Pungwe Safari Camp is a small intimate authentic safari camp which brings back the essence of a true safari experience. Our comfortable en-suite meru-style tents are reminiscent of days when safaris were all about the sights, sounds and smells of the bush. Our camp is about the bush, the animals, the unique experiences and the subsequent regaling of these by the iconic fireside.
Our guided morning safaris and bush walks put you in touch with the bush, immerse you in your surroundings and enable you to encounter wildlife at a unique level. Our afternoon/evening game drives ensure that your sightings are up-close and personal.
The perfect combination to create lasting memories.
It’s about more than just the search for the Big Five - even though there is always a good likelihood of seeing these iconic wildlife species….. It’s about connecting with the wilderness, understanding its nuances and learning its ways. And sometimes, a safari in the Manyeleti is about stopping, turning off the game viewer’s engine and sitting quietly, absorbing the spirit of wild Africa, its sights, sounds and sensations, rejuvenating the wilderness deep in your soul.
South Africa’s True Hidden Gem
The notion of an undiscovered wilderness, far from the madding crowds is something every traveller on safari dreams about. Tucked away in a quiet corner of South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park, the Manyeleti Game Reserve is that dream made reality.
In the local Shangaan/Xitsonga language Manyeleti means “place of stars” which for those who venture to explore its 23,000ha of rolling, African bushveld landscapes quickly translates into “heaven”. Wedged between the Kruger National Park’s game rich Orpen region, the Sabi Sand private nature reserve and the Timbavati Nature Reserve, the stars of the Manyeleti are both above and below, from the vaulted night skies of the Milky Way to the fabled Big Five, and so much more.
The Manyeleti was established as a game reserve in 1963 at the height of apartheid in South Africa. During these dark, racially segregated times, it was the only game reserve in the country where anyone classified as non-white was welcome because of its location in what was then Gazankulu, a former black homeland.
Accommodation at Pungwe Safari Camp
With only four tents Pungwe offers privacy and personal attention in an authentic African setting. Our large en-suite tents offer either twin beds or large king-size beds, cotton linen and fluffy duvets to luxuriate in. The en-suite bathrooms feature stand-alone showers, baths, flushing toilets and African inspired hand basins.
With only four tents Pungwe offers privacy and personal attention in an authentic African setting. Our large en-suite tents offer either twin beds or large king-size beds, cotton linen and fluffy duvets to luxuriate under. The en-suite bathrooms feature stand-alone showers, baths, flushing toilets and African-inspired hand basins. Hot water is provided by a “donkey boiler”- a wood-fired water heating system that has been used in bush camps across Africa for decades, providing a true “off grid”experience.
Spacious and airy, with tiled floors and thatching above to help keep things cool in the summer and warm in the winter, the tents evoke the spirit of the great explorers with their rustic charm and old-world style. At night, the tents are lit with oil lamps, adding to that authentic ambience. We provide a high-powered rechargeable LED light as well for reading. Each tent has its own private verandah where you can sit and contemplate the wonder of the African wilderness that surrounds the camp. It’s the perfect spot from which to do some birding or enjoy a cup of coffee between activities.
Limited investment was made by government into the Manyeleti’s infrastructure and as a result, it remained one of the country’s best-kept secrets - a wildlife Eden completely off the tourism radar that received very few visitors but offered the ultimate, authentic bush experience.
The fall of apartheid and the dawn of democracy positioned South Africa - the Rainbow Nation we know and love today - as one of the world’s premier tourism destinations. At the same time processes were put in place to offer restitution to displaced communities in the form of land claims and beneficiaries who had lived in the area are the prospective owners of the reserve.
A small number of concessions in the reserve are operated by private safari businesses which has helped to open the reserve up to international tourism. A Manyeleti safari directly benefits local communities as a result of this.
There are no fences between the Manyeleti and its neighbours (Sabi Sands, Timabavati and Kruger National Park) This allows the wildlife to roam freely and with 200km of gravel roads to explore and so few lodges and game vehicles, safaris on the Manyeleti offer a truly exclusive experience.
Guided Morning Walking Safaris
Set out on foot just as the sunlight touches the horizon, feel the dew drops as you walk on animal tracks in search of a feeling that only a walking safari can give you, that inexplicable feeling felt by so many before that still captivates us, connects us and allows us to feel at one with nature. You will not only see the bush, but get to touch, taste and smell it as well, a true safari of the senses.
