Nestled inside 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of Africa’s last remaining dry sand forest lies Phinda Forest Lodge, one of the world’s first eco-designed luxury safari lodges.
With its seven distinct habitats, Phinda Private Game Reserve is often described as ‘Seven Worlds of Wonder’, a magnificent tapestry of woodland, grassland, wetland and forest, interspersed with mountain ranges, rivers, marshes and pans. Showcasing one of the continent’s finest game viewing experiences, the reserve is home to Africa’s Big Five, as well as 436 bird species.
Set in a rare and beautiful sand forest, the glass walls of Phinda Forest Lodge’s 16 air-conditioned suites offer a sweeping view of one of the most unique ecosystems on the planet. A dense canopy provides privacy, and floor to ceiling windows invite the forest in, with the wonderful opportunity to view wildlife roaming outside your glass “bubble”, fluttering birds nesting in the foliage and the gentle rustle of forest sounds.
On the edge of the forest, just before a clearing that overlooks a small waterhole, lies the lodge’s sparkling rim-flow swimming pool, an ideal respite in between game drives. Expansive decks in the spacious guest area, look out onto panoramic views of an open grassy meadow. In the evenings, when warm firelight welcomes you to the traditional African boma, wide-eyed bush babies watch inquisitively from the trees above, as you in indulge in a lantern-lit feast beneath a canvas of stars.
Choose from a range of exciting Phinda Adventures such as a specialist walking and tracking safaris, a sleep-out under the stars, and other participative conservation experiences such rhino notching or pangolin tagging. Also on offer outside of the reserve, within easy access of the reserve are Zulu village tours, Africa Foundation community visits, a Maputaland exploration, Maputaland beach trips, night turtle drives (seasonal), scuba safaris, or an incredible ocean safari that offers you a host of marine life sightings. Specialist safaris can be arranged in advance and focus on special interests such as birding, photographic, family and private safaris.
Each of &Beyond Phinda Forest Lodge‘s 16 suites are built on stilts, and appear to float between the forest floor and the towering torchwood trees in the intensely canopied rare sand forest. Inventively designed in a style affectionately known as Zulu Zen, each handcrafted, glass-encased suite was constructed without damaging or removing a single tree in the forest. The interiors boast a minimalist flair that incorporates high-gloss wooden floors, richly tactile fabrics and brightly accented Zulu artefacts. The suites feature luxurious ensuite bathrooms with slate hand basins and viewing decks where guests can drink in the sight of graceful nyala and duiker in the dappled shade of the forest.
An African Safari is an experience of a lifetime, and there is so much on offer at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve – from twice-daily game drives, where you have the opportunity to encounter some of South Africa’s most prized wildlife, to a night safari offering incredible after-dark drives.
When booking a private vehicle and specialist guide, our safaris can be tailormade to suit a wide range of interests. These specialist safaris ensure an incomparable interpretive wilderness experience and range from private safaris, to birding, photographic and family safaris, each unique in their offering.
What’s more, you can even choose to spend the night sleeping directly beneath the stars in the heart of the bush on a thrilling overnight adventure, surrounded by Africa’s night sounds and kept safe by an armed guard. For those interested in exploring beyond the reserve, day trips can be arranged with a guide to take you deep into Maputaland to explore the World Heritage Site of iSimangaliso Wetland Park and its huge array of bird species.
Beginning with our ground-breaking conservation achievements during the original restocking of Phinda Private Game Reserve, &Beyond has continued to take part in a number of conservation successes. Our approach to the creation of this reserve, from the underlying conservation issues to its interaction with the community, has proven to be the foundation on which all our subsequent projects were to be built. Since then we have embarked on a variety of pioneering conservation initiatives, both in Africa and beyond. &Beyond’s conservation engine is driven by one thing only and that is creating extraordinary experiences for our guests. Without our guests, we simply cannot be successful in extending and sustaining green frontiers. To fund many of the projects that help us to continue our conservation of Phinda’s endangered species, guests are invited to join us in the routine monitoring or research projects that are essential to the survival of the reserves’ species’.
This adventure makes full use of all your senses, allowing you a deeper connection with the African bush. Strap on your boots and feel the wild grasses crush beneath your boots as you follow your expert guide into the pristine, untamed landscapes of the region. Be mesmerised by the morning sunlight as it dances in dewdrops delicately sprinkled on flourishing vegetation. Smell nature in its purest form and be enchanted by the chorus of wildlife surrounding you.
Nothing quite encapsulates the feeling of viewing wildlife on foot. Encounter a variety of plains game from a safe distance and be enchanted by the reserve’s smaller inhabitants. This activity is also fantastic for keen birders and photographic enthusiasts. Your guides have a wealth of experience under their belts and will not only introduce you to the region’s fantastic fauna but its kaleidoscopic array of flora too. For any safari addict, this is definitely a bucket list adventure that will keep you coming back for more!
For &Beyond, our involvement with Africa Foundation and the people in our local communities represents our core tenet of Care of the People. Through our close consultation with them, &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve facilitates insightful community visits and excursions for our guests that help you to not only experience and see firsthand the various projects that are being run by the Africa Foundation and &Beyond Phinda, but also for you to see how you can get involved and make a difference. In addition to these community visits, local Zulu villagers offer guests the opportunity to experience their daily lives and routines, and to gain a sneak peek into some of their traditional rituals and customs.