Safari; Pumba Private Game Reserve ο»Ώ

Safari selfie!
Well well well… who the heck knew it was so cold in Africa?! My top tip for anyone travelling to South Africa would be to make sure you pack layers! I almost didn’t, but thanks to a friend who was out in Cape Town a few days before us – when the weather was cloudy and windy – I last minute threw in my mac and some leggings to the suitcase and I am SO glad I did – or I’d have been freezing on safari in shorts!! Fortunately, when it’s super cold they give you hot water bottles and fleece lined ponchos on the game drives.. (They also put hot water bottles in bed at turn down time, and left short little bedtime stories!! – LUSH 😍 I slept SO well on Safari what with all the cosyness and big beautiful comfy bed and thick heavy duvet!)

BFG++++ sized poncho?!

We had chosen (with the aid of our travel agent) Pumba Private Game Reserve for safari and I am SO glad we did. What an incredible place. It is considered one of the “smaller” game reserves at only 6,500 hectares.. πŸ™„πŸ˜‚ but we absolutely couldn’t (really*) fault it… * the “really” being there was a few odd elements of disorganisation but they were more just weird rather than an issue of any sorts. We loved it at Pumba and will definitely be back… now please?!

Beautiful unknown flower found at Pumba Water Lodges

There are two options of accommodation at Pumba – the water lodges and bush lodges. We stayed at water lodge which meant we looked out over a big watering hole were there were hippo’s. Obviously, because of where we stayed I would say this was the best lodge, but really I don’t think there is any difference between the two. Bush lodge, as per the name, is surrounded by bush… Each lodge seemed to be huge, all with log burners, beautiful big, cosy beds, huge showers and baths and massive patio’s with plunge pools. It was amazing and I didn’t want to leave our little home! And one of the things we loved the most – not a television in sight, anywhere. It meant  we chatted and had drinks and a laugh with the other guests there at the same time us as rather than dozing off at night to random foreign tv. Bliss!

Pano of our room. Ensuite off to the left.

Depending what activities you get yourselves involved in between game drives, you can visit the other lodges. You can have lunch or dinner at whichever lodge you aren’t staying at if you want, but I imagine they’re pretty similar. There are loads of extra curricular activities to get involved with if you like. We had a good go at archery (loved it!)


2020 Olympics here I [don’t] come.. 🏹

…And I even ate a termite at one point!!


There seemed to be no rhyme or reason (we suspected when sightings were low 😒) but on a couple of occasions we had sundowner cocktails and nibbles, or morning warmers (hot chocolate with Amurula 🀀) which was a nice little way to chat and make friends with not only our jeep “full” (we mostly only had one other couple.. and following on from Cape Town blog, of course they were Irish πŸ˜‰πŸ˜…) but also whoever else we pulled up next to. Our jeep, was Team Ingwe πŸ†πŸ˜Š We had a brilliant Ranger, Daniel who was a laugh, taught us some Afrikaans and would crack us up with things like “this warthog died naturally – he was naturally caught and eaten by the lions.” 🀣

Team Ingwe! πŸ†
Sundowners 🍷πŸ₯‚πŸΎπŸΉπŸ₯ƒ
At Pumba, they have the “Big 5” so if you’re lucky, you’ll see them all. We got the “Big 4” as the leopards didn’t fancy playing game – and hadn’t been seen for 2.5 weeks or so prior to our arrival! We were sad not to see one, but as James always says, you’ve got to leave something to come back for (as if I needed an excuse for more Safari!)

