New photo safaris at Phinda, KwaZulu Natal
Phinda Private Game Reserve is situated in the lush KwaZulu-Natal region in northern South Africa. Sandwiched between Mkuze Game Reserve and the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park (a World Heritage Site), it comprises 14 000 hectares (34 000 acres) of prime conservation land. This is where a fantastic photographic safari has been launched. In addition to an expert ranger and tracker team, each safari will be accompanied by professional wildlife photographers, Roger and Pat de la Harpe. They will assist guests with lighting, angles, camera settings and photo editing.
The de la Harpes have been involved in professional wildlife, travel and cultural photography for over 25 years. Their work has been featured in numerous publications including BBC Wildlife and National Geographic and they have published 19 coffee table books. Says Kevin Pretorius, &Beyond Regional Director: “This specialist safari caters for budding photographers and professionals alike. Our rangers work hand in hand with Roger and Pat to help guests capture that once-in-a-lifetime safari photograph.”
Seven distinct habitats shelter an abundance of wildlife at Phinda, including Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo) and over 380 bird species, while the marine diversity off the nearby coast of Sodwana is said to rival the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Phinda Private Game Reserve is home to an incredible diversity of mammals. Predators like cheetah, leopard and lion are tracked on a daily basis and visitors stand extremely good chances of seeing them. The territorial white rhino favour waterholes and wallows. Herds of elephant and buffalo move throughout the reserve and are easily spotted. Impressive nyala antelope feed alongside impala and warthog. Nocturnal aardvark, bushpig and greater bushbaby may be encountered on exciting night game-drives. Mountain reedbuck dwell on rocky slopes, while common reedbuck favour palmveld and wetlands. Tonga red squirrel are restricted to Sand Forest where tiny suni and red duiker are most abundant. The extraordinary four-toed elephant-shrew forages among leaf-litter in forest and thickets.
Guests at Phinda can look forward to exciting game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles led by experienced rangers and Zulu trackers, as well as thrilling optional activities on the water, in the air and on the beach. Scuba Safaris: A 15-minute flight and short drive takes you to one of the top ten dive sites in the world. Diving the reefs of Sodwana Bay allows you to experience a portrait of marine diversity, with approximately 1200 species of fish and spectacular coral formations. Deep-sea Fishing: Fly to Sodwana Bay – a fisherman’s paradise – where a short drive takes you to the 25-foot sport fishing boat rigged for bill (marlin and sailfish), game (barracuda, yellowfin tuna and kingfish) and shark fishing. Maputaland Beach Adventures: A 15-minute flight and a short drive in a specially designed 4×4 each vehicle takes you to the beautiful beaches of Sodwana Bay. Depending on the tides, you will be driven to a secluded spot where you can enjoy snorkelling, swimming, or simply sunning on the endless beach, as well as a delicious picnic.
Meaning “The Return” in Zulu, “Phinda” is an exemplary example of successful responsible tourism – firstly restoring misused farmland to its pristine state over 16 years ago, restocking it with the Big Five and other wildlife and developing it into an award-winning ecotourism destination; and now returning the land to its ancestral owners. Phinda’s pioneering land-claim settlement proves that if the communities surrounding conservation areas truly feel the benefit of ecotourism, they too will support ongoing conservation and biodiversity of pristine reserves for the benefit of future generations.
Phinda will immerse you in natural beauty that is matched by exclusive lodges appointed beautifully in your surroundings. From the gorgeous Zen chalets of Forest Lodge to the romantic Vlei Lodge, you will be hard-pressed to find finer accommodation in the region. Contact Road Travel for info such as rates, availability, etc. We look forward to being of assistance.