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Bush experience like no other at Pumba

The scenic town of Grahamstown in Eastern Cape is completely surrounded by nature and game reserves. Included in these is the Pumba private reserve, tucked away just 15 minutes from town. Though one of the smallest, the reserve is perfect for a working journo to unwind and forget about crazy newsroom deadlines.

On my recent work visit to cover the National Arts Festival, I found time to explore the area's natural beauty via Pumba reserve. The Big Five facility is famed for its white lions.

Accommodation is diverse and divided into main establishments - Bush Lodge and Water Lodge, which is on the shores of Cariega lake. Both lodges, developed from 2004 by Trevor Lombard and Dale Howarth, offer well-secured thatch chalets. Some of the chalets are deeper in the bush, for those who seek more intimate connection with nature. I was
accommodated in one the chalets of the Bush Lodge. The chalets are mainly glass enclosed, to allow guests all-round gaze at wildlife around the clock. The rooms are luxurious, with beautiful furniture and all modern accessories you can think of, including free WiFi.

Even better, you can take an outdoor shower while watching antelopes walk by. Your privacy is never compromised by this, even when you choose to sit in the plunge pool in the viewing deck.

Each chalet has its own private bush setting, and you can sit in the patio watching the sun rise in the breeze of fresh and clean air. The caring staff add to the warmth and beauty of the place, making you feel better than being at home!

My stay was short, but turned out to be just what the doctor had ordered. When you're done admiring the beauty of the area, you can enjoy African cuisine ranging from springbok stew, pork chops and bobotie served with your favourite starch.

The reserve is only 6500ha big and teeming with wildlife, which means the chances of spotting game, including Big Five, are high. At night you can hear a lion roar so close you would swear it was literally on your doorstep.

The reserve also has a spa centre, where you can revitalise the body and mind on a different level. The Soul Spa also includes a well equipped gym.

Pumba recently got recognised by Somak Holidays as one of the Top 5 Safari Destinations in Africa.

On our last day, we took a two -hour game drive with a ranger. It was a pleasure to spot elephants, giraffe, big antelopes eland and wildebeest, and smaller ones like impala and blesbok, warthhog and 13 year old lion called Themba.

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