Nevertheless, I spent the few days we had on Safari having an incredible time, seeing and falling in love with ALL the animals and amusing myself with some great animal selfies {see below}…! (We did see Cheetah πŸ† too but not close enough for a selfie! πŸ˜‚)

I’m just gonna finish up with a super emotional little story.. When we arrived at Pumba, sadly an elephant had passed away. Conveniently however, the elephant had done so in a ditch right by one of the main drive routes which meant we got to see the lion’s waiting for the skin to soften to eat said elephant, super close. On our last day though, another lone (male) elephant stumbled upon the dead elephant and we got to see him spend a few minutes saying his goodbyes – trunk touching the dead elephant, just like a human might touch a coffin or a gravestone. SO EMOTIONAL – definitely my spirit animal!! 🐘😭😭

Monkey Selfie! πŸ’πŸ€³πŸ½
Elephant selfie! 🐘🀳🏽
Rhinoceros selfie! 🦏🀳🏽
Impala selfie! 🦌🀳🏽
Giraffe selfie! (😩) 🀳🏽
(Female) white lion selfie! 🦁🀳🏽
Millicent Millipede 😁

We will definitely be back 😍 x

Cape Town – Travel Blogging.. ο»Ώ

Emirates Business Class lounge 😍

I know people think I am completely insane forking out for business class… but for long haul/long haul night flights; it is entirely worth it. Also for the [far too short] complimentary 15 minute massage I just had at the lounge in Cape Town 😍. I will happily eat the most basic of supermarket spaghetti hoops (not a beans fan!!) for a year in order to pay for this. Ever since our honeymoon, I’ve swelled up massively when flying long haul in economy, and for a flat bed and some much needed sleep (prior to this trip in particular I hadn’t slept properly for 6 weeks.. I was beyond exhausted and strongly suspect my fainting and heart palpitations where a result of this..) – anything over 7/8 hours: put me in business + please and thank you..!!

Furthermore – when we finally landed in Capetown, and got to our hotel by 7.20pm, we were mostly so refreshed that we were able to have a quick hop-in-hop-out shower and head straight out for 8pm dinner. Winner.

One thing we did notice in South Africa, without prejudice, was the insane amounts of Irish people also on holiday out there..! I am pretty well travelled, but I have never in my life come into contact with SO many Irish people!! Can anyone enlighten us as to why?! I know this sounds an odd thing to say but James and I were both just so surprised! I do love the Irish accent though – so was pretty pleased πŸ˜‰πŸ™ƒπŸ˜‚.

As always with my travel blogs, I’m splitting up for (hopeful) easy reading:

Hotel – Southern Sun: The Cullinan

The Cullinan pool 😍

Couldn’t recommend this hotel more! Fairly sure it was some kind of crazy bargain at Β£80p/n or whatnot, decent (albeit standard) buffet style breakfast included. There’s also a super cute pool area, and a coffee bar come cafe and restaurant, that, while we didn’t eat in either (no time!), looked really nice. The Cullinan is 4* rated, fairly central and easy to find from the V&A/waterfront. You can happily and safely walk about to and from here during the day. We chose to walk to and from dinner a couple of times – and while we were safe, we were approached by the odd nutter begging for money who wouldn’t leave us alone… it’s a case of standing your ground, and like I said, fortunately the hotel wasn’t too far away!! Taxi’s, however, are super cheap.. I just often felt so tubby (standard, also true!!) I needed to walk as much as possible!

Southern Sun The Cullinan πŸ’–

Dinner and Drinks

Nobu – One and Only Hotel

πŸ“·πŸ’£ Photobombed by the big guy at Nobu

Nobu seems to be not very well known in Capetown – in all my searchings of places to eat, this didn’t crop up once. It was only because a friend went out to Cape Town a week before us that I heard about it. He recommended it as being a fraction of the price of London (/any other) but just as stunning – and it was! 

Nobu Cape Town

Nobu Cape Town is located within the One and Only Hotel. It was about 1.5 miles from our hotel – but easy to find once we had our bearings!

Incredible salmon at Nobu

The food was out of his world. I have never had [uncooked] salmon like it. Everything we ordered was delicious and we were even presented with an extra free pudding for our anniversary – in which the sorbet was mouth wateringly refreshing! I could do with some now as I write this from the warmth of the Seychelles!!

