Phinda's 7 distinct habitats ???

Reply

Mar 30th, 2006, 03:44 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Phinda's 7 distinct habitats ???

Can you name them? Along with the 7 dwarfs?
Just kidding about the 7 dwarfs. I keep reading about the 7 Phinda habitats, but cannot find exactly what those 7 are. Thanks.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 30th, 2006, 04:05 PM
  #2
cw
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,648
atravelynn,

Doc, Grumpy . . . oh you want Phinda!

Can't speak from experience (yet) but the Phinda brochure says:

". . . seven distinct habitats. These include the rare Dry Sand Forest, savanna, woodland and wetland systems, beautiful rivercourses, mountain ranges, marshes and pans."

CW
cw is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 30th, 2006, 05:04 PM
  #3
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi atravelynn,

Besides what cw covered, i think they also are talking about their marine eco-systems. You can also see the leather-back turtles there......

Did you bid on their auction currently running on safariasap?

Will keep you posted from my trip there in August.

Hari
 
Reply With Quote
Mar 30th, 2006, 06:02 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,922
Hari and Atravelynn-
The marine ecosystem is not part of Phinda. About an hour's drive away is Sodwana Bay which is on the Indian Ocean. Beautiful beaches where the turtles lay their eggs while in season and you can enjoy scuba or horsebackriding or picnic-ing.

An excerpt taken from their website

Phinda wildlife habitats:
The unique dry Sand Forest is characterised by newtonia, umzithi, pteliopsis and Zulu podberry trees with abundant epiphytic orchids and Africa’s only cactus species (Rhipsalis). Mixed bushveld savanna is dominated by acacia trees, with different species thriving on clay or sandy soils. Open woodland of tall marula, bushwillow and terminalia occurs on sandy soils. Palmveld is characterised by open grassland dotted with lala palm and waterberry thickets. Evergreen forest and thickets fringe the Mzinene and Munyawana Rivers, with tamboti, sycamore fig and weeping boerbean among typical trees. Groves of sulphur-barked fever trees occur on floodplains. Seasonal marshes and pans are inundated after heavy summer rains. Rocky hillsides are cloaked with trees such as common wild-pear, red bushwillow and galpin.

I was there in '04 and thoroughly loved it. It's fun to traverse the game reserve going from one mini-ecosystem to another. From forest eles to cheetah on the savannah to buffalo in the woodland it does have a rare mix of interesting sights.

I highly recommend it.
divewop is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2006, 05:49 AM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Thank you CW, the brochure should be accurate. So that's

1 rare Dry Sand Forest,
2 savanna,
3 woodland and wetland systems,
(so woodlands go with wetlands or
would this make it 8?)
4 beautiful rivercourses,
5 mountain ranges,
6 marshes and
7 pans.

Are you planning on acting upon that brochure?

Divewop,

I saw that text on their website but it seemed like a whole lot more than 7 ecosystems to me. Maybe I was counting the common wild-pear and red bush willow as its own whole ecosystem! I too wondered if the ocean could be included.

Do you have a link to a Phinda trip report or could you share your experiences here? Also feel free to email me directly.

I did not ask this question just for the sake of trivia. I am planning a June 2007 visit and want to know the lay of the land--in all its diversity-- before I get there.

I did not do any bidding (but thanks for the hint) and am thinking of spending 5-6 days in this fascinating place, at two different lodges.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2006, 05:57 AM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Hari,

Will look forward to your report. As I recall you bid on 5 nights there. Tell me again at which lodge(s)? Thanks!
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2006, 06:26 AM
  #7
cw
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,648
atravelyn,

I have a message into CCAfrica now about available dates and am waiting to hear. Our timing can be flexible, luckily. Will keep you up-to-date.

I'm not sure how they count the 7 habitats. I can come up with 8, but depends on where the commas are placed.

Divewop: I too would be interested in reading a report of your stay at Phinda.

CW
cw is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2006, 07:56 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,922
Atravelynn-
5 or 6 days! Good for you.
I stayed for 4 days and easily could have stayed for a few more. I didn't have enough time to do everything I wanted.

Many moons ago, when Rocco was contemplating going there, I had posted lots of info on Phinda on a couple of different threads and darned if I can't find them.

