Phinda

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Feb 3rd, 2004, 06:57 PM
  #1
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Phinda

I am taking my first trip to Africa from June 29 to July 17 of this year with my 65 year old very fit husband who prefers to travel in total luxury. My dream is to see animals ... any animals. I am in the midst of booking Singita Boulders, CapeTown at Grace, Victoria Falls Hotel, Mombo, Blue Train. I am still considering Londoloza and Jao and am very curious about Phinda. Any comments? I am particularly interested in Phinda as I have read such wonderful things about it but have never spoken to anyone who has actually been there.
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Feb 3rd, 2004, 09:41 PM
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You will struggle to find anyone with anything negative to say about Phinda - it is a lovely place. The real advantage I believe is that the terrain is so very different to what you will find on the lowveld and highveld (places like Singita and Londolozi).
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Feb 3rd, 2004, 10:26 PM
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For a good contrast of locations/ game viewing opportunities you may also want to look at some camps in Botswana - we've experienced great game viewing at Mombo (which has really beautiful tents, though doesn't focus on gourmet dining - more on the game viewing) and I've heard great things about viewing at Duba Plains - not quite on a par luxury wise but still VERY comfortable and great viewing.
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Feb 4th, 2004, 04:30 AM
  #4
sandi
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As Kavey mentions - if considering Mombo, then also include at least another camp in Botswana, maybe Jao.

If doing Singita Bolders or Ebony, I would skip Londolozi and instead go to Phinda for a different environment.
 
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Feb 4th, 2004, 10:02 AM
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Loved, loved, loved Phinda. I would recommend the Rock lodge, followed by Vlei as a second choice. We did a trip of Phinda, Singita and Royal Malewane and saw most game at Phinda. Also, guides were the most fun at Phinda. The other guests were the most fun there, too, although I am sure that this is just luck of the draw!
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Feb 5th, 2004, 06:16 AM
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I agree with Sandi's comments on Singita and Londolozi. I was on safari at Londolozi and Ngala last September. When we were on game drive at Londolozi we crossed paths with Singita Land Rovers. I asked our guide about them and was told that the two camps have an agreement to be able to access each others areas. The animal viewing at Londolozi was incredible and the guides/trackers were first rate.
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Feb 5th, 2004, 06:32 AM
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Just got back from South Africa 2 days ago. We stayed at Singita Boulders and Phinda. We stayed at both Mountain and Forest lodges in Phinda. It wasn't planned that way but it worked out. The terrain at Mountain(Rock)lodge was completely different from Forest(Vlei). We did not know this before planning the trip-also Mountain and Forest lodges are about 30-45min drive between them. The terrain at Mountain is rocky and the ground is red clay while the terraine at Forest is a sand forest so there are palm trees. Completely different! We saw alot of game-especially while at Forest. We saw everything except for Leopard-we saw that at Singita. The difference between Forest and Vlei is vlei has a plunge pool and views of the grass plains (more expensive also) while Forest is more in the forest. Mountain and Rock are the same Rock as a plunge pool and Mountain does not. To get to Phinda we took the air transfer(highly recommend-beautiful views of the coast line).

The landscape at Phinda and Singita is very different. We saw heards of elephant while at Phinda and only a few at Singita. Game viewing is all about being in the right place at the right time and the time of year makes a big difference. While a Phinda, they were in a drought and all of the hippo had left the area but usually you see alot of them.

While at Singita Boulders ask for Carmen (guide), she was awesome-very knowledgable and whatever we wanted to see, she found.

While at Singita we wanted to see a lion kill (did not) and were told that if we want to see that we should go to Chief's Island in Botswana (Chief's Camp/Mombo) because you see a lion kill almost every day.
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Feb 5th, 2004, 11:02 AM
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ritzyt,
Sound like a great trip. I've stayed at the Victoria Falls Hotel a couple of times it's certainly very nice and certainly evokes the "colonial past". But it is rather large and anonymous in comparison with some of the smaller outlying lodges. You can stay outside of town and still see the Falls very easily.

