Phinda Impact Journey

Phinda Impact Journey
Embark on a journey of discovery with this privately guided, 7-day small group set departure journey that aims to highlight conservation and community development activities, which underpin the &Beyond ethos of “leaving the world a better place than we found it”. While traditional game drives are integral to this safari experience, this trip incorporates elements of our ranger training curriculum as well as selected conservation activities. You will also be introduced to the community surrounding &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and experience a day in the life of a school pupil.

Perfect for those who wish to travel with purpose, this small group journey offers a fantastic opportunity for growth and learning, in an exciting and stimulating environment. The exposure to authentic and exclusive community and conservation experiences, as well as gaining insight into Zulu culture, is a rare and priceless gift.

You will stay at the breath-taking &Beyond Phinda Zuka Lodge, a sole-use lodge in the southern reaches of &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, which offers its own private vehicle and guide, butler and chef. Departure dates have been carefully selected around the best climates of the year, to ensure that you are able to make the most of your adventure.

6 nights Phinda Private Game Reserve
What we love about this journey: A small group of maximum 8 guests, which means plenty of flexibility and exclusivity. Guided throughout by and &Beyond specialist ranger, with access to renowned conservationists. Experience incredible opportunities to get involved with a host of signature experiences including conservation activities, learning what it takes to be a qualified &Beyond guide, and spending a day in the local community.

Unparalleled wildlife experience at &Beyond Phinda , which is host to the big five as well as excellent viewing opportunities of cheetah and the rare black rhino. Exclusive accommodation at &Beyond Phinda Zuka Lodge, complete with private chef and butler

Photographic Guide will guide each guest on their photographic journey and a canvas of the best photograph will be sent to you after your safari. Includes a ZAR 15 000 donation to Phinda’s Africa Foundation Star Project.

Nov 24-30, 2019

Rates: from $8795 per person/double occupancy – contact us for inclusions, availability & details.

Day 1: Welcome
On arrival at &Beyond Phinda Zuka Lodge, you will have the opportunity to settle in before enjoying your first game drive in the reserve. Afterwards, unwind with pre-dinner drinks and an orientation of your upcoming adventures, hosted by Les Carlisle, &Beyond’s Group Conservation Manager. His discussion will reveal what is planned for the week and aims to provide an explanation for this safari experience, what you will be discovering and learning, and why specific activities were chosen.

Day 2: Game drives, photography and exploring ranger training and ethics
It’s an early start today, as you wake for a day that is focused on photography and exploring ranger training and ethics. Start your day with a game drive, followed by breakfast at the lodge. Your morning’s adventure will offer insight into the role of a ranger, what their job entails and what needs to be accomplished in order to successfully meet our &Beyond requirements.

You will also participate in an informative wildlife photography lesson to help you capture your sightings and adventures with us. These photographs will be used to create a wonderful photographic canvas that will be presented to you at the end of your stay.

Afterwards, put your guiding hat on and embark on a bush walk, where you will be introduced to the art of tracking and tree and plant identification. Relish a delicious lunch back at the lodge and then enjoy an afternoon game drive with a frogging expedition (if frogs are active), which involves listening for distinct frog sounds, tracking them down, identifying and photographing them.

In the evening, gaze up at the sky and marvel at the celestial constellations of the Southern Hemisphere and revel in a stars presentation and identification session.

Day 3: An introduced to birding, ranger rifle training, and a sleep out in the wild…
Today, you will put what you learnt from the previous day into practice, on an early morning game drive. You will also be introduced to birding; learning about bird physiology, behaviour and breeding. Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to take part in a bird ringing exercise, which involves netting and recording measurements, and ringing the bird for monitoring purposes, before releasing it.

After a fun-filled morning, you will head back to the lodge to tuck into a hearty breakfast before setting off for another bush walk to focus on fine-tuning your awareness skills when walking through the wilderness. Learn how to carry a rifle, followed by practical ranger rifle training, and then participate in a thrilling simulation of a lion charge and the drills that need to take place.

Enjoy a delectable lunch back at the lodge, and the opportunity to unwind, before a late afternoon/evening game drive that focuses on tracking and viewing nocturnal wildlife. The drive then culminates in a bush dinner and an exciting sleep out in the wild. You will be protected by guards throughout your night’s stay.

Day 4: Walking Safari and tracking, craft gin and tonic and food pairing
Wake up early and head into the bush for an exhilarating walking safari, where all the elements that you have learnt over the last two days are put into practice. From your sleep out camp, you will be given instructions on how to navigate back to the lodge, and as you make your way, your identification skills on birds and trees will be called upon.

You will be under the guidance of your ranger at all times, and should any fresh elephant, buffalo or rhino tracks be encountered along the way, your group will conduct a tracking exercise, using the skills learnt earlier in the week, so as to be able to view these animals on foot. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure and look forward to an evening game drive, with a stop in the wilderness that focuses on hospitality. Enjoy a private, craft gin and tonic and food pairing, craft beer and biltong paring, or wine and cheese tasting.

Day 5: Community trip, a traditional craft market followed by enjoyable afternoon safari
Today, you will have the opportunity to explore a local community just outside of the reserve. Gain insight, and contribute towards, some of the projects that the Africa Foundation (&Beyond’s community development partner) is undertaking. Interact with members of the community and gain knowledge and perspective into their everyday life. You will also have the opportunity learn about the Zulu culture during your outing. Spend the morning at Nkomo Primary School, where you can sit in on the children’s morning assembly.

Afterwards, assist in preparing lunch meals for children at the OVC Centre (Orphans and Vulnerable Children Centre), and help serve meals. Interact with a classroom of kids, and present a short presentation to the children, which is in line with their school curriculum. The outline will be provided to you and will cover elements that relate to geography, history and life orientation.

Enjoy a picnic lunch in the community and visit a traditional craft market, and then a local clinic. Head back to the lodge for tea and then an exciting evening game drive ahead.

Day 6: Conservation day – actively partake in some of the research projects and conservation experiences
This morning, you will gain insight into the activities of the conservation team based at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, and actively partake in some of the research projects, which are currently being conducted on the reserve. Wake early and depart from the lodge with a reserve wildlife research technician. You will be introduced to the various monitoring programs that are being carried out and will have the opportunity to assist in the tracking of the various species being monitored.

You will then assist in recording the necessary data required for the various research programs. After this, depending on the research requirement, you will be able to participate in either a Rhino notching exercise – the research teams to carry out an ear notching exercise (for monitoring purposes) OR Collaring of a rhino to better locate for monitoring purposes – if necessary, you may be able to participate in a dehorning exercise to protect the rhino from poachers

After an exhilarating morning, enjoy a picnic breakfast in the bush and learn how to use the researchers’ telemetry equipment, which is essential in helping to track wildlife. Following breakfast, re-join the wildlife monitoring team and head out in search of elephant herds, to assist the team in collecting data, which is used to inform the numerous research projects that focus on elephant, about their behaviour and role in the greater ecosystem.

After your time in the bush, have a late lunch at the lodge, and later an evening game drive.

Day 7: Departure
After tucking into a wholesome breakfast at the lodge, you will have a wrap-up and debrief session of the weeks’ activities with Les Carlisle and Andrew Schoeman. There will be a handover of a photography canvas from the pictures taken during your time on safari. You will then be collected for your homeward flight, via Airlink, to O.R Tambo International Airport.