Avid horseriders will be keen to read about Pakamisa’s Arabian stud. But Pakamisa will please anyone who loves open spaces and far distant horizons as this lodge has a vast tract of Africa to explore on horseback, foot or vehicle.
Pakamisa is a place in Africa where ones soul feels free. The Pakamisa Private Game Reserve is located in the heavens at 750m above sea level on the slopes of Pakamisa Mountain. So close is it to the Swaziland border, that it has views beyond the Pongola River into this neighbouring country. Pakamisa is not really on the way to anywhere and its quiet isolation is part of its great allure, along with open space, distant hilltops and vast bushland roamed by game. But for many, it is the pure bred Arabian horses and riding possibilities that bring them to Pakamisa.
This is perfect horse riding country, especially in winter (May to end of August) when no rain is expected and daytime temperatures reach a pleasant 25°C by midday. Summer sees heat and humidity rise, peaking at 35°C. Bred for stamina and endurance, the Arabian horses with flared nostrils and flowing manes, are perfect riding horses in this kind of country. They are used the terrain and its animals, and get close to impala, wildebeest, giraffe and families of warthogs.
Every effort is made to match the guest to their perfect horse and less experienced riders might find themselves on a boerperd cross – a sure-footed farm horse - for a more sedate experience. Most visitors get to meet the entire horse family, from newborn foals to the 25-year old senior stallion ‘Baron’. These are the pride and joy of Isabella a Von Stepski, an expert horsewoman and owner of Pakamisa.
It is her European influence that permeates the whole lodge, with hints of colonial Spanish architecture and a restaurant named El Prado (The Meadow). This eatery has been included in South Africa’s “Top 100 Restaurants” guide, so be prepared for a taste bud treat. Contemporary international cuisine is beautifully presented on porcelain plates at tables set with silver cutlery and crystal glasses for fine cellar wines.
Elegance without formality is Pakamisa’s style, and lunches and dinners are easily turned al-fresco with tables out on the panoramic-view veranda. Everything is tuned for comfort with eight spacious bedrooms, a sunken lounge opening out onto a large veranda and a bathroom designed to please. Complete privacy serves to enhance the uninterrupted vistas of lush rolling hills in unspoiled African bush, and the feeling that, for now at least, this is all yours.
This review of Pakamisa is by independent travel writer Carrie Hampton.
© Carrie Hampton firstname.lastname@example.org www.travelwriter.co.za