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Phinda Reserve

Thursday, October 2, 2008
CC Africa's 23,000-hectare Phinda Private Game Reserve is in the Maputuland region of northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa's Zulu Kingdom. The wild and diverse prime conservation land has seven distinct habitats providing shelter for an abundance of wildlife, including the big five: lion, leopard, elephant, black and white rhino and buffalo. There are more than 380 bird species, and its marine diversity off the coast of Sodwana is said to rival Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

It is bordered by Swaziland and Zululand to the west, and Mozambique to the north. KwaZulu-Natal's northern-most region is a mostly flat area of game parks, wetlands and marine reserves. It is sparsely populated and one of the most unspoilt areas of the province.

Maputaland's name comes from the Maputo River. Once under water, Maputaland has risen slightly above sea level, so rivers meander their way to the sea, leaving a large number of freshwater and brackish lakes and pans. The small lakes are home to endless species of fish, water birds, crocodiles and hippos. Locals have developed ingenious traps across the lake to capture fish.

One of South Africa's nine provinces, KwaZulu-Natal has an eclectic mix of cultures, and the fascinating history of the Zulu nation is evident in battlefields and historical establishments dotted here and there.

Phinda's safari activities are plentiful. There are 4×4 game drives, interpretive bush walks, flights, canoeing and cruising on the Mzinene River, white rhino tracking, and taking in spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Sodwana Bay is for game fishing and scuba diving, and False Bay Nature Reserve is the place for horse riding.

Phinda is partly made up of reclaimed cattle farms and needed to be restocked with the big game species whose habitat was destroyed by a century of agricultural activities. The cheetah population has more than doubled since being reintroduced and is a huge success story.

A truly brilliant way to appreciate the vastness and natural inhabitants of Phinda is with a "Flight of the Fish Eagle" air safari. The light aircraft floats weightlessly over fragile dunes, scenic pans, coastal lakes and the Indian Ocean.

Guests are treated to game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles with experienced rangers and Zulu trackers. There are also thrilling activities to be had on water, in the air and on the beach.

Walking Safaris track white rhinos, buffalo herds and elephant bulls. Experienced guides know exactly where to look and the animals' favourite haunts.

A very special element is a visit to a Zulu community with an African Foundation representative. You will visit a school, see community projects and be introduced to song and dance, traditions and a strong sense of ubuntu (humanness). Visitors invariably feel a sense of privilege from the experience, and Phinda is proud of its contribution.

There is an exceptional range of accommodation on Phinda. Forest Lodge has 16 spacious, hand-built, glass-encased, air-conditioned suites on stilts. They have private viewing decks, ensuite facilities, a rim-flow pool and luxurious dining and sitting areas.

Mountain Lodge has 25 air-conditioned suites with sitting area, ensuites, bar and private deck. Vlei Lodge has six stilted glass and thatch cottages situated in the rare Dry Sand Forest.

Rock Lodge has six suites extending from the side of a rocky cliff. They have a private sitting area, bar, plunge pool and decks with views of Leopard Rock and the valley.

Zuka Lodge has four thatched Zululand bush cottages with verandas overlooking a busy waterhole. Air-conditioned and with fans and ensuite facilities, they have a circular stone bath chamber, double showers and built-in sofas in sitting areas that double as beds for children.

Getty House is a combination of Eastern Free State sandstone with timber, thatching and screeded cement. Airy, free-flowing spaces and hues of grey, slate and celadon are superbly stylish, yet quite suitable for the location. There are four spacious suites, each with sliding panel windows, while an interactive kitchen allows intimate and informal dining.

The famous Getty oil family has been actively involved in conservation and ecotourism in Southern Africa since the early 1990s. Brothers Tara and Mark Getty were primarily responsible for funding the purchase of ranches and acquisition of wild animals.

Tara Getty, in his personal capacity, started the Africa Foundation. Tara and his wife Jessica have continued to build on their personal African dream, by further investing in the people, culture and wildlife of the Northern Zululand region. The Getty House at Phinda is the residence of Tara and Jessica Getty and is available for Phinda guests when the Getty's are out of the country.


Phinda Private Game Reserve in Maputaland, six hours' drive south-east from Johannesburg.


CC Africa has accommodation starting at Phinda Forest Lodge including a safari, all meals and drinks starting at around $446 per person a night.

Accommodation for between two and eight guests at The Getty House is around $6780 a night. It includes exclusive lodge use, private ranger, butler and chef, use of a 4×4 safari vehicle and a rim-flow pool.

South African Airways has return airfares to Johannesburg.

Fares from:

  • Perth $2264
  • Sydney $2444
  • Adelaide $2497
  • Brisbane $2513
  • Melbourne $2514

Prices correct at October 2, 2008.

For further information

Phinda Reserve
CC Africa
Private Bag X27
Johannesburg 2010
South Africa
Ph: +27 11 809 4300
Fax: +27 11 809 4400

South African Tourism
Information/brochure lines: 1800 238 643
Ph: (02) 9261 5000
Fax: (02) 9261 2000

South African Airways
Ph: 1800 221 699
Ph: 1800 099 281 (from Western Australia)

About Africa Foundation
CC Africa founded Africa Foundation in 1992 to facilitate a commitment to empowering communities through conservation. As an independently registered, not-for-profit organisation, Africa Foundation's primary focus is on education, health care and income generation development in communities adjacent to CC Africa's conservation areas. Together with CC Africa and the generous support of its guests, and through a rigorous process of consultation with the communities, Africa Foundation has implemented a range of projects that deliver meaningful benefits to rural communities across Africa.

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