There are safaris that are like Afro-Disney and then there are safaris that treat the visitor to far more than zoo animals without cages. Phinda, one of &Beyond’s Eco-tour Safari Camps in South Africa, offers a fascinating experience for a variety of reasons. If you are interested in not only SEEING but also LEARNING something about the many diverse African animals, including “the big 5” and many more exotics from aardvarks to zebras, then Phinda, a “resource reserve camp” with its 7 different habitats, should be the first stop on your safari itinerary.
Before hearing more about the extraordinary rangers, staff and guides, if you love good food, the meals compare favorably to fine restaurants in Cape Town. Thoughtful preparation goes into every meal and the selection of complementary S. A. wines.
The best thing about Phinda and this &Beyond endeavor is the collaboration it has accomplished. The staff is exceptionally gracious and attentive to the your every need. The local African community partners in the effort by leasing what was once farmland to the camps, allowing the land to convert back to wilderness. The camps provide work and an income to the community. Animals that once lived in the bush have been reintroduced, studied, and allowed to establish a natural balance.
Our ranger and tracker were superb. Kyle, our thoughtful ranger who was wise beyond his years, had grown up on a farm on the edge of Kruger National Park. Growing up he spent time in the bush hunting on foot and was a keen observer of the nature of animals. In addition he has taken the time to educate himself and was a wealth of knowledge about the unique aspects of every animal we encountered, be it cheetah, warthog, frog, crocodile, leopard, or lion. He worked in smooth collaboration with Jobs, the highly skilled senior tracker, a 20-year veteran and genial member of the local community. Their mutual respect and consideration of one another was impressive.
In addition, we saw amazing animal interaction: cheetah hunting at lightening speed and the tenacity of a family of warthogs in the face of a fatal assault by a lioness and her three cubs. The action we observed here was far more intense, educational, and memorable than the next highly touted grand safari camp we visited when we left Phinda. You can be certain that you will come away with more than a photos of Africa and the animals when you visit Phinda.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set deep in the heart of a rare and beautiful dry sand forest, the award-winning Forest Lodge fuses architecture and conservation. The lodge was hand built by local artisans, with a minimal footprint on the forest floor – not one tree was felled during construction. An exquisite contradiction, floor-to-ceiling glass walls invite the forest inside, while the dense tree canopy shelters and provides privacy. Floating on stilts above the forest floor while dainty suni graze below, the 16 Zulu Zen suites blend harmoniously into the dappled shade. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Phinda Forest Hotel Phinda Private Game Reserve