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We had the pleasure of returning to South Africa again in 2014/2015. We spent two nights relaxing in Johannesburg including our Christmas Eve celebration. Then, on Christmas Day we were off to enjoy nine days of game viewing in Phinda Private Game Reserve. We stayed there through the New Year's holidays and it was an amazing experience! In 1991, the Phinda Private Game Reserve was established. Prior to that time, the area had been deforested and was used for cattle farming and as a pineapple plantation. To now see this land restored to its natural habitats – some seven distinct ecosystems - is truly amazing! “Phinda” which means “the return” in Zulu is a truly fitting name for this amazing place.
We arrived at the Phinda Air Strip at 12:00 noon on Christmas Day after taking a Federal Air charter flight from Johannesburg. Upon arrival we were met and taken by a Toyota 4WD open vehicle to Rock Lodge. We only spent one night at Rock Lodge before transferring to Vlei Lodge. After enjoying game viewing and the Vlei Lodge for four nights we returned to Rock Lodge for our final four nights in the Reserve, including New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. What made our experience unique in Phinda - both at Rock Lodge and Vlei Lodge - was seeing impressive numbers of cheetah and black rhino. These are both such majestic creatures and they are prospering at Phinda. Click on the links below to see highlights of our time at each lodge.