I see Phinda as South Africa’s gold standard of safari experiences, and that’s from someone who was born and raised in the heart of Zululand. Everything about Phinda impressed me, from the moment that I arrived, handed over my car keys, allowed the staff to hide my car, and along with it all the stress that accompanies the real world.
Nerea and I stayed in the Mountain Lodge, which has spectacular views and is ultra luxurious, but tastefully so, allowing the natural beauty of the surroundings to stay in focus and gave us the feeling that we were the only couple in the entire reserve.
Game viewing was spectacular. Everyday we were treated to a morning and evening game drive. Each about 3 hours long, but this depends on the group and what animals you go looking for. The trackers treated us to some sundowners and snacks halfway through to keep our lion spotting eyes sharp. There are 2 trackers and an open Land Rover assigned to each group of 6 guests, so everyone gets a chance to see what they came to see, even if the trackers have to head through some thick vegetation to get there.
One of the most impressive aspects to the service at Phinda is that anything and everything is possible. Whether it is a delicious cup of hot chocolate at 2am while we gazed at the stars, a walk through the bushes with a tracker, or champagne at a waterhole! There is staff available to deliver 5 star service 24 hours a day. And since the price of the accommodation is all-inclusive, there is no hesitation to asking for what we want for fear of it being too expensive. Meal times are essentially all the time and we didn’t need to take part in any form of schedule, except for the game drives, which are at set times to optimize game viewing.
We had some beautiful experiences with lions. We were able to view them up close and experience some of their fascinating behaviour. We also saw cheetahs, elephants, rhino, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, countless varieties of buck and other game. Our trackers were highly skilled and professional. They enabled us to experience the game in a beautiful and non-threatening way, and made us feel safe.
The length of our stay was determined by budget and our other travels. We stayed 2 nights, which was perfectly adequate to have a wonderful experience of a safari and to be treated to some spectacular accommodation and cuisine.
We look forward to going back to Phinda.
– Independent review by Klein Companion, Mark Roussout