We loved Tongabezi which is very romantic, the riverfront room we stayed in 'Wild dog" was wonderful as were the staff and the activities...They canoed us out to a tiny island in the Zambezi...we went for a quick walk with the guide and when we came back they'd set up a lovely meal in the midlle of nowhere with china, silver and a white table cloth! We also had sundiiwners at one of their small lodges on the river and dinner on a floating pontoon in the river with each course brought over by canoe!

We only stayed two days but it was very memorable.

Hope that helps!
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Feb 7th, 2004, 03:08 PM
  #9
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Wow ... thank you for all of your comments noted above. I am wondering where the best place to stay in Phinda ? Also who did you use to book it. My contact refuses to book anywhere in this area. Thanks so much.
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Feb 8th, 2004, 06:10 AM
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My travel agent booked our trip through Goway. They have a website www.goway.com
Almost none of the places we stayed at were listed in the Goway brochure but they will pretty much do anything you want them to. Once on the ground in South Africa they use Thompsons. While your here there is always a Thompsons rep available to help with anything--excellent service, takes all the stress out of the trip. Goway was also the cheapest we were able to find. As for which lodge is best at Phinda, I would say Vlei for location (I did not see the rooms but in the brochure they look awesome-private plunge pool). The rooms face the grass plains and you see a lot of game there while Forest's lobby has the same view, the rooms are in the forest and only have views of trees, which is nice, but not really any animals. We were told that sometimes the elephants will come into Vlei and drink from the plunge pools--that is so cool. Hope this helps, I'd be happy to answere any other questions. Also, I would have stayed at Vlei instead of Forest if I wasn't spending a small fortune to stay at Singita (although worth every penny).
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Feb 8th, 2004, 08:41 AM
  #11
 
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After staying at Phinda last May, I could offer a few thoughts. The main difference between Vlei and Forest is number of chalets/houses. I think Vlei has only 6, while Forest has 17. So, it's really a matter of exclusivity. Like Lisa, I stayed at Forest so I could 'justify' the expense of Singita later in my trip. If you want a very intimate setting with just a few couples, choose Vlei. If you like the company of perhaps 12-14 couples at meals, then choose Forest. For game viewing, there were never more than six guests in the vehicle (most times, just four). As mentioned in the posts above, game was prolific at Phinda with the exception of leopard. My trip included Londolozi, which had something like 17 leopards on the reserve : )
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Feb 9th, 2004, 06:31 PM
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Girlpolo33

How many different leopards did you end up seeing at Londoz's?

I recently visited MalaMala and saw eight different leopards in eight days which I thought was pretty amazing!.

On a single night drive at MalaMala on a previous visit in May 2002 I saw four different leopards-must be a record!

Anyway I am of the opinion that the Sabi Sands Game Reserve provides the best leopard viewing in Africa.

At Singita in December 2003 I saw three different leopards in three days.

At Londolozi Tree and Londolozi Safari in December 2003 we saw five different leopards in six days.

Londolozi is now offering a leopard tracking experience.This package costs 11 000 rands for two days and allows you to spend 24 hours a day tracking leopards in a private vehicle!
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Feb 10th, 2004, 06:29 AM
  #13
norrisely
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Our last time we combined Mombo in Botswana, MalaMala (KK-Kruger) and Phinda (Forest Lodge). Nice contrast, and great viewing each place. No need to pay the prices of Singita and Londolozi, unless you want to.
 
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Feb 12th, 2004, 12:02 PM
  #14
 
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Safarinut: I think we saw just three different leopards in two days. Wow, you had great leopard viewing! As an aside, would you like 'little leopards' in your house? I love my two Bengal cats, which are domestic cats 5 or 6 generations removed from the Asian Leopard Cat (referred to as F1 in the Bengal breeding program). The Asian Leopard Cat cannot be kept as a pet, but the Bengal is a gorgeous, spotted little leopard with a 'pelted' fur...it does not shed. They are a bit wild, very vocal and highly active. Just type 'Bengal Cats' into a search engine and take a look at this amazing breed. Then you'll be surrounded by leopards without traveling to Africa!
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