Phinda forest lodge anyone?

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Oct 22nd, 2003, 10:11 PM
  #1
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Phinda forest lodge anyone?

Hi everyone, I was wondering whether anyone has stayed at the Phinda forest lodge in SA? If yes, how was the experience (photograph of the glass chalet in the middle of the forest looks awesome)? How far is it from Capetown? Anything will be helpful. Thanks/Aarti
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Oct 22nd, 2003, 11:46 PM
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Aarti,

We returned from our Forest Lodge stay in September. We had a wonderful stay there and Phinda in general is highly recommended. The staff are friendly and go out of their way to make sure you are comfortable and well looked after. The rooms are beutiful and the surrounding glass is a unique experience. We stayed in #6 which we believe is one of the better rooms...it is the furthest room I believe from the main lodge and has a savannah view. The meals were superb! It is one of the larger lodges in Phinda more than 10 rooms. Vlei lodge is close by and we visited it on an afternoon walk. Vlei has only 6 rooms each with individual plunge pools. We did not visit the other two lodges on Phinda in the South. We heard they are very nice also. Phinda is a long way from Capetown and we do not recommend driving. You can fly into Richard's Bay airport and be met for a short transfer from there.

There is further review of our experience under the the trip report posting titled "Return from SA".

Have fun!
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Oct 22nd, 2003, 11:51 PM
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Hi Aarti
I have not been fortunate enough to stay at Phinda - but its reputation is excellent. There are a number of regular posters who will be able to answer this first part of your question, I can respond to the second part.
Phinda is in northern KwaZulu-Natal and quite some distance from Cape Town.
The nearest commercial airport to Phinda is Richards Bay, but there are no direct flights from RBay to Cape Town. You would need to fly to Johannesburg first, then connect through to Cape Town. RBay to Jhb is about 1.5 hrs, and then Jhb to Cape Town is another 2 hrs. Allow time to connect between these flights in Jhb.
The other option is to drive from Phinda to Durban (about 2 to 2.5 hrs), and then fly direct from Durban to Cape Town (just over 2 hrs). One poster mentioned that Phinda had flown them on a private charter between Durban and the lodge - this would cut down on your travelling time.
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Oct 23rd, 2003, 04:28 AM
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Thanks guys. I have never been to South Africa so im a little ignorant about distances between places.

I have one more question, my husband and I are planning fly to South Africa after a 6 day camping safari in Botswana. The duration of our stay in SA is about 8-9 days (right now we are only certain on Cape Town). Do you think Phinda is 'must do' or can it be left for another time? Also, is end november/early december a good time to go shark diving?

Appreciate your inputs- Aarti
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Oct 23rd, 2003, 08:29 AM
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I really don't want to hijack your thread...but who's Botswana safari are you taking? I'm researching for a May trip and am looking at a luxury mobile tented safari from Karibu and a longer, serviced camping safari from Classic Africa (Wilderness Dawning). Obviously you will be back before we go, but at the rate I'm going I will not have made a decision by then, anyway Thanks
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Oct 23rd, 2003, 08:45 AM
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Hi Busted
Im with Karibu for the Botswana part of my trip. Will be back around the first week of december so be sure to check with me then. So far, I hear only good things about them. Good luck plaaaaannnning your trip!
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Oct 23rd, 2003, 10:08 AM
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Uyaphi.com
Bronwyn Hughes
Tel: 021 - 797 2168
Fax: 021 - 797 1136
International Code: +27 (0)
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: www.uyaphi.com

Bronwyn hooked me up with a GREAT rate at Phinda Forest for 4 nights in early December. I have never been but I hear it is great. Good luck.

Kevin
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Oct 23rd, 2003, 01:58 PM
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aarti -

>>Also, is end november/early december a good time to go shark diving?<<

It was good for us. We almost always travel everywhere that time of year. We were in '01 and we (rather sweetie) enjoyed 3 sharks below the water. I could see them from up top, and got great photos of sharks wide open mouth grabbing at the chum bag. And sweetie got some great underater photos, but the water was a bit murky.

But as with animals, there is no guarantee that you will attract sharks. Yet we met various others during our time in SA who also did the shark cage diving and they too did see sharks.

It's a fun thing to do - go for it!
 
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Oct 23rd, 2003, 06:35 PM
  #9
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Thanks Kevin and Sandi.

Sandi, I was wondering whether you could recommend a good tour operator for the shark diving trip? There are quite a few names..

Thanks again for your help.
Aarti
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Oct 23rd, 2003, 11:27 PM
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Aarti,

In Sept we went on a boat called the Predator which departs from Gansbaai. Brian McFarlane is the owner. They are highly recommended. The cage is a four person cage with and during our dive in Sept. the count according to the captain was 14 sharks for the day. Size varied from young sharks to full grown huge ones.
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Oct 23rd, 2003, 11:58 PM
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Thats fantastic! Thanks Leoville. How might I reach this Brian McFarlane person? Any website link? Or email?
I read here somewhere that the sharks are gone by november and the ideal time to dive is until september. Is this true? By the time we get to SA it'll be the last week of november.

Thanks/Aarti
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Oct 24th, 2003, 03:41 AM
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aarti -

We used:

White Shark Eco-ventures
website: www.sharkdive.co.za
email: [email protected]
Ask for Cindy or Mariette

Cost is about $100-$150 for the day including pick-up/return to CPT and breakfast or lunch. Our pick-up was about 9am; it's about a 2-hr drive to Gansbaai where we had a light meal (not bkfst, not lunch) and there were soft drinks available onboard. They use a 2-person cage.

Whether with this company or another, it's a fun day. As for end-November, we saw sharks as did others we met during out trip to SA.
 
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Oct 24th, 2003, 10:31 AM
  #13
 
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Aarti,

Here is the website for the Predator...
http://www.sharkcagediving.net/thetrip.htm

The round cage in the picture is not what they use. They have a rectangle cage that 4 people go into at one time.

Have fun!
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