The African Pride Pumba Private Game Reserve & Spa near Port Elizabeth, already popular among both foreign and local tourists looking for unique safari experiences, recently received top international recognition when it was selected by as a Top 10 safari destination across the globe.

The world media giant researched the safari establishments nominated for the international 2015 Safari Awards – described as ‘the Oscars of the safari industry’ – and developed its list of favourite destinations. The resorts selected are largely in Africa with one Asian resort included– and just two are South African.

The Safari Awards, now in their 9th year, acknowledge excellence in terms of location, animal encounters, social and environmental responsibility, and for offering something special or unique. More than 4 000 stakeholders such as travel agents, writers and tour operators provided their input into the resorts nominated for the Awards.

“What sets African Pride Pumba Private Game Reserve apart is its white lion programme,” explains Nicholas Barenblatt, Group Marketing Manager of Protea Hotels and African Pride Hotels, a proud member of Marriott, a leading global hotel group. “The Reserve is home to this highly endangered species and operates a breeding programme geared to enhance the chances of survival of this unique and majestic animal. There is only one other reserve world-wide that focuses on this species, so it is a particularly special experience to see these animals and to gain an understanding first-hand of how the breeding programme works.”

The 5-star African Pride Pumba Private Game Reserve also offers visitors the chance to see many other species of game, including the Big 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant), as well as 60 mammal species and 250 species of birds. – all in a malaria-free environment. Its sustainability programme, with an emphasis on the environment and conservation, also provides opportunities geared to boost the local community – the lodge has partnered with a training academy for displaced youth, and offers internship opportunities for those being trained in the ecotourism field.

Recognition of the excellence of its offering has come previously for Pumba with its 5-star rating for luxury accommodation and through the awarding of a Gold status by the Green Leaf Initiative for environmental responsibility. In addition, Pumba has been the recipient of a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award on a number of occasions.

“Recognition at such a significant global level does not come without incredible work being done, and we heartily congratulate our colleagues at Pumba. Their efforts are good not only for our business, but also do a great deal to enhance the reputation of South Africa in the world tourist arena,” Nicholas concludes.