So we’ve finally got round to writing a post about our safari!! From beginning to end it was nothing short of amazing.
We were picked up on Thursday (19th) by Andre who would be transferring usto Pumba Private Game Reserve. Gone was the cramped and hot baz bus, we would be traveling in style in a Range Rover compete with TVs, air con and drinks for us! Our journey took around an hour and a half most all of which the conversation took a turn to rugby (shock) but before long we were pulling in to the driveway of our destination. Pumba Private Game Reserve.
Andre dropped us off at the reception building where we checked in and waited for our transfer to the lodge, not long after our transfer appeared in the form of a Land Rover safari truck so we piled our bags in and climbed up into the truck and headed off to the Msenge Bush Lodge where we would be staying. The two rangers in the truck told us that the drive would take about 20 minutes so we sat back and enjoyed the ride. Not two minutes in to the drive we came across a pack of white lions, a mother and her four cubs, it was amazing to see them in the wild and so soon into our trip. Another few minutes down the road and we were faced with a road block, a huge gathering of giraffes fighting in the road, so we stopped turned of the engine and waited for them to move across the road which eventually they did. So after a fairly eventful drive we arrived at the bush lodge where we were greeted with more drinks and a tour of the lodge and the facilities before being shown to our room. Everything about the place was breathtaking, from the view of restaurant that went out over the open plains, the infinity pool that was right next to a watering hole to our room that was glass walled on each side and had our own private pool. It felt like we were in heaven on earth!
We quickly took in our surroundings explored the room, and the free minibar before heading up for lunch.
The food was on a whole other level! Some of the nicest food I’ve ever eaten, 3 courses for each meal breakfast, lunch and dinner. We found ourselves looking forward to each meal trying to guess what it would be. My personal favourite were the soups! (And I’m not a soup person but they were amazing)
Once lunch was over we had an hour or so wait until our game drive at 4.30pm (everyday we had 2 game drives, one at 6.30am and one at 4.30pm) when we weren’t on game drives the day was our own to do whatever we wanted, sunbathe, swim, go to the spa, etc although we spent the most time sunbathing and sleeping.
So full from lunch we headed out on our first game drive with our ranger who would be with us our whole trip, Sethu, it was just the two of us for our first drive although there would be more joining us over the next couple of days. Sethu quickly explained the rules before we headed out amongst the animals which included no standing in the vehicle (the animals are used to the trucks and they view the truck and the people inside as one so when you stand up you break the unit and they can become aggressive or frightened) and no making noises to try and get the animals attention (if they aren’t intrested in getting a good picture tough!). With the rules explained off we went, we were very excited for our first drive and it didn’t dissapoint, although the weather wasn’t great (wind and rain!) we saw 2 male white lions, 3 rhinos (two enormous females and a baby), a handful of wildebeest with their calves, lots of giraffe, zebra, one lonely tortoise, countless impala, kudu and nyala and plenty of Kenny’s favourite .. warthogs compete with their adorable babies! All in 2 and a half hours and we stopped for a beer along the way!
Once we were back in the lodge we headed out to the fire pit to warm up from our rather chilly drive and check out the menu for dinner. Food chosen, dinner time booked and much warmer than when we’d arrived we went and showered and got ready for dinner. We had to call reception to ask for the ranger to walk us back to the restaurant (you have to have a ranger escort you in the evening when it gets dark, even though it’s less than 50m, as this is when the leopards and hyenas are most active) which I thought was a bit excessive however when we found out that another couple had found a leopard sitting on their deck one evening I decided that I much preferred walking with a ranger! After eating the most amazing dinner we headed back for a good nights sleep ready for our early start at 6.30am.
Up bright and early ready for our first early morning drive we headed to the meeting point where we met up with Sethu and another couple who would be joining our drive. After a quick recap of the rules we set off to find some lions, after what seemed ages of driving and seeing nothing, not even an antelope I spotted the pack of lions sleeping right by the side of the road. The mum with her four cubs and one of the male white lions. It’s amazing how completely unbothered they are by the trucks you can get so close and they don’t bat an eyelid although they are watching you the whole time. After we’d taken all the photos we could we headed off in search of more animals, we spotted some more giraffe and a couple of hippo that were in the water before we stopped for a hot chocolate close to the giraffe. We headed back to the lodge for breakfast (which was amazing as per usual) before heading back to the room to sunbathe and chill out before lunch and our afternoon game drive.
