Having had the pleasure of being a ‘tourist’ in my own hometown, I thoroughly enjoyed that which the friendly province I call home had to offer. Seeing the other side of East London which I’d simply taken for granted was an eye opener. Time was spent at the Premier Hotel EL ICC and the Premier Resort Mpongo Private Game Reserve.
The start to my weekend was at the Premier Hotel EL ICC. Being a business hotel, the expected chilled champagne, a platter of nibbles and first-class treatment was unfortunately not on offer, but the facilities nevertheless upmarket.
My second day was spent at Premier Resort Mpongo Private Game Reserve, a mere 35km drive out of town where I received a warm friendly welcome on arrival. The weather was beautiful and sunny, making it perfect for an outing in the bush.
Mpongo has four lodges to choose from of which I was booked into the thatched roof River Lodge, this being more traditional with African bush surrounds. The newly built Umthombe Villa and Indlovu Lodge have modern finishes offering guests a unique blend of bush accommodation.
Views overlooking the Reserve are spectacular with unforgettable African bush sunsets. Waking up with Inyalas in the garden on a sunny morning was amazing Warthog visitors drop by casually strolling past ones doorstep. This tranquil setting is like no other - definitely a place to get away from the city buzz and deadlines.
Rooms do not have TV’s, however, there is one in the communal lounge should you feel the need to catch up on the happenings in the outside world.
We didn’t get to see the Big 5 during the game drive but we did get to see wildebeest, blesbok, giraffe, antelope, impala and zebra. Our day ended with a picnic in the bush amongst the wild – a day more perfect than that, you will not find easily.
The staff at Mpongo is great and the food hearty and wholesome to comfort the hungry soul. Aside from the game drives, one can go on guided walks with an experienced Game Ranger or watch the pride of lions get fed and for those wanting a little excitement, there is a shooting range close by. Otherwise, you can simply chill and relax at the swimming pool soaking in all Mother Nature has to offer.
All in all, the setting at Mpongo is one of calm and peace and it felt great to be one with nature where the wild roam freely. And if you’re looking for some timeout from the maddening crowd, I would strongly suggest checking-in at Premier Resort Mpongo Private Game Reserve.