thanda or phinda

Jul 11th, 2006, 01:35 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 78
thanda or phinda

Which one would you recommend?
For august travel. I assume that the game should be about the same, is that correct?
which one should i pick and why?
mhron is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 07:00 PM
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I dont know if the game would be the same. The phinda reserve is pretty big (21,000 hectares) and growing. I doubt if ppl from outside camps can traverse their area. However, i hv no idea about Thanda. My first trip to Phinda is next month.

This area is larger than most induvidual traversing zones of lodges in the sabi sands. Although, i guess the whole sabi sands combined area is much much bigger.

Jul 11th, 2006, 08:25 PM
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since you are online...any thoughts on Thanda?

Aug 27th, 2013, 07:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
85 months late in my response and I only saw this because I am considering Thanda for an upcoming visit. For sure I am going to Mkuze Falls Safari Lodge because it is just too good of an offer to pass up on Luxury Link but I'm looking to add a second lodge and Thanda is one of the leading contenders.

I'll be spending 3 nights in Durban for the Comrades Marathon, followed by 3 nights at Mkuze Falls, followed, likely, by 5 nights at White Pearls Resorts in Southern Mozambique (just a 3 hour self drive to the border from Mkuze Falls where we park in a secure facility and then the resort picks us up at the border for a final 1 hour drive to the lodge). Following the beach stay, we want to finish up with three more nights safari at Thanda or Amakhosi Safari Lodge. The reviews for Amakhosi are just off the charts and it is significantly less expensive than Thanda.

The attraction to Thanda would be that it is located very close to Phinda but, more than likely, would not share traversing rights with Phinda.

The only drawback I have to Amakhosi is that it is not that far from Mkuze Falls but probably far enough that it doesn't share traversing.

This is all a learning experience for me as it will be my first time in the Kwazulu Natal. My initial reaction was to head back to the Sabi Sand or Madikwe but I'm not a fan of cold weather and the weather should be nicer in Kwazulu Natal and to be able to do a self drive 15 night trip sounds pretty attractive as well.

After the final 3 night safari, it will be a 4 hour drive to Johannesburg for a day and a half before flying home. The only flight we are taking within South Africa will be the flight from Joburg to Durban to start the trip. Air transfers on FedAir and such companies are just insanely expensive and don't make fiscal sense for those not able to stay at Singita, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge and similar lodges.
Roccco is offline  
Aug 28th, 2013, 07:49 AM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 37
Phinda is always good. Rocco don't forget White Elephant Lodge we loved their water experience great birding and gameviewing from the river and lake -
LewRood is offline  
Aug 28th, 2013, 08:16 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,895
I went to both Phinda and Thanda and if you're looking for a real safari experience, Phinda is the choice. Thanda is a lovely lodge but it felt much more like being at the San Diego Wild Animal Park as you often see the fencing around the park while on your game drives. But, there are wild dogs and they did come thru the grounds of the lodge one day and the chalets at Thanda are large and lux so that was the upside. It's a big honeymoon destination too so often the couples don't show up for the am drives(in my experience) which was a bonus for me as I was the only passenger and could call the shots. Phinda Forest Lodge was much more varied however and if you are only choosing between those two, my vote would be Phinda. It's also a lovely lodge, just smaller rooms but very nice, and a greater, wilder area to traverse.
moremiles is offline  
Aug 29th, 2013, 11:09 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553
Right now, here is my current itinerary:

Durban Hilton (3) (host hotel for Comrades Marathon and across the street from the Cricket Stadium / Finish Line)

Leopard Mountain Lodge, Hluhluwe (3 nights) (makes for a convenient stop on the way to my next destination and seems like good value for money, stellar reviews, not far from Thanda but far less expensive). I'm not usually one for 4* lodges but this place looks pretty awesome and there are wild dogs in the park so even a remote chance to see wild dogs makes it worthwhile.

Thonga Beach Lodge, near Mozambique border, probably not far from the more expensive (Wilderness Safaris) Rocktail Bay (4 nights. Looks like a beautiful place and less expensive and more convenient than my first choice, White Pearls Resorts in Mozambique.

Amakhosi Private Game Reserve, Pongola, (2 nights). I would've liked 3 nights but it makes more fiscal sense to spend 3 nights at my final destination and leads for an easier departure to be better rested with 3 nights at the final destination. I love that they have a Zulu dinner under the stars here and it is the reason, amongst its luxurious accommodations, that I am choosing Amakhosi rather than just adding a 4th night to each Leopard Mountain and Mkuze Falls.

Mkuze Falls Safari Lodge, Pongola (3 nights, Luxury Link package makes it a killer deal especially when using a credit that I have with Luxury Link). This is just a half hour drive away from Amakhosi but they have separate traversing areas so we won't be redundant with the game drives.

Then it will be about a 4.5 hour drive to Johannesburg, stop for a late lunch and then head to the airport for our flight home. It would be a shame to spend a night or two in Joburg rather than on safari or at the beach.

Phinda would've been great but it's not in the budget and about triple the price of Leopard Mountain and still double the price of Amakhosi and triple the price what I'll pay for Mkuze Falls. Plus, I'm not sure if &Beyond lodges allow 14 month old babies or not while the other places do (although certainly not on game activities) and each offer babysitting services for a small charge.

White Elephant Lodge looks fantastic, as well, and is in the same area as Amakhosi and Mkuze Falls. I will compare it to Amakhosi to see the pros and cons of each place. Alternately, although it would make for a very long drive, I could do the 4 night Thonga Beach Lodge stay first, eliminate Leopard Mountain Lodge and replace it with 3 nights at White Elephant Lodge if it doesn't share traversing rights with either Mkuze Falls or Amakhosi. White Elephant Lodge isn't much more expensive than Leopard Mountain but is a 5* lodge. 8 consecutive nights safari may be asking a lot out of my wife, though, as the most she's done on a trip is 6 nights and that was broken up by a couple nights in the city (3 nights in the Sabi Sand and 3 nights in Madikwe).

Really looking forward to this trip and my first visit to the Kwazulu Natal. Thanks for the feedback.
Roccco is offline  
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