Phinda Game Reserve

Phinda Game Reserve

Located in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province is the private Phinda Game Reserve. It covers an area of 17,000 hectares and, unlike most other reserves in the country, it’s entirely fenced. This means that its ecosystem is more self-contained and hasn’t been able to integrate with the larger ecosystem other reserves are a part of. While the reserve is a popular destination for viewing the Big Five (the African elephant, the Cape buffalo, the lion, the leopard and the rhinoceros), it’s also renowned for its abundant cheetah population, with sightings fairly common.

There are a total of five luxury lodges belonging to the &Beyond group scattered throughout the reserve. Each of them is located in a distinct setting and offers stunning views of the surround area. The Forest Lodge is nestled in a sand forest and has floor-to-ceiling glass windows, while the Mountain Lodge is set high up on a mountain crest and offers captivating views of both the sprawling plains below and the Lebombo Mountains. There’s also the Rock Lodge, which is set on a towering cliffside overlooking a deep valley, and the Vlei Lodge, which is set on the edge of a forest and overlooks a vast meadow and wetland system. The final option is the Zuka Lodge, which is perfectly positioned right beside a popular watering hole. Accommodation here is more expensive compared with what other reserves have to offer. The dry season, which runs from May to September, is generally considered to be the best time of year to visit. Animals can still be spotted in abundance at other times of the year, with October to April especially good for viewing migrating birds.

The reserve has a broad range of nature-based activities on offer. There are, of course, game drives routinely offered that give guests the chance to spot a large number of different animals. Walking safaris are also popular, as are nighttime game drives and even stargazing. There are specialised walking expeditions that focus on birdwatching, with over 400 bird species to spot. What makes the reserve particularly appealing to nature enthusiasts is the fact that it encompasses seven distinct habitats, with a much greater diversity of both wildlife and landscapes than other reserves.


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What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 504 reviews

(5.00/5)

  • Hi Lisa,

    The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.

    Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)

    Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!

    Best regards,
    Woan Chyi

    MissingWoan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019

  • We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
    We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
    Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
    Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
    Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
    Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
    Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
    Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
    Level of service, quality of food throughout

    MissingCatherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019

  • We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!

    The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).

    A few points:
    Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.

    Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
    They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.

    Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!

    The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!

    MissingKatrina P reviewing South Africa Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019

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