Melting molten chocolate dessert at Nobu 🀀
Free anniversary desert at Nobu! Give me that sorbet please!

Ginja – Waterfront Alfred Mall side

We stopped at Ginja [which I believe is also part of a hotel above] for a quick lunch before our Robben Island tour. We judged it by its cover as per usual, but weren’t disappointed! I had a delicious pear, beetroot, raspberry and lemon juice alongside an absolutely scrumptious musu pork wrap, whilst James had an equally nice open ceaser salad sandwich.


The Codfather – Camps Bay

I’ve hyperlinked the name to this restaurant so you can click and book… now! It was so delicious it is an absolute must visit! 

James is dubbing this the world’s most under-rated restaurant… I think he *could* be right – but don’t tell him!

Oh my gosh I just don’t know where to start! I had spent an age on google finding the best recommended restaurants for South Africa based on trip advisor, lonely planet and the guardian suggestions. There were two in Camps Bay I was interested in – and thankfully, the second kept getting emails bounced back; so I couldn’t make the booking. Their loss; and our gain was huge – The Codfather was incredible! My expectations – despite placings and high ratings on aforementioned review sites – weren’t huge… likely due to the fact there is a fish and chippy somewhere back home with the same name… but this couldn’t be further removed from the greasy backdrop of your average chip shop.

We started our dinner with shared fresh grilled calamari to start. This was accompanied by 4 dipping sauces; garlic butter, lemon butter, sweet chilli and “hot” chilli… we loved them all! And the calamari was some of the best we have both ever tasted (and I LOVE fresh squid!)

Calamari and sauces of dreams at The Codfather 🀀

Next up – you head over to the “fish market”. Your waiter talks you through what’s on offer of the day. You pick what you want and what sized cuts you’d like, you are then given prices (which are beyond crazy cheap) – if you’re not happy, {you can} put things back and pick up, and if you are happy, your choices go to the grill. The waiters are honest and suggest the right amounts for you – your fish then also comes with Chips, rice and Asian style veg. And you get given fresh dipping sauces. We tried a couple of fish we hadn’t tried before – butterfish and king fish included – and weren’t disappointed. 

The fish market at The Codfather πŸ πŸŸπŸ¦‘πŸ™πŸ¦πŸ¦‚
Main is served at The Codfather! 🀀

As necessary, old sweet tooth chunky chubber here (🐷) finished up with a brownie and ice cream – James wasn’t hungry so wouldn’t share so it’s no wonder I’m looking so tubby already. 

Codfather pudding 🍫🍦

Not only was the food incredible – but the service was too. Our waiter and the other waiting staff were friendly and helpful – our waiter even went above and beyond to ensure we got into a safe taxi home. We cannot encourage you to visit this restaurant enough. Go, now, go!!

Happy chubby belly after The Codfather

Paranga – Camps Bay

Paranga 😍

We popped here prior to The Codfather for some seafront sunset “sundowner” drinks. It looked pretty and was right across the road from the beach so was ideal for a gorgeous sunset before wandering up to The Codfather for dinner.

Sunset from Paranga
Sundowners at Paranga

Pigalle – Somerset Square

I booked Pigalle as it had come up on my searches of “best South African restaurants”… it was nice, and I had Springbok which tasted incredible, but it wouldn’t be my first place to head back to. I was expecting more of an African feel to the place with its live music, but it didn’t feel it.. if anything the place felt a bit confused. I didn’t go to either but I think Gold/Marco’s African Place was more what I was looking for in terms of an African vibe. Pigalle was good food though, and a nice evening nonetheless, and the staff/service was wonderful.

Entrance to Pigalle
Definitely chubbier! Pigalle, Somerset Square

I would urge you all to book both Table Mountain and the Robben Island trips for as soon as possible after you have arrived – both of these are susceptible to cancellations due to weather – if it is too windy ferries will not depart to the island (just days before we arrived there was an incident where one started sinking!) and wind as well as cloud affects Table Mountain cable cars (plus, not much point hiking if the cloud is covering the view!)

