Phinda Private Game Reserve encompasses an impressive 56,800 acres of prime wilderness in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Showcasing one of the continent's finest game-viewing experiences, Phinda features Africa's wildlife at its best. Often described as the "Seven Worlds of Wonder," with its seven distinct habitats, Phinda is home to an abundance of wildlife from the largest lion to the smallest antelope. This fully inclusive program promises to be an unforgettable experience.
Depart Richards Bay and drive approximately 2.5 hours to the Phinda Private Game Reserve, a protected wildlife area that sprawls across nearly 43,000 beautiful acres of South Africa. Because of its size, the preserve boasts seven distinct habitats, including woodland, grassland, wetland and mountain ranges.
Upon arriving at the Phinda Mountain Lodge, you will enjoy a welcome drink and then a light lunch. Afterwards, you will have time to settle into your accommodations before departing on an afternoon game drive.
Late afternoon is one of the prime times to view wildlife, as it’s cooler and the animals are more active. While there is no telling what you will observe, the reserve is home to countless animals, including the Big Five: elephant, lion, leopard, rhinoceros and Cape buffalo. Herds of elephants are often seen meandering through the fever tree forests, while white rhinoceroses are usually found grazing on the grassland.
Following the game drive, sundowners and light snacks will be served at a clearing in the bush, where you might see nocturnal wildlife. In time, you will return to the Phinda Mountain Lodge for dinner and to spend the evening. The lodge offers spectacular views of the mountain range and surrounding bushveld, so it’s quite the setting.
The day begins with an early-morning wakeup call, followed by tea, coffee and biscuits in the lounge. This too is an ideal time for wildlife viewing. As before, you will head into the bush in an open-topped 4x4 vehicle, accompanied by knowledgeable rangers and trackers who are skilled at pointing out the various animals.
You may catch sight of a shy red duiker grazing on fallen leaves and fruit. The elegant nyala antelope is seen even more frequently, as Phinda boasts one of the highest densities of the species. The male nyala has a dark brown coat, yellow legs and shaggy mane, making it particularly spectacular. The female nyala features a less flashy, but no less beautiful chestnut coat. Of course, the Big Five always command attention and they are abundant.
Following your game drive, you will return to the lodge for breakfast. Then, after check out, you will transfer to Durban to rejoin your ship. Travelling time is approximately 3.5 – 4 hours.
Overland Program Step by Step:
Please note: The order of sites visited may vary to avoid congestion. The indicated times are approximate, provided here only for general reference and are subject to change.
11:00am Depart Richards Bay and transfer to the Phinda Private Game Reserve
1:00pm Arrive at the Phinda Mountain Lodge, transfer in open 4x4 vehicles from the main gate to the lodge, complete indemnity forms
1:30pm Light lunch at the lodge followed by check-in
3:30pm Afternoon tea prior to game drive
4:00pm Afternoon game drive
7:00pm Return to lodge and freshen up prior to dinner at the lodge
7:30pm Dinner at the lodge
Overnight at Phinda Mountain lodge
5:00am Early-morning wake-up call
5:30am Tea and coffee is served in the main lodge
6:00am Embark on a morning game drive
9:00am Return to the lodge for breakfast
9:45am Check- out
10:00am Depart Phinda in open 4x4 vehicles and drive to the main gate
10:30am Depart Phinda for transfer to Durban. Lunch pack served en route
2:30pm Arrive at Durban harbor and re-join the ship
South Africa’s seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere. Midwinter is in June and midsummer in December and January. The climate varies from region to region but is generally mild throughout the year.
At Phinda: Subtropical climate with hot, humid, wet summers (September to April) and warm to cool, dry winters (May to August). Much of the rainfall comes in short, intense afternoon thunderstorms. Rain can be expected 12 months of the year. Daytime temperatures in summer may rise above 35°C/95°F. Nights in winter rarely drop below 10°C/50°F.
