User Reviews – Phinda GR

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Overall rating
4/5

A larger than average Game Reserve and a more "natural" safari experience than smaller game reserves or road side attractions.

Overall rating
4/5

Manyoni game reserve not listed here. Was better than the more commercial phinda.

Great tour, beatiful landscape, adventurous, great ranger.
Overall rating
4/5

We went there for a gamedrive with ranger Sam and he was very determined to let us see the beauty of the park and all the wildlife. We were looking for the Leopard and he didn't stop until he had find one. Beatiful spots in a very beatiful landscape

I loved Phinda for its beauty and variety of experiences
Overall rating
4/5

My dad and I visited Phinda Game Reserve on a safari to South Africa a few years ago. It had been recommended to us as a nice alternative to the private game reserves outside of Kruger. We had spent a week in Timbavati and Sabi Sands and wanted to safari in a different part of South Africa. Phinda is an excellent place to do that. We stayed at two properties in Phinda: Vlei Lodge and Rock Lodge in order to get a feel for different parts of the reserve. The lodges and rooms are first rate. Great views of the surrounding wilderness, plunge pools and big bathrooms, outdoor showers and mini bars---I can't think of anything they missed.

But I'm more about the wildlife than the accomodations and we had been told that Phinda is the best place in South Africa to see cheetah and had some great sightings in the few days we were there. A mother and cubs, and then two brothers hunting (we didn't see a chase). Other guests were intent upon photographing cheetahs hunting and I'm not certain if they were successful, but it's definitely a good place to observe cheetah.

Rhinos both white and black are also a feature of Phinda and we saw both while we were there. We watched a black rhino mother and calf casually feeding for a half hour or so. We also saw several white rhino including mother and calf as well.

Other highlights included elephant and lions and giraffe. Night drives are possible as well. There's really a great variety of activities and we took advantage of them. We went fishing in the Indian Ocean out of Sodwanna Bay and caught tuna and saw humpback whales. We took the Flight of the Fish Eagle to get a lay of the land and it was absolutely stunning! We left out of the airstrip in Phinda and flew over the sand forest, the estuarine areas and lakes and then over the dunes and out over the ocean. This was a spectacular flight. We spotted numerous whales (humpbacks) and even a whale shark. We loved the perspective from the air!

We also visited a zulu village for a little local culture. I thought it was a beautiful place with a lot of unique things to see and do. The only negative comment and it really shouldn't be taken negatively is that, to me, it had a little of that "managed" feel. I've been to Africa multiple times and there is a slight difference between one of the national parks and a privately managed game reserve. I would highly recommend it as a supplement to your South African safari and there are definitely some unique things to see and do here!

If you'd like to see some of the videos I took while at Phinda---search Phinda and Gunter32804 on Youtube and it will give you a flavor of the place. Hope this is helpful!

Evening at Phinda
Overall rating
4/5

We did a late afternoon/evening visit to Phinda while on a cruise that spent 2 nights in Richards Bay.

We arrived at Phinda about 3 PM and went directy to the drive. We saw lots of giraffes, zebras and impala in addition to the cheetahs, water buffalo, elephants and nyala.

Without a doubt the highlight of the drive was when we came across two cheetahs eating a freshly killed impala. Our vehicle got to within a few feet of the cheetah and we stayed for half an hour watching them each, pull at the carcass, look nervously about and then return to eating. We could hear them breaking bones and smell the carcass. It was an unbelievable experience that according to our guide and others we met later a true rarity – many people go on numerous safaris and never see big cats eating a fresh kill.

When we left the cats we saw a very sad scene that reminded us of the wildness of the real animal kingdom. We came across a dead baby giraffe with its umbilical cord still attached. Our guide looked at it closely but could not determine what had killed it. There were no bite marks but he theorized it could have been a snake bite or just some birth problem. Another possibility was that it could just have fallen over. A little known fact, at least to us, was that if a giraffe falls over it cannot get up. They sleep on their knees.

When my wife asked what they would do with the giraffe the guide said they would leave it here and it would be eaten by the only two animals that would eat an animal they did not kill – vultures and hyenas.

Following our drive we went to the Mountain Lodge which was used for part of the filming of Out of Africa in 2008. We had an excellent buffet dinner that actually included grilled Impala which was very tender and at least I thought was good enough for seconds.

Following dinner we were treated to a slightly touristy Zulu dance presentation and headed back to the ship arriving at approximately 10:30.

We loved our experience at Phinda!!

Unreconstructed urbanite gives the bush a chance
Overall rating
4/5

I travel to photograph city things: architecture, sculpture, graffitti . . . but on a cruise from Mauritius to Cape Town in January 2009 I thought that if I was ever going to see wildlife beyond the cats of Rome or the poodles of Park Avenue, now was the moment. It was beautiful and I enjoyed the 2-day, overnight experience. I have no basis, however, for comparing Phinda with other game preserves; one other guest complained loud and long that some park she had visited in Zimbabwe had a lot more critters - she seemed especially vexed by the dearth of giraffes at Phinda. I got out of it what I expected--a novice's introduction. The guides were rugged and handsome and the impromptu afternoon tea on a hilltop was a real touch of colonial nostalgia. What few photos I took are viewable at http://www.flickr.com/photos/virginiagent/sets/72157612306934389/, in the set labelled "A Beast in View," a line of verse from Dryden.

Average User Rating

  • 4.6/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star 6
  • 3 star 0
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  • 1 star 1
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