Once again, we are bringing you some very exciting news. WE are adding a new location to the three from which WE currently broadcast into our daily LIVE shows. Again we have partnered with luxury travel experts &Beyond to share another of their exclusive properties with the world. This time it is Phinda Private Game Reserve and they will be included in our broadcasts from Sunday morning, May 31st.
Phinda Private Game Reserve is 28,555 hectares (70,560 acres) of protected wildlife land in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Showcasing one of the continent’s finest game viewing experiences, &Beyond Phinda is home to a magnificent variety of wildlife, including the Big Five, but is best known for its large population of cheetah and black rhino. The sand forest is home to the shy suni and the rare red duiker, two tiny antelope that are seldom encountered elsewhere.
The landscape is particularly diverse with seven distinct habitats found on the property. There is woodland, grassland, wetland and forest, interspersed with mountain ranges, rivers, marshes and pans. It is absolutely stunning.
Pangolin Rehabilitation and Research
Phinda Private Game reserve is also famous for its groundbreaking pangolin rehabilitation and research, The Temminck’s ground pangolin once roamed freely in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, where &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve is situated. Sadly, for the past few decades, the species is believed to be locally extinct, which is why &Beyond Phinda has joined forces with the African Pangolin Working Group to launch a groundbreaking rehabilitation and reintroduction programme to reverse this local extinction.
Once the traumatised pangolins’ health is more stable, they are placed into the release programme at &Beyond Phinda where they are carefully monitored. The aim is to help re-establish a new and healthy population of Temminck’s ground pangolin, provide a breeding nucleus from which to create further metapopulations and give this vulnerable species a fighting chance at survival. It seems only fitting that this once naturally occurring species will be returned to the pristine and highly protected wilderness of &Beyond Phinda. Phinda, which means “the return” in Zulu, has proved prophetic in more ways than one.
Back in 1991, this previously derelict farmland was devoid of its original wildlife and not only did &Beyond restore the land to its original splendour, but they also succeeded in reintroducing the wildlife that once rightfully belonged on that land. &Beyond Phinda was one of the first private or state-owned reserves to successfully reintroduce lion, cheetah, elephant and buffalo, as well as smaller species such as serval, klipspringer, rock hyrax and caracal. Years later, a significant portion of the land was returned to its ancestral owners, the neighbouring Makhasa and Mnqobokazi communities. And now, after a prolonged absence, the Temminck’s ground pangolin also makes its long-awaited return. Photo © Liam Bascombe
Rhino Conservation Programme
&Beyond have invested heavily in stringent security measures at all their reserves. As part of their strategy to preserve their rhino numbers, in 2016 they made the necessary decision to de-horn all adult rhinos at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. De-horning will not altogether remove the risk of poaching; however, it has been proven that it significantly reduces pressure from poaching. To learn more about this process, you can read a lot of great information here.
WildEarth and &Beyond have decided to show rhinos on Phinda during the LIVE shows. The stringent security measures that &Beyond have put in place mean that poaching risks are extremely low.
Photo © Damen Pheiffer
Meet the Characters
As with all the places that feature on our daily LIVE shows, &Beyond Phinda has its own characters that the guides will check in on regularly. Here are a few for you to look out for:-
Mountain Pride – This pride lives in the mountainous woodlands near to Phinda Mountain Lodge. They are led by an elderly lioness who is around ten years old. She and her grownup daughter face a constant challenge of having to keep their four sub-adult offspring who, at one and a half years old, have an insatiable appetite but are still too young to help with the hunting.
Bayala Pride – this pride lives in the open rolling grasslands of the far South of the reserve. The three lionesses are sisters, and between 2 of them, they have five youngsters who are all around a year old. They face a constant challenge of having to keep their youngsters fed and seem to enjoy climbing marula trees from which to scan their territory for prey. The 3rd lioness is currently also spending a lot of time away from her pride; it is possible that she is pregnant and looking for a den site. Photo © Clive Cowie
Bayala males – 2 magnificent brothers in the prime of their life. Both sport long, black manes but one of the brothers (the slightly more dominant one) has a big scar through his right eye – a mark from a fight. They preside over both the Mountain and the Bayala Prides and constantly move around the southern regions of the reserve patrolling their territory.
South Male Cheetah – 2 big but ageing brothers. Their territory encompasses more than half of the whole of the reserve, and they are always on the move patrolling to keep other males out and to search for any female cheetah that is ready to mate. Their constant walking means that they must feed relatively often and together they have been known to take down wildebeest, young zebras and even, on one occasion, a baby giraffe.
Bayala Male cheetah – 2 brothers who were orphaned at a very young age, so young in fact that it was doubtful that they would survive to adulthood. Yet here they are today establishing a territory for themselves in the West of the reserve. Together they survived an attack by lions (in which their mother was killed) and several run-ins with the much larger, more aggressive South Male cheetah.
Mother cheetah and her two cubs – a beautiful female cheetah with two cubs estimated to be a little over three months old. She keeps her offspring in the long grass of the open woodlands of the West of the reserve and faces the constant challenge of having to keep them fed but also safe from lions, leopards and hyenas.
Photo © Damen Pheiffer
Meet the Guides
There will be three guides rotating at Phinda Private Game Reserve:-
For as long as Damen can remember, he has been fanatical about wildlife. To the extent, he admits, that he could imitate animal noises before he could even talk. Damen recalls spending every holiday and long weekend either in the bush or at the beach. In 2017, Damen obtained a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Louisiana State University in the USA.
Following graduation, he worked as a research associate for the University’s Renewable Natural Resources department studying the blue crab and shrimp fisheries of southern Louisiana.
Interestingly, during Damen’s time abroad, he would often tune into live safari broadcasts to get his much-needed Africa fix before his eventual return to African soil in 2018 where he immediately returned to Phinda to qualify as a guide and has since been based at all of Phinda’s six lodges.
Clive was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg in South Africa’s picturesque Midlands. Growing up in such close proximity to some of the country’s most prized wilderness areas, Clive developed a lifelong love for the great outdoors and its varied wildlife and birdlife.
After dedicating eight years to working in sales, the lure of the wilderness became too strong, and Clive eventually decided to follow his heart in 2016 and train to be a Ranger at Phinda and has been guiding there ever since. Clive is an avid outdoorsman, and when he’s not guiding, he’s off exploring the rugged beauty of South Africa. From hiking, mountain biking and trail running, to birding and camping, he truly is happiest when surrounded by nature.
Jarryd Du Preez
Jarryd grew up in the coastal town of Plettenberg Bay in South Africa. However, despite his obvious love of the ocean, it was the bushveld that became his biggest passion. Jarryd went on to study at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, earning qualifications in both Electrical Engineering and Education (majoring in High School Mathematics). Despite these technical credentials, Jarryd decided to pursue his lifelong dream of living and working in Africa’s wilderness.
In 2013 he joined &Beyond, and after five years as the Assistant Head Ranger for their lodges in the Sabi Sand, Jarryd’s passion for hands-on conservation work encouraged him to return to Phinda, where he assumed his current role of Head Ranger for the south of the reserve.
WildEarth is incredibly excited to be adding another &Beyond Reserve to our LIVE shows and look forward to a long and exciting journey broadcasting from Phinda.
Cover photo: © Jarryd Du Preez