.

We enjoyed our coffee stop before heading back for our final brunch.

We had enjoyed a lovely stay despite the weather being dreadful! We will just need to come back and enjoy the camp in better weather! We will be back! 🙂

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