Offering a rich wildlife viewing experience and a spectacular setting near the northern KwaZulu-Natal coastline, &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve boasts a variety of habitats and high density of game, including some rare and less easily spotted species. With seven distinct habitats, &Beyond Phinda is a magnificent tapestry of landscapes, from woodland to grassland, wetland and forest, interspersed with mountain ranges, river courses, marshes and pans. Home to a large portion of the world’s remaining rare sand forest, &Beyond Phinda sits in close proximity to the unspoiled beaches and marine reefs of the Indian Ocean, with a combination of bush and beach adventures possible from the reserve.
&Beyond Phinda is home to a magnificent variety of wildlife, including the entire Big Five, but is best known for its large population of the elegant cheetah and the endangered black rhino, both of which are less easily spotted at other game reserves. The rare sand forest is home to the shy suni and the rare red duiker, two tiny antelope that are seldom encountered elsewhere. The reserve’s population of nyala is the biggest on private land and guests are guaranteed frequent encounters with this stately animal.
Established in 1991 on reclaimed farmland, &Beyond Phinda has earned prestigious international conservation awards and recognition as one of the world’s premier benchmarks for responsible, sustainable travel. Some of the reserve’s most notable conservation firsts include:
- Site of the black rhino range expansion project
- Home to one of South Africa’s most important cheetah populations
- Leopard research project has led to changes in provincial legislation
- First private game reserve to donate rhino for translocation to another country
&Beyond Phinda consists of seven varied and diverse eco-systems, allowing for a rich variety of birds, animals and vegetation. One of the most remarkable of these habitats is the rare dry sand forest, with its massive trees, cacti, orchids, ferns, mosses and creepers. The reserve is also home to three different types of savannah, from coastal grassland to open woodland and mixed bushveld, with thick tangles of trees. Two rivers run through &Beyond Phinda, creating a fertile marshland studded with magnificent fever trees at their junction. The rocky foothills of the Lebombo Mountains run through the south of the reserve. Guests enjoy the unique opportunity to explore each of these habitats and meet their inhabitants, particularly when combining two or more lodges.
Apart from the magnificent landscapes of &Beyond Phinda itself, guests staying at the reserve can experience day trips to the nearby KwaZulu-Natal coastline, including the diving mecca of Sodwana Bay.
Guests at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve may view different wildlife depending on where they are based, making it a good idea to spend a few nights in both the north and south of the reserve. The sleek cheetah and massive rhino are often encountered, as are prides of lion. Phinda also has a sizeable population of leopard, although this elusive cat is less frequently sighted.
While the frequency of big game encounters may not be as high as at other reserves, Phinda is a private game reserve, which means that vehicle numbers at sightings are strictly monitored. Guests are thus ensured a far more exclusive game viewing experience, with fewer interruptions and more time spent with wildlife. Sensitive off-road driving practices result in close-up, quality wildlife experiences for our guests. Afternoon game drives are also able to continue after dark, allowing guests a glimpse into the nocturnal life of the bush.
- Excellent Big Five game viewing, with spectacular sightings of the elusive cheetah and the rare black rhino.
- Provides a sanctuary for threatened wildlife, such as cheetah and black rhino
- A birder’s paradise, with 436 bird species
- Near to the popular breeding grounds of the highly endangered sea turtles
- Spectacular coral reef diving in the Indian Ocean easily accessible nearby
- Seven distinct habitats allow for much greater diversity in species and landscapes
Summer (October – April)
Min 24°C/75°F Max 32°C/90°F
Winter (May – September)
Min 8°C/46°F Max 23°C/73°F
Perfect for year round travel. Lush and hot in summer, with an abundance of young animals. The vegetation becomes thinner in the dry winter months and the cooler temperatures allow for the best all-round game viewing.