For today’s blog, WSPA Media Intern Ali Fine writes about her safari experience at Phinda Game Reserve in South Africa.
In the summer of 2008, I had the opportunity to travel to South Africa, a popular destination for tourists who want to experience the unique and abundant wildlife of the region. Phinda Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal and Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve at Kruger National Park, the largest game reserve in South Africa, are home to hundreds of animal species including the famous “Big Five” – lions, elephants, leopards, rhinoceroses, and buffaloes. Here, people can view wild animals in protected areas at breathtakingly close distances accompanied by trained and knowledgeable guides.
Phinda Game Reserve offers a wide variety of safari activities, including game drives, walking safaris, and safaris geared toward viewing specific animals. These adventures run throughout the day and night to allow observation of diurnal as well as nocturnal animals. The tours last typically a couple of hours, but may be extended, and the amount of ground covered assures tourists will be able to explore many of the beautiful areas of the reserve. The guides are highly accommodating, and each tour group is small -- generally consisting of around ten people. I found the small size to be comforting as you form close connections with others in your group and are able to appreciate the experience more.
My safari experience in Phinda was both exciting and educational. I opted for the game drive that began in the late afternoon. Our tour set out in one Jeep, which returned after the vivid sunset faded into night. During my adventure in Phinda, our group managed to always keep a respectable distance from the animals so as not to disturb them; however, we still had the rare and astounding opportunity to observe every creature in its natural setting. The suspense of anticipating an attack on a nyala quenching his thirst at a watering hole, oblivious to the two lionesses slumbering mere feet away, was unmatchable. I could have admired a cheetah and her young cubs lazing in the setting sun for hours. These rare experiences, coupled with the interesting animal facts imparted by our guides, made my safari in Phinda unforgettable.
Thank for sharing your exciting experience, Ali! If you are interested in taking a safari, click here for more tips on making your wildlife tour a responsible one.