A SMALL GROUP PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI AT PHINDA HOMESTEAD
This safari has been designed specifically for recreational photographers and their better halves, where we will have exclusive use of the Phinda Homestead for 6 nights, including the use of 2 dedicated safari vehicles with rangers and trackers. There will be a maximum of 8 people on this safari, spread out over the 2 vehicles.
The Safari Objective
Our main objective is to provide you with maximum opportunities to get great photos of the animals we will encounter in their natural habitat, including the Big 5 (rhino, elephant, leopard, lion and buffalo) as well as cheetah, antelope and a large assortment of African birdlife. Being that we will not be sharing the camp with any other guests during our stay, we are free to follow our own daily program, so there will be many opportunities for walking safaris, as well as starlight photography sessions after dinner.
Included in the price of the safari is a 2 night stay in Umhlanga Rocks, a popular resort town 20 km north of Durban, South Africa. Here you will be able to unwind and acclimatise after your long journey to South Africa, rinsing off any jet lag in the warm Indian ocean waters, or simply relaxing by the pool. We can also arrange day tours to any of the many attractions on the East Coast of South Africa if unwinding is not in your vocabulary.
About The Camp
The Phinda Homestead is an intimate, exclusive-use only luxury villa situated in the Phinda reserve. There are 4 luxury air-conditioned suites as well as common areas for us to dine, swim and relax in. There is also a small library and a place to convene around the fire and recount each game drive in the evenings. We will have a private chef on hand to attend to our nourishment as well as a butler.
2 Person Occupancy
Each suite is sold on a 2 person sharing basis, so if you would like your own room you will have to pay the full price for 2. There are only three double suites available so a maximum of 6 guests plus your hosts will be on this safari.
Game Drive Vehicles
We will have two standard safari vehicles available for us, each with a ranger/driver and a tracker. Each photographer will have their own row of seats on the vehicles and we will rotate rows after each drive so that everybody gets to experience different elevations for their photography. Non-photographing partners will share a row on each vehicle so that the photographers get to shoot on either side of the vehicle. If both guests are photographers they may want to alternate who gets to use the full row on different drives.
Optional Beginner Tuition
If you are a beginner or intermediate photographer with no wildlife photography experience, your tour leader will be available to help you with camera settings as well as tips and tricks to get the best results in the field. There will also be Lightroom editing guidance on offer during our downtime too. It's important to note that Fotozones safaris are not formal photographic workshops. Rather they are "experience" events where the main reason for joining is to get away from the world for a while and to enjoy photography as a recreational pursuit in the company of like-minded people from around the world.
We have decided not to include a local flight to Durban on this safari for a few reasons. The main reason is that because we will not be having a rendezvous in Johannesburg it is easier for you to book your own flight to Durban using any of the partner airlines to your international carrier (ie. SAA, British Airways). This will allow you to check your luggage in at your starting airport and pick it up at your arrival airport in Durban, which simplifies your travelling experience. This can only be done if you book the entire flight journey yourself, which also means that if you are on a frequent flyer program you will be credited with the extra miles. If you are connecting from London, England we recommend looking into the British Airways London - Durban direct flight which operates 3 times a week.
We're using a road transfer from Durban to Phinda for this safari instead of flying to the airstrip because the restrictions for luggage on smaller planes are quite strict and obviously as photographers we need to be able to have our equipment with us at all times. The N2 route to Phinda is excellent.
Arrive in Durban at King Shaka International Airport. You will be collected from the airport and transferred to the hotel in Umhlanga Rocks where you can settle in to recuperate or explore the beach and surrounding areas.
Free day. There are a variety of local activities that you can enjoy, including cultural tours or adventure. Your hosts will be able to make recommendations for guided excursions based on your preferences. In the evening we will convene at a local restaurant for our official opening dinner.
We will be collected at approximately 10am by the reserve transfer company and driven north to Phinda (about 4 hours). On arrival at the Villa we will have a late lunch, settle in to our rooms and then head out on our first game drive at around 4pm.
Days 4 to 8
Our typical day will begin half an hour before sunrise with coffee and light breakfast snacks before heading out for the morning game drive (open ended time-wise). On returning to the villa we will have a proper breakfast, followed by an optional walking safari. Lunch is usually at 1pm. Our afternoons will be spent either relaxing or discussing photography amongst one another and editing the photos we got on the previous drives. Afternoon game drives begin at around 4pm and are open ended, depending on what we find. Dinner will happen once we return from the drive.
We will start the day with the morning game drive, followed by breakfast and then on return we will check out and await our transfer back to King Shaka airport in Durban.
We do offer safari extensions, so if you are interested in seeing more of Southern Africa, either guided or self-drive, we can make all the arrangements for you. Be sure to ask us about this when making the booking.
- all hotel and lodge transfers
- 2 nights rendezvous accommodation
- breakfast at rendezvous
- dinner on 2nd night at rendezvous
- 6 nights accommodation (full board) at Phinda Homestead
- SA tourism and conservation levies
- park entry fees
- wifi at Phinda
- all flights
- gratuities for lodge staff
- personal items
- spa treatments
- telephone calls
- travel and medical insurance
Why Join This Small Group Safari?
As the title suggests, this is a small and exclusive photography group safari. Yes, you can book your own safari experience at any number of private game reserve lodges, but the reality is that you will be either on your own if you can carry the somewhat heavy cost of a private vehicle, or you will find yourself lumped in with a group of non-photographers at the same camp. This can be problematic when you want to spend more time on a sighting and the rest of your group wants to find the next thing.
By joining a small, common interest group like ours, where we have complete control over all aspects of the game drives, your photographic opportunities are maximised because we're all going specifically for photography. As such we can position ourselves better when the opportunities present themselves and we can also stay out longer or go looking for specific species on any of the drives we do.
This particular safari is going to be packed with opportunities that you won't get by going anywhere on your own. Besides, who doesn't like a good bit of photography natter over some sundowners?
Book A Suite
If you want to join our small group safari experience and you are able to travel in any of the windows mentioned in the sidebar, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us which safari window you are interested in and we will respond with the booking form and details of how to pay your 30% deposit.
Phinda is a new but not unfamiliar safari destination for Fotozones. We have booked previous Safarians there on extensions to our very popular Sabi Sabi safaris and the feedback has been unanimous: it's great! There is a very good chance of seeing cheetah and black rhino as they have a healthy population of both species living in the reserve.
Phinda is in a low-risk malaria zone.
There have been 436 bird species recorded at Phinda.
The climate is mild and the weather for the region in May is superb for game viewing with daily temperatures seldom climbing above 23˚C (73F). Nightly lows during winter average at 8˚C (46F).