AandA

Include Phinda with Sabi Sand?

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Not a lot to people recently talking about Phinda...

I have read old TRs here from people who were "mixed" after having gone...

 

Our second safari and thought to include new area , Phinda: but flights are now poorly timed and expensive from Jo'burg and from Kruger.

Would you recommend the trip there?

We know about the black rhino/cheetah presence, but also have learned not "to count" on certain animals, as it is a recipe for disappointment.... all regions are wonderful we think!

we went to Chobe region, Sabi Sand and Hwange last trip (our first) and only want 12 days safari next time:

thinking Malamala, Phinda Vlei and Ngala Tented....

would appreciate feedback from those who have been to any/all areas?  Would you go again?

thank you so much!

 

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Posted (edited)

I went to Phinda, staying at Forest Lodge, then returned several years later  to Mountain Lodge.  So, to answer your question, I did go again.  Your rhino/cheetah presence comment is the main reason I went, along with turtle egg laying.  In particular, I wanted to do rhino tracking on the first trip and did do 3 outings on a June visit.  We tracked white rhino, not black just because it was the white's trails we picked up each time. Phinda is a great place for rhino tracking.  Must stay at Forest or Vlei for rhino tracking.

 

Next time was mainly for the night-time turtle egg laying on the beach.  That was in early Dec and the turtle outing was wonderful.  We saw cheetahs on both trips and they were a highlight of each visit, along with other wildlife.  The unique activities of rhino tracking (on a weeklong stay) and turtles (on a 4-nt stay) added something different to my Phinda visits.  I also did walking, canoeing, and a village visit at Phinda.  Would I go back a third time to Phinda?  Maybe for turtle hatchlings running into the sea.

 

On one of the Phinda trips I coupled it with Mala Mala.  I thought that was a really good pairing. So many spotted cats (leopard at Mala Mala and cheetah at Phinda).  I'd go back to Mala Mala again some day, or somewhere nearby in Sabi Sands.  Mala Mala has a huge area, though, compared to other concessions, when looking at a map, which gives it an edge.  The wildlife was extremely plentiful and accessible at Mala Mala.

 

Your 3-stop combo would be a winner!  Each spot would be unique and offer something different. 

Edited by Atravelynn

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if you are concerned about transfer costs consider taking the Ashtons  shuttle to Kruger instead of SA Express

 

the shuttle takes about 6 hrs  and is a whole lot cheaper

 

the shuttle leaves earlier

 

they both will get you to your camp in time for the afternoon game drive

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Thank you both so much!   We'd been debating and this really helps solidify the ideas.

We'd be going end of August into early Sept: 12 nights safari.

It wasn't so much the cost of the Phinda flight , as the time it took.... probably fine by then as the camps are asking airlines to improve routing.

Lynn: glad to know you liked Malamala.... I've been struggling with it vs Londolozi as service is supposedly much better at Londo (I liked the Photography studio presence) and they have trackers.... but nightly costs are close to $500 more for us as a couple than Malamala.... a lot!!!

If anyone else has suggestions or advice, we'd welcome it!

I love the  TRs and photos on this site and everyone is so helpful and friendly!

thanks!

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I seem to recall someone mentioning that there are no direct flights any more between Sabi and phi day and it was a bit of a waste of time. Was it @PCNW ?

 

i haven't been to mala mala or londolozi but I haven't heard bad things about either. In Sabi sands I have been to kirkman's camp and leopard hills. I liked them both and they are in different areas with different terrain. If you were thinking of &beyond (phinda, ngala) then it might make more sense to also stay at one of their Sabi camps, as they may do a combination discount (or offer free flights etc.)

 

for my last Sabi trip I also combined it with timbavati and the difference was stark. I realise that timbavati is much cheaper than Sabi, but I much preferred the terrain at Sabi (although we had some very good sightings in timbavati - you can see in my 2014 TR)

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Thanks TD!   Would you not recommend Ngala?

No more free flights IMO, just 10% long stay discount: reason we thought to do Phinda and Ngala.  Kirkmans was disappointing on our May visit: may just have had bad luck but animals were sparse.  

 

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Posted (edited)

Didn't stay at Ngala, but at king's camp

 

don't they also have another Sabi lodge?

Edited by Tdgraves

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Thanks again  Td!  &Beyond have Kirkmans in Sabi and Ngala in Timbavati and that is all I know of other than Phinda in S, Africa. 

