A few Sundays ago, we left for Pamuzinda Safari Lodge close to Harare with some friends of ours. I had previously received some information regarding their Early Birds Special…Sunday Bliss via the ZimStay website. I was very curious and being the traveller that I am, I wanted to experience it for myself. Most times before I travel, I do some research about where I’m going and what facilities they have. In all honesty, I ran out of time given my hectic schedule that week. I’m glad I did though and because I didn’t have any expectations and I was in for a treat. Essentially I knew enough about the lodge, where it was and the general product offering but had no visual in mind – I like visual, it helps me understand things better. We drove towards Bulawayo in convoy until we passed Selous and made a left turn at the roundabout. We proceed for another 9 kilometres or so until we saw a sign for Pamuzinda and turned right. That road led us to our destination and it was another 5 kilometres until we arrived. We drove along a well maintained dirt road sufficient for any vehicle. I was more than pleasantly surprised as we drove into the car park through the gate and spoke briefly to the friendly guard.
However before we get to the car park, let me show you just how close Pamuzinda Safari Lodge is to Harare. Pamuzinda is part of the Dunhu Ramambo – The Chief’s Collection. Three out of the four in the collection are located within close proximity whilst the fourth is Umbozha fleet located at Lake Kariba. Turning back to the arrival; the entrance welcomed us with open arms. The guard was polite as he wrote our vehicle details and welcomed us as if we were family. I started to feel more relaxed already. A short drive from the gate and we found ourselves at the reception area and car park. The car park was jam packed! We arrived on the day some mountain bikers had just finished their tour around the park and the place was buzzing with so many people.
The reception was filled with the most beautiful artwork.
The staff we encountered from the start were extremely friendly and welcoming. Elizabeth checked us in and personally showed us to our rooms. We walked past some more artwork along the way. The place was well maintained and 2 Zebras were just wandering around the place grazing leisurely in the afternoon sun. Our room was simply beautiful and you could tell that this room was located in Zimbabwe with the obvious theme. The attention to detail in the room was impressive. HOWEVER, what really caught my attention was the private garden. You will love the garden! Like a little boy, I had to give the day bed a trial, shoes on and everything. Mum wouldn’t be proud of me but I was now starting to really relax given the hectic schedule in my rat race infused life in Harare. As I slept there for 5 to 10 minutes just absorbing everything, I kept thinking about how close Pamuzinda is to Harare and how easy it was for anyone to come and stay with them and still make it for work on Monday morning. Our friends who we were travelling with us were doing just that. They had to be back in Harare for an 8:30am meeting the following day.Were it not for the fact that I was extremely hungry, I would have fallen asleep right there on that day bed but Mrs got me up and off to lunch we went. Unknown to me, the staff at the kitchen had prepared some lunch which they kept warm for us. I popped into the gents on my way to lunch and what do I stumbled across – more artwork!
I had fallen in love with this place already. Something about the close proximity to Harare and yet we were in the bush surrounded by all this serenity just made so much sense to me. I was at peace now. I wasn’t thinking about work and so forth although, I had both phones on me the whole time (yes I’m one of those people). I was in the moment, taking it all in. Lunch was quickly demolished because quite frankly we were famished and we really needed to eat before our game drive later that afternoon. I was really looking forward to the game drive actually. Canaan, our guide had already introduced himself to us and enquired about which drinks we wanted for the drive. Drinks ey? Lovely! I played along and ordered mine, the others did too. We walked past the zebras again on our way back to the room; they looked up at us as we walked past and continued with their grazing. I had never been so close to a zebra before. We had this lovely room with the private garden and we wanted to make proper use of this. I had never experienced the private garden before in all honesty. Throughout all this, I couldn’t help but think about how close Pamuzinda is to Harare once again. I know I keep repeating this fact, but it’s true. Less than 90 kilometres away from Harare, with this $99 per person per night special on Sundays and here I was with Mrs sitting on the balcony, drink in hand looking out onto the Serui River just relaxing and talking. Even the ashtray had character.
Soon enough it was game drive time. So we left the room, walked past the zebras once again and headed towards Canaan who was standing by the truck. We plonked ourselves in the back seat with our game drive face on! The drive itself was extremely relaxing and informative, mostly because Canaan ensured we were both entertained and educated with 18 years worth of experience to back him up. We moved around at a gentle pace taking in the bush and scenery. Canaan knew his stuff and shared vital information about the animals and birds we saw along the way. We immediately saw wildebeest as we commenced the game drive. Each time, we saw some animals we stopped as Canaan shared some interesting facts about them. I must admit I learnt a great deal from the game drive. We also saw a variety of birds, some giraffe, some antelope and drove pass the lion enclosure. The 2 lions didn’t seem bothered by us and continued to bask in the lovely Zimbabwean sun as we whipped out our cameras hoping for that killer shot. Our game drive was accompanied with drinks, snacks and more conversation with everyone on the drive as we slowly made our way back to base.
Once we got back to ‘base’, Elizabeth was keen to show us the Royal Lodge. We bumped into Spike in the process and we carefully walked past him as we rushed to see what the Royal Lodge was all about. We were not disappointed! If I thought our room was the best offering at Pamuzinda, fortunately I was going to be taught a lesson that day. I was wrong. The Royal Lodge had it all – outdoor Jacuzzi, outdoor and indoor shower, private swimming, fire pit, braai and much more. I was in awe and sadly we had to head back to our ‘ordinary room’ and chill out for a bit before dinner.
We returned to our garden and balcony where we hung out watching the sunset while we plotted how we could leave our busy lives in Harare and live at Pamuzinda forever. Mrs and I both noticed how within a matter of hours of leaving Harare and arriving at Pamuzinda, we were both relaxed, taking in the atmosphere and taking part in one of the activities they had there. The sun finally set and naturally we took a bath outside in time for dinner.
We headed to dinner with our friends and we all felt that we deserved a glass of wine at least with dinner. Dinner was Sunday carvery and sadly we didn’t manage to get the venison option as planned. Instead we made up with lots of laughter as we reflected on the day and our experience thus far. There’s a bar right by the pool right in front of the restaurant however, all four of us headed to our room, to our private garden for more conversation, more world domination plotting and some drinks. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves given the cool evening breeze and the good company. It was a good night.
In the mid morning, we slowly packed our things knowing full well that we would be returning to the rat race that is Harare. This time, we used the indoor shower and walked ever so slowly to breakfast. Breakfast was good and wholesome. Our friends had already left with their packed breakfast in hand. We slowly ate breakfast trying our best to savour every last minute we had. We returned to our rooms to pick up our bags,have a last look around and spent a few minutes in ‘our’ private garden before returning to the reception to finally check out. We thanked Elizabeth for her help and hospitality. We waved goodbye and left for Harare…