What to Bring:
Khaki, brown, white and beige-colored clothing. No bright colors. Light cotton tops and cotton trousers and shorts in summer. Safari trousers and warm fleece tops for evenings and cooler days. Swimwear, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, camera, film and batteries (including spare batteries), personal toiletries and anti-malaria prophylaxis.
The monetary unit of South Africa is the Rand, divided into cents and abbreviated as R and c. Notes currently in circulation are to the value or R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10. Coins are in denominations of R5, R2, R1, 50c, 20c, 10c, and 5c. All major credit cards are accepted at most establishments, although Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted cards.
South Africa’s electrical system is 220/230 volts A/C 50 cycles. Most hotels have hair dryers in the bedrooms. If you bring electric appliances, make sure to have an international converter kit complete with a set of adaptor plugs. Outlets in South Africa require a three pronged adaptor plug with 3 round prongs.
No luggage restriction on board the coach. However, an overnight soft-sided bag is recommended.
Documents and Visa Requirements:
Please note that South African Immigrations requires that you have at least 2 consecutive double-blank pages in your passport, or entry to the country could be denied. Passports should also be valid for more than 6 months at the time of travel. Please consult your local embassy for all visa requirements pertaining to South Africa.
Accommodation: Phinda Mountain lodge
SPhinda Mountain lodge features air-conditioned suites, each with en-suite bathroom comprising bath, shower, separate toilet and twin hand basins. All suites have a sitting area, personal bar and private veranda with plunge pool and al fresco shower. Guest areas include a spacious u-shaped building, with a central al fresco courtyard and ample sitting and dining areas. These areas lead out onto a shaded terrace and three-tiered spacious veranda with spectacular views of the Lebombo Mountains and bushveld. Additional facilities include a Safari Shop, interpretive center, dramatic open-air boma, shaded swimming pool and observation deck.
• 1 overnight at Phinda Mountain Lodge (standard suite) on a fully Inclusive basis, i.e. accommodation, 1 game activity daily, meals and local house drinks
• Road transfers in luxury touring vehicles with air-conditioning and PA-system
• Registered English-speaking tour guide to accompany guests on transfers
• One 500-ml bottle of mineral water per person on transfers
• 1 lunch pack per person on Day 2
• Porterage for maximum of one piece of luggage per person
• All other meals not listed above
• All other drinks including champagne and premium-brand spirits and liquor
• Gratuities for drivers, guides, game rangers, trackers and lodge staff
• Personal expenses such as telephone calls; curio shop purchases and laundry
• Any other services not mentioned above, including optional activities at the Lodge
The contents and order of activities in this program are subject to change by the lodge management without prior notice, due to the prevailing weather conditions and movement of dangerous wildlife on the Phinda Private Game Reserve. During early-morning game drives in open vehicles, it can be a little cool. We recommend that guests take along a windbreaker. Guests are advised not to forget their sunhats, sun block, sunglasses, cameras and binoculars.
Please note that the game-drive vehicles traverse over uneven terrain and that the game-drives can be “bumpy.” This tour is therefore not recommended for guests with back problems. This tour is suitable for guests in a wheel chair and those with walking disabilities, providing that a spouse/family member/friend accompanies them. Please also note that confirmation would be strictly subject to availability of handicapped rooms at the time of booking.
This program is not fully guided. Local representatives will assist you with your transfers however, the program at the lodge is run solely and at the discretion by the lodge/hotel staff.
Please note: Land programs that encompass multiple days ashore customarily include extensive and prolonged activity, while those of shorter durations typically have more moderate activity levels. However, each program varies and participants should be prepared to negotiate a mixture of surfaces, which may include inclines, cobblestones, sand, gravel or natural paths. There may also be a need to climb steps or stairs on occasion. Wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are advised to check with the cruise line in advance to see if any portion of the tour program may not be considered suitable for their individual situation. Weather-appropriate clothing such as caps, sunglasses, and flat comfortable walking shoes are recommended.