Phinda Game Reserve, South Africa. Photo by HPH Publishing, © All rights reserved
Phinda Private Game Reserve
Phinda Private Game Reserve is often regarded as the best in the Kwazulu Natal province of South Africa. Its quality equals that of the best parts of the Sabi Sands game reserves, but this property is fully fenced and separated from the ecosystem as a whole. Spotting all of the Big Five of African game species is easy. There's no better place to spot cheetahs. Guests who stay just two nights on the reserve often see all the Big Five species and more.
There are also more than 380 bird species visible on the reserve. Nearby coastal land features a rich array of marine life unlike any other location in the world.
Sometimes still referred to by its old name, the Phinda Resource Reserve, this game reserve covers more than 65 square miles and is located between the Mkuze Game Reserve and the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park. Created in 1991, the name means a “return to the wild”.
During your stay on Phinda, you'll have the opportunity to experience seven distinct ecosystems, including mountain bush and palm savannah as well as dense thornveld and the exceptionally rare sand forest area.
Phinda Private Game Reserve is dotted with many accommodation choices for you to consider. The most popular lodges include Forest Lodge, Vlei Lodge and Mountain Lodge. Each is marked by its own unique style and sophistication.
You'll like the following characteristics of Phinda Private Game Reserve:
More About Wildlife At Phinda
This fully enclosed game reserve is the perfect place to check several Big Five game species off your African safari viewing checklist because sightings are easy and frequent. Perhaps the most stunning animals are the white rhinos. Black rhinos are also present but may not always be spotted. Amazing nyala antelope are also present in abundance.
The quality and frequency of cheetah sightings in Phinda is unmatched. Small creatures like the red duiker – a type of antelope – are often spotted in the undergrowth of the forest, and tiny suni antelope are often visible as well. If you choose a boat trip on the Mzinene River, you might see a Nile crocodile.
For optimal viewing of all wildlife, visit June through September, the dry months. You may especially like a visit during August or September when temperatures are best for humans and animals congregate more often around their usual water sources.
Birds, Scenery And More At Phinda
More than 380 species of birds inhabit Phinda Private Game Reserve, which is renown as a birding destination. From November to April, migratory birds are present for viewing. The rare sand forest features African broadbills and Neergaard's sunbirds as well as other species unique to South Africa. For the best birding experience, book a private birding excursion since game drives often neglect birds. Boat trips and walking safaris offer unique opportunities for additional bird viewing.
If you want to stay in the rare dry sand forest, consider Forest Lodge. If you want sweeping views of the reserve from atop a high point, consider Mountain Lodge. The wetlands are overlooked by Vlei Lodge and Rock Lodge is designed to give a great view of the deep valley that it sits above.
Most days during the May to September tourist season are clear and sunny but cold. Dust and haze are likely at times. The chance of malaria contraction is low. During October through April, foliage is more lush, limiting animal sighting. Baby animals are sometimes visible during this season, plus there are more migratory birds. It can get very hot and humid, however. The chance for contracting malaria is higher during this season, but still relatively low.
Consider your temperature preferences and what you want to see and do as you decide when to visit the popular, dramatic and interesting Phinda Private Game Reserve. With great lodges and unique opportunities no matter when you arrive, you can't make a bad decision when you decide to stay on Phinda.
Phinda is a private game reserve located about 350km/220 mi north of Durban. It is possible to drive to Phinda but, once there, all activities are included and drives are in open vehicles.
Most visitors to South Africa fly into O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg or Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. It is also possible to fly to King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in Durban and rent a car there. The drive from Durban to Phinda takes about 3 hours.
Another alternative is to fly to Richard's Bay Airport (RCB) from either Johannesburg or Durban, followed by a short flight or road transfer to the lodge. A light aircraft shuttle service operates between Richard's Bay and Phinda. The road transfer takes about 2 hours.