Stunning Table Mountain views (of Camps Bay)

Robben Island and the Walk to Freedom – [booked via Ilios Travel]

Now… I had no expectations of this tour.. and yet still I feel disappointed.. I think James was a bit too. I’m not really sure what it is we felt we were disappointed about, but we just were.

“Freedom cannot be manacled” – arrival at Robben Island

Our tour was pre-booked with our travel agent in the U.K., so done through Ilios Travel in Cape Town. We were picked up early from our hotel for a full day trip with several other couples (including ALL the Irish πŸ˜πŸ˜‚) – the morning including visiting  Bo-Kaap, the Langa Township and finding out more about District 6 and the apartheid. This was interesting and included a stop at a little arts/crafting centre which takes on apprentices every year to help aid professions. I bought a couple of things here and wanted a little more, but time (As usual πŸ™„!) Meant the bus nearly left without me! 

Fun, bright Bo-Kaap!

We then had a little time to have some lunch before our boat to Robben Island… annoyingly we found out just after lunch that our trip to Robben Island had been cancelled due to choppy seas… 1 in 3 apparently get cancelled due to the weather, etc, hence why it’s best to get booked in asap! Ours was rearranged for the next day where thankfully the weather was beautiful! You wouldn’t perhaps expect Africa to be on top of health and safety like that, but the week before we arrived there was a fairly serious incident with a boat going out and nearly sinking due to the weather… so understandable that they do!! 

Mandela’s cell

Anyway, I guess all in all we don’t know what we were disappointed with, and I still felt it was quite a big “must do” typed thing. I’d still do it again; for that reason. I think perhaps because there is A LOT of things to read and just not enough time.. could perhaps do with one of those audio guides. On the flip side, the guide we had around the prison was actually an ex-prisoner! Not sure (other than the fact he was black?!) why he was imprisoned though.. πŸ˜¬πŸ˜‚ but – like hearing stories about 9/11 first hand – it isn’t going to be forever you get first hand accounts..

You can just make out Table Mountain from inside the prison at Robben Island

Table Mountain

I’m not sure what’s true or what’s right and what’s not, but we had been advised it isn’t safe to walk up Table Mountain due to some violent muggings.. but we saw plenty of people hiking up and making it to the top just fine, so, your choice I guess!! 

Like I said, you need to try and get this booked in for as soon as possible otherwise the weather could mean you don’t get a chance! There is wifi all over the place so you can actually buy tickets for the cable car online whilst in the queue saying you already have tickets.. this is what we did – it apparantly saves at least 45 minutes wait!

At the top of Table Mountain with incredible views! β›°

Once you make it to the top – cable car or hiking, you are free to do whatever you want, within reason! You can sit on the edge all the way round, you can walk all over, there is wifi again at the top, as well as a cafe, and of course a little gift shop! People seem to be amazed – but we didn’t see any of the wildlife that you are supposedly highly likely to see; in sad we didn’t get to see the monkeys!! The views are incredible, and it is incredibly peaceful and serene at the top.

Lions Head

Lions Head is right next to Table Mountain and smaller, easier [roughly a 3 hour round trip] and supposedly safer to walk up.. we were going to.. but long story short, I stupidly trusted (showing my true self doubt which still exists πŸ˜”) my directionally challenged husband and we ended up on a 3 hour + walk.. nowhere near Lions Head… as he always says, got to leave something to come back for… πŸ™„!! I would really like to do it one day, for the 360 degree views and the walk if nothing else! 

Lions Head from Table Mountain – as you can see much easier to walk up!

I will just finish up here by saying that we did not have anywhere near enough time in Cape Town. Our holiday was cut short by having two weddings either side in the UK, so we will definitely be back to enjoy more of this incredible city! I think if you are planning a one time only trip, a week or so should be enough time – providing the weather isn’t so awful you don’t manage to do Table Mountain or Robben Island!
Safari blog up and coming… x