Our qualified, armed guides will share their intimate knowledge of the bush and each animal encounter will remain etched in your memory long after your travels have ended.
Open Vehicle Safaris
In the afternoon and into the evening, using spotlights, our experienced guides will share all the sights and sounds of the Manyeleti Reserve with you. From the echoing call of the Monotonous Lark, to the infectious greeting of a pack of Wild Dogs reuniting after a hunt, you will see and hear things that only a safari in the African bush can deliver. If you want to capture your experiences, and the look that that leopard gave you, in pictures, the evening safaris are a delight.
Our guides will take you off-road for close-up sightings of lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and stately elephants.
What to Bring
For walking we suggest that you bring comfortable shoes or boots, shorts and/or long trousers and long sleeved shirts and/or t-shirts in neutral khaki, green or brown colours as bright colours on walks are inadvisable. A hat is essential. Around the camp and on game drives sandals or casual shoes are sufficient. It is advisable to bring a jacket and jersey for those cooler times of day and particularly in the winter months. Other useful items to bring on safari include a torch with batteries, sun screen, insect repellent, cameras and binoculars and any medication you might need. The camp does have a medical first aid kit with basic medication.
The Manyeleti Game Reserve is a relatively low risk malaria area, but we strongly advise that you check with your doctor to find out what malaria tablets you will need, and when you should commence the course.
Double bedded room en-suite bathroom, rustic wardrobe, easy chair, tea and coffee station. Each room has a small veranda from which guests can relax while bird watching or just absorbing the true essence of the bush.
Only available in conjunction with a full camp booking. With en-suite bathroom, shower only. This chalet is slightly smaller and can be fitted with double bed or 2 single beds. This chalet is more rustic, but with all the necessities. Tea/ coffee station.
- If cancelling 30 days before arrival, forfeit 100% of the booking total.
- If cancelling 45 days before arrival, forfeit 50% of the booking total.
- If cancelling 60 days before arrival, forfeit 25% of the booking total.
From Johannesburg (R22), proceed towards Belfast. Exit the N4 at the Belfast intersection, enter the town and turn right at the second stop sign in the direction of Dullstroom (R540). Continue to Lyndenburg via Dullstrrom. In Lyndenburg turn left and take the R36 to Orighstad. Continue in the direction of Hoedspruit via the Abel Erasmus Pass and the JG Stijdom Tunnel. Shortly after crossing the Blyde River, turn right in the direction of Orpen (R531). Continue past the Klaserie turn-off to the Orpen Gate signpost. Turn left at the Orpen Gate signpost and continue on this road (still R531), pass the South African Wildlife College on your left and continue on the tar road until you see the Orpen boom gate entrance to the KNP in front of you. Just before the boom gate you will see sign posts to the Manyeleti Game Reserve and Pungwe Safari Camp, turn right to the entrance of the Manyeleti Game Reserve. Proceed on for 200 meters to the Manyeleti entrance gate where an entrance fee of R55 per person is payable. Once in the reserve follow the Pungwe signs. Just stick to the main road. Pungwe is about 30km from the gate where you entered.
Take the R40 heading northwards in the direction of Hoedspruit/Phalaborwa for approximately 70km and the turn right onto the R531 towards the Orpen Gate. Continue on the R531, pass the South African Wildlife College on your left and continue on the tar road until you see the Orpen boom gate entrance to the KNP in front of you. Just before the boom gate you will see sign posts to the Manyeleti Game Reserve and Pungwe Safari Camp, turn right to the entrance of the Manyeleti Game Reserve. Proceed on for 200 meters to the Manyeleti entrance gate where an entrance fee of R55 per person is payable. Once in the reserve follow the Pungwe signs. Just stick to the main road. Pungwe is about 30km from the gate where you entered.
PLEASE DO NOT FOLLOW YOUR GPS DIRECTIONS FROM HAZYVIEW OR HOEDSPRUIT AS THEY WILL DIRECT TOWARDS ROADS THAT ARE INACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC.
Children aged 6 – 12 are only allowed in the lodge if a minimum of 6 adults are booked in the same reservation as the children.
Children between the ages of 13 and 18 are accommodated if sharing with at least one adult.