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@AandA

 

We've stayed at both Ngala Tented and Phinda Vlei (although not on the same trip, so I'm afraid I can't be of help with respect to transfers) and were very impressed with both overall. They are smaller and more intimate than some of the other choices, and there's a maximum of 6 guests per vehicle -- something very important to us. 

 

At Ngala Tented we had 3 top-notch leopard sightings in 4 days (including a female with a kill in a tree and two cubs), as well as a huge herd of buffalo. The landscape at Phinda is more varied and interesting, and it's great for cheetahs. We saw a female cheetah and 5 juveniles at Ngala, but that was a bit lucky, as they are spotty (no pun intended) there.  Phinda is much more reliable for cheetah. It also has black rhino, which you might not encounter at the other reserves. 

 

I'd happily go back to both lodges in a heartbeat. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, AandA said:

Thanks again  Td!  &Beyond have Kirkmans in Sabi and Ngala in Timbavati and that is all I know of other than Phinda in S, Africa. 

 

 

I haven't been to the Sabi Sands in more than 10 years so my info is outdated ... but, I think Kirkman's used to once be part of Mala Mala.  You should have similar viewing there (esp Leopard).

 

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10 hours ago, AandA said:

Thanks again  Td!  &Beyond have Kirkmans in Sabi and Ngala in Timbavati and that is all I know of other than Phinda in S, Africa. 

 

I forgot that Exeter river lodge is now dulini lodge!

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Thanks so much TD,  madaboutcheetah, and Alexander!

Yes, Exeter now Dulini and Kirkman's owned by &Beyond (they can briefly go into MM territory).

Will probably go with Phinda and Ngala, but if anyone recently gone to Phinda and dealt with the plane issue, I'd really appreciate your thoughts...

thanks so much to all!!!

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Posted (edited)

phinda  and places nearby are best accessed via Richards Bay airport

 

there are not thst many flights per day

 

rather than having to get to the airport early , you might like to take the mid afternoon flight on the day before , then go to the nearby Wild Duck Inn , then onto Phinda the next day

 

it is very close to the airport , a simple and comfortable rate and airport transfers are included in the b and b rate

 

the dinner is easily  affordable

Edited by COSMIC RHINO
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47 minutes ago, COSMIC RHINO said:

phinda  and places nearby are best accessed via Richards Bay airport

 

there are not thst many flights per day

 

rather than having to get to the airport early , you might like to take the mid afternoon flight on the day before , then go to the nearby Wild Duck Inn , then onto Phinda the next day

 

it is very close to the airport , a simple and comfortable rate and airport transfers are included in the b and b rate

 

the dinner is easily  affordable  Speaking of dinner, and more specifically dessert,  I recall paying homage to Phinda's chocolate salami after a couple glasses of wine.

 

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  • the shuttle to Kruger is a good cost saving  option for the forward trip
  • the return trip  does not fit in with  afternoon flight to Richards bay
  • within the ORITA airport Johanesburg it is just as easy to clear  security then take the escalator  instead of the lift
  • this way there is no possibility of being stuck in a jammed lift
  • safari destinations like Hoedspruit, Nelspruit and Richards  Bay all have gate lounges at the far end

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I stayed at both Londolozi and Phinda on my first safari in 2012 and both were great. Lots of leopards, elephants, rhino etc. at Londolozi and amazing service, Phinda great cheetah with five cubs experience, also rhino, lions with kills, etc. The flight between the two may be different now than it was then so I can't comment on that but we flew straight from the Sabi Sands to Phinda.

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I have  my doubts a  point   to point air service

 

if you use SA Express  from Nelspruit or hoedspruit  there is a few hours wait in Johannesburg for the Richards Bay overnight flight  ,then rest overnight for your transfer next morning

 

with SA Express they use shorts planes with limited cabin bag locker space

 

anything too big must go into the skycheck cart , they have staff to check bags for size 

 

it is best to have your camera ,binos ,batteries, charger, medication removed , carry that in something like a small shopping bag , then the rest travels locked via skycheck and you collect it on the tarmac when you get out at the other end  

 

for anyone who has not used the service before  at Johannesburg the flights depart from the lower level of the terminal and passengers are taken to the plane using a  bus, at your destination  you  go down the stairs , collect your skycheck bag, then walk across the tarmacs to the terminal

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Just want to thank everyone for your help!

Phinda flights are just too long/expensive and so, we have decided to drop it from plan.

just wanted to say thanks!

 

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