I didn't post a trip report as I was pretty new to Fodor's and was and still am lazy when it comes to that stuff. As you can see, I still haven't done one for my recent trip to Rwanda.

Cliff's notes version: When we first arrived, I had no idea it was fenced and was terribly disappointed upon seeing the fences. Upon arrival at Phinda Vlei, I met two South African couples, back for their 4th visit as well as an American couple, back for their 3rd or 4th visit.

I thought "Ugh!, this is definitely not for me and how could anyone want to come back again and again? It's fenced and the whole area is strange looking." Don't they know there are other places to visit in Africa."

Well, I ended up eating a lot of crow during that trip because when it was time to go, I didn't want to leave either and totally understood everyone's attraction to the reserve.

A couple of memorable sightings:

Pride of lions w/ zebra kill who were charged by a bull ele twice on the same occasion. They were downwind of him, and when he smelled them, went after them, left for a few minutes, turned around and went back just to aggravate the pride a second time.

Mother and baby rhino not ten feet from our jeep. Lots of photo ops there.

Male lion walking down the road calling for his brother who he joined shortly after. ( I love their roars).
Many lion calls at night too which wake you up but are so what I love to hear when in Africa.

We were chased by a huge bull ele in musth. He had several jeeps cornered and wouldn't let anyone leave and each time a jeep left he'd charge them, come running back, stand off w/ another jeep and threaten then charge them. We were the last to get away and he charged us for probably the length of a football field.

Cheetah brothers in the savannah looking for prey, one collared who was to be transfered to another reserve soon. Visited four they had just brought in who were still in the boma and not released into the reserve yet.

Did two bush walks through the sand forest, did the 'flight of the fish eagle', which I highly recommend. While in the air, spotted two whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, dolphins, all playing in the surf in the Indian Ocean.
My favorite sport, scuba diving, I didn't get a chance to do because I ran out of time but almost jumped out of the plane upon spotting the whale sharks.

Also did horsebackriding on the beach which was awesome.

Spent lots of time watching eles which I love to do.

There's lots more but off the top of my head, those are just a few highlights.

If I had my choice of lodges, I'd stay at Vlei again and also Rock. Forest is nice too. Very close to Vlei but I prefer Vlei over Forest.

It's a fun place, lots to do, great staff, great food. Overall great experience.
I'm in if you need a travel buddy. ;-)
divewop is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2006, 03:42 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Thank you for the details Divewop! I am aware it is fenced and while that is a disadvantage, I am fascinated by what it offers.

What time of year did you go?
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2006, 04:12 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Divewop,

I believe you were looking for this:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34519393

Came up on my first search after entering "Phinda Rocco"

I will get there someday!

Another lodge of interest in the KwaZulu Natal:

www.mkuzefalls.com
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2006, 05:58 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,922
Rocco,
Thanks for finding the thread. I'm sure you will get there soon now that you've got a 'vested' interest in Africa and reason upon reason to return. ;-)

Atravelynn-
I was there in mid March. Concerned about the weather/rain being an issue but it wasn't and the greenery made for some nice backdrops in photos.
I wouldn't hesitate to return in shoulder/off season again.


divewop is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2006, 07:05 PM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
cw,

I kept getting 8 or more too. Could just be my comma interpretation, as you suggested. Kind of like eats shoots and leaves. You may be able to provide me with another report between now and June of 07.

Thanks for the thread, Rocco. Then the link within the lilnk led me to recent Phinda sightings that were intriguing.

atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2006, 07:22 PM
  #13
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
atravelynn,

Hi! your question.......i am going to be at Phinda forest lodge (2 nights) and 3 nights on their walking safari. It is more or less a mobile tented camp that they shift venues every night. This will also be my first walking safari and would help me deciede if Zambia is a destination i plan to seek!!!

I recently asked for some info from Phinda and they came back to me with a recent census on Cheetah. They claim approximately 20 cheetahs in Phinda at the moment. Hopefully, i will see some of them in Phinda and somemore at Kwando later in the trip.

Anyways, long wait. I dont leave until August 15th.

