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Phinda Vlei Lodge is an intimate and romantic safari lodge, overlooking a unique vlei (wetland system) on the edge of Phinda Private Game Reserve’s rare sand forest.
Phinda Private Game Reserve showcases one of the continent’s finest Big Five game viewing experiences and displays a magnificent tapestry of seven unique landscapes across an impressive 28,555 hectares (70,560 acres) of protected wildlife terrain. Guests at Phinda experience unforgettable interpretive game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles, led by professionally trained &BEYOND rangers and Zulu trackers, as well as a wide range of optional adventures in the bush and on the beach.
Phinda Vlei Lodge’s unique location offers ever-changing game viewing from the comfort of your suite. Set on the edge of a sand forest, and overlooking a vast grassy meadow, each of the six thatched suites ensure exclusivity and incredible wildlife sightings. The air-conditioned suites each feature a beautiful, plantation-style bedroom, with a luxuriously spacious ensuite bathroom and dressing room that effortlessly blends a sense of old-world luxury with quirky, contemporary features. The suite’s interiors showcase a mix of curated antiques and collectables combined with bold fabrics. Take advantage of a private lap pool and game viewing deck that overlooks lush plains and observe antelope and other curious wildlife grazing nearby, as well as a variety of birdlife. Unwind in the beautiful surrounds of the main guest area, which also includes a handsome library, as well as a fire pit setting, ideal for pre-dinner drinks.
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 within easy access of the reserve are Zulu village tours, Africa Foundation community visits, a Maputaland exploration, Maputaland beach trip, 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 Vlei Lodge‘s air-conditioned suites features a beautifully designed spacious room with your own personal bar, a luxurious ensuite bathroom and a separate dressing room. The ensuite bathroom (each equipped with a bath, indoor and outdoor shower) provides a sense of old-world luxury, while the suite’s interiors showcase a mix of curated antiques and collectables inspired by the elegant, turn of the century, plantation-style homesteads of KwaZulu-Natal’s sugarcane and pineapple barons. Take advantage of the private lap pool in each suite, as well as the game-viewing deck that overlooks a grassy wetland pan system, where you can observe antelope grazing nearby, as well as a variety of birdlife. Private candlelight dinners can also be arranged should you prefer some privacy in your suite.
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.