|Face-to-face with lions and rhino after breakfast, up close to a Whale Shark or battling sailfish after lunch. That's the Phinda experience, one of the most exciting safari destinations in Africa. |
Located between the azure waters of the Indian Ocean and the lush waterways of the World Heritage Greater Saint Lucia Wetland Park, Phinda's 17 000 hectares span seven unique ecosystems.
Nestled below the Lebombo Mountains of Northern KwaZulu-Natal, Phinda is a Zulu word meaning "the return". In one of the biggest reintroductions of game in Africa, Phinda was restocked with lion, rhino, buffalo, elephant, leopard, giraffe and other big game in an operation dubbed "phinda izilwane", return of the wild animals.
Fly-In Safari Lodge Beach Wildlife Game Drives Safari Self Drive Walking Culture Canoeing Honeymoon Photography Birding Cuisine Day Tour Game Cruise Price Range - Southern Africa: $400 - $600 Child Friendly
Phinda Forest Attractions
Phenomenally diverse landscapes lie within Phinda's borders. The reserve spans rocky hillsides, mountainous regions, verdant wetland "vleis", perennial and seasonal rivers, marshland, pans and distinctive wooded Sand Forest.
The plains of Phinda are the roaming grounds of buffalo, white rhino, elephant, giraffe, impala, zebra and wildebeest. Predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena wait their turn in the shadows. In pools and lakes, hippo lounge the day away, while along the Mzinene River, African Elephant and impala wander past.
The forest and vlei zones of Phinda are home to red duiker, nyala, suni antelope, bushpig or red squirrel. Phinda has the largest privately owned population of nyala in the world. Spotted genet, porcupines and bush babies appear after dark. In the mountain and rocky zones, you may spot mountain reedbuck and chacma baboon.
To the east of Phinda lies the warm, inviting waters of the Indian Ocean. On the reefs of Sodwana, Whale Shark, Moray Eel, Leatherback and Loggerhead Turtle, crab, starfish and iridescent nudibranch sway with the rhythm of the tides.
An incredible array of about 400 species of birds fly through the skies over Phinda - Pied and Pygmy Kingfishers, Goliath Herons, Great White Egrets, the elusive Purple Gallinule, Pygmy Goose, African Fish Eagle and White-faced "Whistling" Duck. Giant Eagle Owls and Nightjars come alive at night.
Forest birds include the striking Purple-crested Lourie (Turaco) and the Bluemantled Flycatcher. In the mountains, look out for White-bellied Sunbird and Scarlet-chested Sunbird.
Forest Lodge's 16 raised glass-encased chalets have a bedroom, lounge and spacious en suite bathroom with a bath and separate shower. Outside, wooden decks have been erected around the growing trees. Although surrounded on three sides by glass, the fertile forest floor and towering torchwood trees ensure privacy in each of the chalets. Constructed to minimise impact on the unique Sand Forest, the air-conditioned rooms are raised off the ground to allow smaller animals complete freedom of movement along the forest floor below.
At Forest Lodge, the glass walls display the sea-green canopy with wide-screen effect. A few short paces outside, birds and animals such as the tiny red duiker, suni antelope and rare red squirrel move quietly through the forest.
The chalets evoke the luxurious minimalism of classic Japanese architecture. This is offset by the verdant forest scene beyond the glass walls, creating a sensuous African delight. The chalets have polished beechwood and slate floors.
The central dining area, lounge and shaded swimming pool of this secluded camp overlook a tranquil open grassy vlei (wetland pan). The elevated lookout deck is a prime bird-watching spot for the approximately 400 species at Phinda. Our range of souvenirs in the curio shop at main reception area is worth exploring.
We invite you to savour flamboyant cuisine infused with Pan-African flair. You may dine on the deck viewing the grassy plains. Or indulge in the romance of al fresco dining beneath a starlit sky around the forest boma (enclosed reeded area). Large tables for eight glow in the light of the central boma fire.
Phinda Forest Additional Information
Game drives are only one aspect of the Phinda experience. There is little that can compete with our "Flight of the Fish Eagle" air safari - soaring over a bay where the diversity of species rivals Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Or floating past pods of hippo in a canoe or river boat. Scuba diving, snorkelling and deep-sea fishing are just a hop away. And in the evenings, immerse yourself in the ancient culture of Southern Africa's warrior tribe, the Zulu.
Close Encounters: Life at Phinda is one adventure after another – you can take a visit to a Zulu cultural village, explore fossil finds en route to a magical private picnic or roam the richly diverse habitats of the waterways in canoes or riverboats. In neighbouring Mkuze Game Reserve, you can track rhino on foot in the care of an experienced ranger. Bush walks offer close encounters with the subtleties of nature and information on the traditional legends and uses of plants.
Bird-watching: Phinda’s four lodges provide access to prime bird-watching environments - Maputaland waterways, vast Lake St. Lucia, Lake Sibaya, the chain of Kosi lakes and Muzi swamps.
Unforgettable Air Safari: We invite you to gaze down on a dazzling array of terrestrial and marine life from our low-altitude “Flight of the Fish Eagle” air safari. We land at the diving paradise of Sodwana Bay. Here, marine species-diversity rivals Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Buried Turtle Eggs: A performance millions of years old is staged annually on the beaches of the east coast near Phinda – the breeding ground for the giant Leatherback and rare Loggerhead Turtles. ▼ VIEW OUR CURRENT SPECIAL ON PHINDA FOREST:
SOUTH AFRICA - Kwazulu Natal - &Beyond Big Cat Safari - Stay 5 Pay 4
Phinda Forest Children Policy
Children (sharing with adults)
0-5 years = free of charge
6-16 years = charged half rate
6-16 years in own room = First child full rate, second and third child half rate.
Check In Time: 02:00:00 PM
Check Out Time: 11:00:00 AM