After my time in Botswana, we finished out our trip at three different camps in South Africa. All were places we had visited previously and liked so much we wanted to return to experience them again.
Travelling from the Okavango Delta to the Durban area in South Africa is pretty much a full day event. We didn’t have time for a morning game drive, so we had an early breakfast and took a leisurely 1 1/2 hour drive to the airstrip that was being used by Machaba while the local strip was flooded. From camp we flew to Maun, onwards to Johannesburg and then finally into Durban, arriving around 9pm. Rather than take another flight, we had a driving transfer from Durban to Phinda, around a 2 1/2 hour drive, that left our hotel around 10 the next morning.
Arriving at Vlei lodge, we were greeted like family with welcoming hugs from Kathryn, the camp manager (whom we had also met during our previous stay). We also had a chance to reconnect with the wonderful chef Happiness, who even asked us for our favourite items from the previous stay, so she could make sure they were on the menu during our visit.
Unlike the lodges we visited later that were adjacent to Kruger, Phinda is a fully fenced reserve, and as such have taken the difficult decision to de-horn the rhino population in an effort to curb poaching. With horns or without, rhino are such impressive creatures to come across. It is just so sad that it has come to this in order to keep them safe. Like the properties in both Namibia and Botswana, Phinda had received an abundance of rain during the rainy season, after several years of rather severe drought. The abundance of food and water meant that general game were much more scattered, and often the game drives were quite for periods when we didn’t see any animals around. We did have one epic morning drive though filled with fun elephant encounters as well as several groups of rhino.
Phinda is definitely a good place to go if you are interested in seeing cheetah. We saw 6 different cheetah during our stay, including a mom with 3 cubs.
www.jennifersawickyphotography.com for wildlife, landscape and nature inspired artwork.
https://shopvida.com/collections/voices/jennifer-sawicky for textiles inspired by my photography.