After another delicious lunch ( starting to feel fatter by the second) and watching the elephants play around at the water hole from the restaurant we headed out on the second drive of the day. A fairly quiet drive but we did spot lots of elephant, giraffe and antelope before stopping for our beer before heading back for dinner.
After another delicious dinner we headed back, escorted by our ranger of course, to our room for the night ready for an early night before our early start. However the hyenas had other ideas and for half an hour all we could hear were their distinctive laughing calls from what sounded like right outside our room. Nothing like a reminder of how close to nature you are.
Our last full day at Pumba and another 6.30 start, now with a full truck of 6 of us we headed out in search of animals. We quickly came across a pack of 5 lions who were sunbathing in the early morning sun waiting for their mum to return who had gone out to hunt. They weren’t interested in us at all and barely even bothered to look up when the trucks approached them. We hung around for a while in the hope that the mum might return but she didn’t so we headed of and we’re quickly greeted by more giraffe including 2 babies (who were still 5/6ft tall) and then 3 gorgeous rhinos grazing on the plain. They were totally unfazed by us and just carried on their business of mowing the grass. It was amazing to see them so close when so few still exist in the wild. With enough excitement for one drive we headed back to the lodge for breakfast where we filled up and headed back to the room to sunbathe until lunch. I spent a little bit of time after lunch going through and editing some of the photos I had taken throughout the trip so far before we headed out on our penultimate drive of the safari.
So cameras ready we headed out and almost straight away came across a herd of elephant eating amongst the trees. We parked up and watched them for about half an hour while they broke down trees and Sethu explained how they live in a herd of mainly females with one alpha female. The herd had 2 young elephants and a real baby elephant with them which were adorable to watch. They were also accompanied by an enormous bull elephant who was taking down trees left right and centre as he made his way through the bushes. Eventually we headed off leaving them to their lunch. We quickly saw scores of impala and their babies, kudu, nyala, wildebeest and more giraffe before stopping and waiting for a repair vehicle as ours had something coming loose underneath. We had a few beers as we waited and joked about being stuck in the wild, before long a replacement vehicle arrived and we started the drive back to the lodge. 10 minutes later we came across a road block in the form of a herd of elephant, we pulled up alongside an enormous bull elephant who Sethu told us was in musk and we should leave alone so we quietly moved forwards only be blocked in by a huge female. Now it’s great to be within touching distance of these amazing animals but I was starting to feel a bit nervous about just how close they were. We spotted the baby elephant and her mum behind our truck and watched as they walked around the side and crossed in front of us before heading of into the bush. The next minute the enormous bull elephant that we had decided to stay away from was walking right by the side of the truck and stopped right by the front. Sethu told us to be quiet and not to move as he watched us and began to rub the front of the truck with his trunk. We quickly realised he was more interested in scratching himself on the truck than us but still even just scratching his trunk he was swaying the truck from one side to the other. When he eventually finished and walked off into the bushes we all started to breathe again before we started laughing about the incident. We quickly arrived back at the lodge where a stiff drink was definitely in need before a quick shower and change of clothes for dinner and our last of the trip! After dinner we headed back for our last night in paradise ready to get up early for our last game drive.
Our last day on safari! We woke up bright and early to head of on our last drive. We were the only 2 on the drive as the other couples opted for a lie in. So of we went in the blazing morning sun on our last hunt for animals. The first thing we came across was a very large male brown lion, the first brown lion we had seen all Safari who was quickly joined by his mum. Although they weren’t to interested in us they were more bothered about sleeping in the sun! We headed off spotting more giraffe, wildebeest and some more warthogs with their babies. Just as we thought it was getting very quiet we stumbled across a buffalo! The first of our trip he didn’t stick around very long though and was quickly off into the bushes but it was good to see another one of the big 5. We also managed to spot a herd of zebra (my favourite) before we got back to the lodge. By the time we got back it was almost 9 and we were checking out at half 10, shock we hadn’t packed a thing, so after a quick breakfast we rushed back to the room and quickly packed up before our transfer arrived to take us back to reception where Andre would be collecting us to take us back to PE.
Bags packed and ready to go we boarded the truck for the last time as it drove us to reception. We managed to catch a glimpse of some more elephants on the way to reception a great way to end our trip!
We were welcomed at reception by Andre who was all ready with his air con to take us back to PE in style.
We were definitely sad to leave after such an amazing few days but I’m sure if time and money allows us we will be back again.