Phinda Game Reserve

01st June 2017
I always enjoy heading to Phinda for a few days on Safari, I really enjoy the variety in the terrain and vegetation and the marsh in the North always has something special in store.

We arrived at Phinda and checked in to forest lodge, a beautiful setting in the Sand Forest, after lunch we set off on our first drive, we headed North to look for the North Pride of Lions and it wasn’t long before we bumped into a Elephant Bull, he was walking down the road and he wasn’t about to let anyone pass so after getting some images of him we used another road to continue our search for the Lions.

We found the Lions sleeping in a small clearing in the thick bush, they were full and lazy and not doing too much besides sleeping, while watching the lions it started to rain so we decided to head back to the lodge, the rain accompanied by some spectacular lightning escorting us back to Forest Lodge.

The following Morning we headed South to go and see a Female Leopard that had been found, along the way we stopped to photograph a big male Giraffe at sunrise as well as a European roller, passing a variety of other game on the way.

When we arrived at the Leopard she was quietly laying by the side of the road, she had a kill nearby that was almost finished and to us it seemed like she was checking to see if any other predators might be heading her way but there were none, satisfied that all was clear the Leopard walked off into the thickets, the rain from the previous night made it impossible to follow her in the muddy terrain so we watched as she walked off.

After a beautiful coffee stop on the top of a nearby hill we started to make our way back to the sand forest, stopping to photograph some giraffe next to the road.

After Breakfast while walking back to our room we found a wasp that had caught a caterpillar next to the pathway, it was fascinating to watch as the wasp tried to protect her meal from the small ants that were staring to gather and wanted to feed on the Caterpillar, the Wasp would use her jaws to bite and carry off the small Ants in what looked like an effort to protect her Caterpillar, in the end it was a futile exercise as there were just too many ants so the Wasp eventually picked up the Caterpillar and flew off , it was amazing to watch this little bit of interaction.

That afternoon we set off again heading North to the Marsh, this time searching for Cheetah, when we arrived at the Marsh we watched as a Elephant Bull grazed in the clearing and chased some nearby Wildebeest, he seemed to be having fun chasing the neighbors.

While watching the Elephant we got a call that a female Cheetah and her 3 cubs had been found nearby, we headed off to go and have a look. The Cheetah family was resting on a small Termite mound as the sun was setting, they were surveying the clearings in front of them.

After a while the Mother Cheetah walked off into the clearing and went to lay down on a nearby dam wall, the cubs soon followed, by now it was getting quite dark and after a few last pictures we set off back to the lodge.

The following morning we set off to search through the Sand Forest, we photographed a beautiful misty morning sunrise over the Vlei.

During the course of the morning we photographed the Local Vervet monkeys as well as some beautiful Male Nyala, the rest of the morning was uneventful and we headed back for some breakfast.

That afternoon we headed back to the Marsh, we found 2 large Elephant bulls and we spent a lot of time photographing them as they fed, the Elephants slowly grazed past us and we were able to get some great portrait images of them.

After leaving the Elephants we stopped to watch a small group of Zebra, they had come to a scratching post at it was quite comical to watch them as they scratched all the hard to reach places, some animals scratched their bottoms and others their flanks and faces, after leaving the Zebras we had a sundowner and headed back to camp for a wonderful dinner.

On our final morning we wanted to see if we could find some Black Rhino, after starting the search we found a Lioness with her 2 young cubs, unfortunately she kept the cubs well hidden but we did get a few images of her before she completely disappeared in a thicket.

With some more searching and a bit of luck we finally found what we were hoping to see a magnificent Rhino, it was feeding on some acacia bushes and we were able to get great images of him as he fed, after a mazing sighting of the Rhino he strolled off and we decided to head back to the Lodge for Breakfast and to pack up, it had been a amazing few days at Phinda and I cant wait to go back again.

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