Nestled in the luscious jungle landscape found in Zululand is Phinda Game Reserve. This dreamy reserve showcases the continent’s best opportunities for game viewing experiences. It’s home to the Big 5, so of course, you’re in for an absolutely magical safari adventure.
What makes the reserve particularly special is that it’s one of the best places to spy upon the mysterious black rhino and shy cheetah.
With 5-star lodges, the finest guides, and twice-daily game drives, Phinda is a bucket-list safari destination that’s a short flight away from South African cities. You can easily fly from Johannesburg to Durban before embarking on a private shuttle ride to the reserve.
This guide is here to clue you in on all you need to know about having an unforgettable experience at this nature reserve in Durban.
Where is Phinda Game Reserve?
Phinda Game Reserve location is found in Durban, Kwazulu Natal. It’s tucked between iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Mkuze Game Reserve. The lush region is home to 7 distinct habitats spread over 28 555 hectares of conservation lands, meaning there’s a plethora of wildlife just waiting to be discovered.
Many South Africans choose to purchase holiday homes in Durban, given its close proximity to the beach, countless seaside restaurants, and entertainment areas. Being a short 3 and a half-hour drive from Durban central, the private game reserve is an ideal weekend trip that’s away from the hustle and bustle.
Phinda Private Game Reserve Experiences
Falling in love with Phinda Game Reserve couldn’t be easier. With exhilarating game drives, top-class wildlife guides, and the most jaw-dropping accommodation options, Phinda takes the outdoor bush experience to a new level.
There is a magnificent array of wildlife roaming throughout the private game reserve. As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest draws to visiting Phinda is the chance to feast your eyes on the glorious Big 5.
Because of the diverse landscape, you’ll come across different species of wildlife that enjoy a wide range of habitats. The rare dry sand forest is teeming with antelope and duiker, while the wetlands and vibrant forests are often where you can catch herds of elephants carelessly grazing.
This diversity also provides an incredible bird-watching experience. The private game reserve in KZN boasts 436 bird species that can be spotted in the thickets of the forest, alongside the marshes and pans, and hidden within the mountain ranges.
Phinda game reserve in Durban features 6 wonderful lodges that all have their own unique charm. Given that there is a range of accommodation options, you can more easily find an option that works with your travel budget and the size of your travel group.
- Forest Lodge: Zulu-Zen suites that boast enormous glass windows that show off the magical surrounding sand forest. This is a superb option for those of you who are looking for a little more seclusion and privacy.
- Mountain Lodge: If you and your family are planning a trip to Phinda, then the Mountain Lodge would be the perfect fit. It’s spacious, stylish, and has an exquisite outdoor patio complete with a pool.
- Vlei Lodge: This lodge sits on the outskirts of the sand forest, which offers prime wildlife viewing right from your spacious suite.
- Rock Lodge: Rock Lodge provides you with the ultimate outdoor experience. The stone suites have the most incredible views of the Zuluvalley below. You’ll feel like you’re in your own castle as you listen to the sounds of the wildlife right from your bed.
- Zuka Lodge: Travelers are in for a treat when they book an all-inclusive stay at Zuka Lodge. The charming suites overlook the watering hole, which is frequented by dozens of animals each day.
- Phinda Homestead: This exclusive villa oozes luxury, while still providing creature comforts and personal touches. The villa features four private bedrooms with large bathrooms, as well as plenty of seating to unwind after a day spent in the bush.
While waking up at the crack of dawn might not appeal to some, it’s something that has to be done when you’re on a safari. It’s the time when the animals are most active, plus you get to witness magnificent sunrises.
Each day, you’ll have two game drives, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon – just in time for sundowners and sunsets. But there’s also an array of other safari activities that can be enjoyed on this private nature reserve:
- Birding safaris
- Night drives
- Boma dinners
- Black rhino tracking
- Zulu village tours
- Healing Earth wellness treatment
- Safari shopping
- Photographic safari
- Sleepovers experiences under the stars
Phinda Game Reserve Rates
Zuka Lodge rates start at around USD $569 (ZAR R8,565) pp/night sharing, which makes it the most affordable lodge. On the other hand, Rock Lodge, as well as Vlei Lodge, are your most expensive stays, which start at around $757 (R11,400) pp/night sharing.
The top of the range accommodation option is the homestead experience, which could put you out $4,385 (R66,000) for the entire home.
One thing to note is that the high season for safaris in Durban is August and September, as it’s the driest season. This means there’s more of an opportunity to see animals through the thin grass and at the watering holes.
Finding specials for game reserves is most commonly done on safari lodge booking sites. Places like BushBreaks & More and Andbeyond Phinda allow you to book standard accommodation at the reserve, with regular specials and all-inclusive packages.
Discover Phinda Lodges & Safari Experiences
Phinda Game Reserve allows you to get closer to nature in one of the most sustainable ways – a safari adventure. See the animals in their natural habitat, roaming freely in conservation areas. On top of the enchanting wildlife, you also have the opportunity to stay in extraordinary accommodations.
If you’ve fallen in love with the luscious terrain found in Phinda, you should definitely explore organic gardening. It’s an incredible way to replicate the wilderness in an eco-friendly way that’ll encourage the development of natural scapes that look just like the ones found in the reserve!