Hari
 
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2006, 10:38 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 18
I'm afraid I must disagree with all you who love Phinda. I have traveled extensively to Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and a bit to Kenya and Tanzania, and found Phinda to be a disappointing experience. Driving from the airstrip to the camp on a highway, and entering thru a gate, made you realize you were in a fenced preserve, and seeing a fence alongside one edge of the preserve was also weird, made you feel like you were in a zoo or a contrived environment. The foliage is very very thick thru much of the preserve, and there are long periods where you ride in the jeep and see absolutely nothing except thick forest. Yes, they have lions, rhino, cheetah etc., but you can see all these elsewhere in a much more natural environment. I wouldn't recommend it or go back.
safariguy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 1st, 2006, 01:14 AM
  #15
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Safariguy,

Yes....but one does go to Phinda with the realization that it is a fenced reserve and their conservation efforts....

Even in Botswana, during the rains....you go thru long stretches where you see nothing but a few impala etc etc

Hari
 
Reply With Quote
Apr 1st, 2006, 03:22 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,922
safariguy-
I have also traveled to several different countries in Africa and elsewhere. As I stated in my previous post, not knowing what to expect upon my arrival, I was disappointed upon seeing the fences. But once I opened my mind to fully experience Phinda, coupled with learning about their conservation efforts and community involvement it became and still is a very special place.
Taking all that into consideration, along with how we were treated by the staff and our superb guide and tracker, it was a great experience.

To me, Africa is about experiencing totally different places and having different experiences. What one gets out of them is up to one's own way of looking at things.

I highly recommend it and would return again in a heartbeat.

As the saying goes, we'll agree to disagree.
To each his own. ;-)
divewop is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 1st, 2006, 11:47 AM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Thanks for all the views on Phinda. I wondered how many cheetah were there. Now I know!

I expect some thick forest and foliage. But don't those other 6 environments present an alternative to only thick forest? Or is there 95% thick forest and just a little bit of pans, marshes, dry sand forest, etc.?

When you mention one edge of the preserve is fenced, what is along the other edges? More fence out of view or something else?

Compared to other reserves in South Africa does Phinda have a less wild feeling or about the same?

I appreciate all the viewpoints and responses.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 1st, 2006, 06:59 PM
  #18
santharamhari
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Atravelynn,

I think the whole Phinda area is growing all the time. They are upto 21,000 hectares in size at the moment. So, i do expect them to be fenced on all sides.....however, given the size you may only run into one side of the fence at a time.

So, as the conservation efforts grow.....i expect Phinda to grow in area. That's their goal. Also, with the cheetah being my fav cat....i just think a visit is important to learn about everything Phinda has to offer.

Hari
 
Reply With Quote
Apr 1st, 2006, 08:55 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 18
Again, sorry to be a downer concerning Phinda. I think the 7 different ecosystems are overrated, I found most of the ecosystem to be thick, thick forest with absolutely nothing to be seen while driving thru it. Yes, there were fences alongside one edge of the preserve, and I think also on the northern edge as well, but this was enough to detract from the "wild feeling". I just don't see what Phinda has to offer compared to the Sabi Sands lodges. And I especially don't see what Phinda has to offer over most of the botswana or Zimbabwe lodges, where you can see the same game with a much wilder, more natural feeling.

The tour operator who booked us into Phinda warned us that they used their lovely accomodations to compensate for the general lack of great game, and I have to agree with him. Phinda is not particularly easy to get to, and I just don't see why I would recommend anyone going there. You can see the same game in Sabi Sands, with the same manicured, somewhat contrived atmosphere.

Better yet, save up and spend the bucks on the botswana camps, which I think are unequaled for quality of game experiences, natural beauty, and a wild, uncontrived feeling.

safariguy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 1st, 2006, 10:24 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Taking nothing away from Phinda, as I would love to visit there someday, I would like to address the notion that Botswana is an expensive safari destination. It ain't necessarily so.

Rack rate pricing to Kwando (www.kwando.co.za) for December 2006 to March 2007 is only $305 pp per night. Sandibe and Nxabega (CCAfrica) is only $320 pp per night with no single supplement for November 2006 to March 2007. There are some absolutely great values available in Botswana.
Roccco is offline  
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:33 PM.