Phinda Private Game Reserve | South Africa
Phinda Private Game Reserve | South Africa
His roots at &BEYOND run deep. It was way back in 1999 that his guiding career began at &BEYOND Phinda Mountain Lodge, and in the years following, he fulfilled the roles of lodge based mentor, assistant head ranger, and then head ranger. Seth was part of the team that pioneered specialist safaris for &BEYOND’s South African lodges, before being invited to join &BEYOND’s dedicated guide training programme as an active member required to train, develop and maintain the exemplary standards of the &&BEYOND guides and trackers in South Africa.
Ian completed &BEYOND’s Inkwazi Ranger Training course in early 2010 and fulfilled his childhood dream of living and working in the bush. After guiding in the Kalahari and Karoo for a couple of years, he returned to &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in 2012 and spent the next six years based at &BEYOND Phinda Mountain Lodge. Over time, Ian was promoted to Head Ranger and Specialist Guide, and in 2018 did a full circle and returned to the &BEYOND Inkwazi Ranger Training School as a Ranger Trainer. This afforded him the opportunity to help mentor guides in Botswana, South Africa, East Africa and India.
Truly one for the bucket list, this adventure to South Africa’s &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve is the perfect opportunity for any teenager who wants to travel and make a difference. If you are a wildlife enthusiast, great outdoor adventure–seeker, and are wanting to do more by learning about how you can leave the world a better place; then this 5-day journey is just for you.
You and your parent will have the unrivalled opportunity to connect with other like-minded teens and their parents; whilst reconnecting in the luxurious surrounds of &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge. You will have the exclusive opportunity to learn the tricks of the ranger trade from bird, dung, and plant identification to animal tracking, stargazing, and all-important conservation initiatives that take place at the reserve. Not only will you have insider access to the daily exploits of our rangers but (most importantly) you will learn about caring for the land, wildlife and people of this unique destination; and thus, the significant impact you and your parent can make by becoming an ambassador for Africa’s wild places.
What makes this a WILDchild Eco-Guide Challenge? You and the rest of the teens on this adventure will be challenged, just as our guides are, on what you have learnt whilst out on your excursions, earning certificates and prizes that will be handed out at a fun-filled ceremony dinner at the end of the journey.
4 nights Phinda Private Game Reserve
*This itinerary has been specially curated for a teenager (14-18) and their parent. In the spirit of giving back, your teenager will only be costed at 50% of the adult rate.
This unforgettable WILDchild journey is hosted by a Regional Guide Trainer and departs on a set date.
Should you wish to travel over different dates with your own party of children (even if of different ages), please contact one of our dedicated Travel Specialists to plan your adventure.
Welcome to South Africa and &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve! After touching down at Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport, you will be transferred via a light aircraft to the Phinda Airstrip, where you will be warmly welcomed and driven to &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge.
&Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve showcases one of the continent’s finest Big Five game viewing experiences and consists of a magnificent tapestry of seven unique landscapes across an impressive 28,555 hectares (70,560 acres) of protected wildlife terrain. Guests at Phinda experience unforgettable interpretive game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles, led by professionally trained &Beyond rangers and Zulu trackers, as well as a wide range of optional adventures in the bush and on the beach.
After a quick orientation, and the opportunity to freshen up, you will meet the other teens, and their parents, before embarking on your first exploration of the reserve on an afternoon game drive. Twice-daily game drives traversing across seven distinct habitats, allowing for a great diversity of landscapes and exclusive game viewing. &Beyond Phinda is home to a magnificent variety of wildlife, including the Big Five, but is best known for its large population of cheetah and black rhino.
In the evening, at dinner, you will meet your hosts, who will give you an overview of your programme for the next few days.
After an early morning wake-up call, you and your parent will embark on your first adventure, a rhino conservation experience.
What a way to kick-start your challenge by helping the Phinda Conservation Team. Depending on which research activity is available at the time, you will have the opportunity to assist in either a rhino notching or a rhino de-horning. These rhino are of great conservation significance, and we need to ensure the longevity of this wild animal, and that this healthy population does not diminish.
In the afternoon, enjoy a beautiful, sunset bush walk to learn the art of tracking. A walk through the bush is a far more intimate experience as, without the distracting hum of the safari vehicle, you will hear, smell, feel and see with heightened awareness, igniting your entire consciousness.
Afterwards, as the night sky brightens with a blanket of stars, immerse yourself in the wonders of a basic astronomy lesson. Your guide will teach you how to navigate by means of the stars, show you how to chart the skies and point out famous constellations (currently in the southern hemisphere).
Today, it’s time to go back to school…our Ranger Training School that is. All of &Beyond’s rangers and guides attend our Ranger Training Schools, of which we have two; Inkwazi, in South Africa and Mwewe in Tanzania. These schools educate our guides from both Southern and East Africa.
You will have the exclusive opportunity to go behind the scenes to learn some of the skills necessary to become a ranger/guide. You, your fellow teens, and parents will embark on exciting exercises similar to those that real guides go through in their training.
After a fun-filled morning, head back to the lodge for lunch and the opportunity to freshen up before heading out again for a bucket list adventure unlike any other, a Pangolin Conservation Experience. This ground-breaking initiative is to re-establish Temminck’s ground pangolin in a region where they have been locally extinct for decades. Join a researcher as they locate one of the pangolins that has been reintroduced to the reserve. Observe their unique features and adaptations first-hand as our researcher does a general health check and downloads critical research data from the UHF tag attached to each pangolin.
Tonight, enjoy dinner under the stars at the lodge boma and delight in the thrilling beats of Zulu drummers. Usually held under the night sky in the outdoor boma, this authentic experience offers a wonderful, cultural insight into the soul-stirring beats of this powerful nation.
After the jam-packed adventures, you experienced on days two and three, wind down a little on a morning game drive, followed by an insightful Africa Foundation community trip. This truly immersive cultural experience offers insight into the daily lives, struggles and triumphs of the communities surrounding &Beyond’s reserves.
&Beyond and Africa Foundation’s long-term collaboration is founded on shared values – to care for land, wildlife and people. Together, we aim to empower and develop the people living within or close to Africa’s protected wildlife areas by forging unique partnerships between conservation initiatives and local communities. In this way, these conservation initiatives become both meaningful and relevant to these communities.
Tonight will be your Eco-guide Challenge certification and prize-giving ceremony.
The next morning, after some well-deserved sleep and breakfast, we wave a fond farewell to you for your homeward flight.
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