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phinda or makuze

Edinburgh, United...
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phinda or makuze

Hi, we are planning a trip in november. I am really keen to do some birding, but not so bothered about really rare birds, just lots of different african birds.

We had thought 6nights in Phinda, 3 at Vlei and 3 at Zuka, maybe?

Is the birding there really good, or would we be better going to Mkuze, where I believe it is great, but the rest of the wildlife not so prolific. Or is Mkuze possible as a daytrip from Phinda?

Any thoughts/suggestions please??

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Phinda Private Game Reserve
Phinda Private Game...
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Pickering, United...
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1. Re: phinda or makuze

Mkhuze is possible as a day trip from Phinda as it is adjacent. Phinda can also arrange for you to go to the iSimangaliso wetlands. If you are there for 6 nights you would do well to go further afield at least on two of them. Phinda is 23 000 hectares in size whereas Kruger is nearly 2 million!

We have also had some excellent birding at Tembe.

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Phinda Private Game Reserve
Phinda Private Game...
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Tucson, Arizona
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for Quito, Ecuador
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2. Re: phinda or makuze

I spent six nights in Phinda, including Zuka, in February. What I discovered is that while the rangers and trackers knew the birds, they generally wouldn't stop, or stop for very long, so I could get a good look or observe them well. This was out of deference to the 2-3 others on the truck who weren't "into" birding; they were happy with just a name even if they couldn't see it. I think if you're just looking to add to your life list, this would suit; if not, I would see if you can arrange a private guide for at least one drive.

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Phinda Private Game Reserve
Phinda Private Game...
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
SOUTH AFRICA
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3. Re: phinda or makuze

I have done many birding trips to both Phinda an Mkuze. If budget isn't an issue, then I would most definitely recommend Phinda as one of the best birding destinations in South Africa! The best way of enjoying your birding at Phinda, would be with the services of a Specialist Bird Guide as well as a private game viewing vehicle. This comes at a cost but is most definitely worth it, even if you are only able to do this for 2 or 3 of your days there.

Tanya * owner * Africa Direct

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Phinda Private Game Reserve
Phinda Private Game...
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Edinburgh, United...
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4. Re: phinda or makuze

Thanks, thats helpful.Have you any idea what a private vehicle and Bird Guide would cost for a day?

We went to Kruger a couple of years ago, which was fantastic in most ways. But we were in a shared vehicle, and the emphasis was very much on animals, especially the Big Five. the birding mainly consisted of me pointing out a bird, and the ranger identifying it for me, and then moving. I accept that not everyone wants to focus on birds, so a private vehicle might be ideal.

Edited: 26 May 2013, 14:30
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Northampton, United...
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5. Re: phinda or makuze

Hello and if you tell Phinda you are 'birders' I am sure that they will make every effort to ensure you get the best bird guide. I loved it there! Tembe as mentioned above is wonderful for birds and has some of the biggest elephants in Southern Africa. Ndumo has a reputation for being one of the best birding hot spots. I contribute to a site that you might find interesting and I have been visiting the area for 19 years. Its worth trying to get the coast to and maybe consider the Drakensberg Mountains for a chance of seeing bearded vultures.

Mark - Owner - SafariKZN

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Phinda Private Game Reserve
Phinda Private Game...
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Drakensberg Mountains
Drakensberg Mountains
159 Reviews
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
SOUTH AFRICA
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6. Re: phinda or makuze

The cost of a private vehicle is currently R3500 per day. You could then either just request a guide who is a good birder, or pay additionally for a specialist bird guide, which would be an additional R3000 per day at Phinda.

Tanya * owner * Africa Direct

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Phinda Private Game Reserve
Phinda Private Game...
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Northampton, United...
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7. Re: phinda or makuze

Hello...just to add I follow Phinda on Facebook and this week they have been showing some great bird pics!

Mark - Owner - SafariKZN

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Phinda Private Game Reserve
Phinda Private Game...
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Randburg, Gauteng...
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8. Re: phinda or makuze

I would recommend Mkuze and as a birder for over 30 years, having also been to Phinda, Mkuze far outranks it in terms of unusual sightings of birds i had not seen before. I also did a walk with an old Zulu ranger who took us on a walk and just pointed with his stick at the bird. He only know the Zulu name, but wow was his eyesight spectacular, and i though mine was good. It was an unforgettable experience. Also i found the area for water birds was exceptional. Another good place for birding is St Lucia, but only if there are sandbanks up the estuary, which yields exceptional water birds. Of course, Kruger is the best, but do a self drive, that you can stop whenever and how long you like.

Lyn - Owner - Thorntree Tours and Safaris

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Phinda Private Game Reserve
Phinda Private Game...
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
St Lucia
St Lucia
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Northampton, United...
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9. Re: phinda or makuze

There is also a 'but' or 'of course' and Kruger mentioned in the SA forum!? When will KwaZulu get the recognition it deserves as the best all round province in SA? I am passionate and so keen to get more people into the province.

Mark - Owner - SafariKZN

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10. Re: phinda or makuze

Phinda itself consists of 7 different habitats, from the endangered Sand Forest (where you can be treated to spectacular sightings of endemnics like the Neergaards Sunbird!!), to the river, to mountain to bushveld. After more than 20 Specialist Birding Safaris to both Phinda and Mkhuze, I still recommend Phinda as the best option. As for birding, I have to agree with Mark that Zululand (northern Kwazulu Natal) is a better birding destination than Kruger (and I am a great Kruger fan!). Reason being that the concentration of different bird species in Zululand is higher than the same size property in Kruger. So while Kruger may have higher numbers in total species, you would have to travel over a much larger distance to view the same number that you could view over a smaller distance in Zululand.

Tanya * owner * Africa Direct

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Phinda Private Game Reserve
Phinda Private Game...
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Zululand
Zululand
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal
South Africa