&Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge
Phinda Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
The luxury &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge is a romantic, private safari lodge. Overlooking the Phinda's vlei (wetland) system next to the sand forest, its location offers great game viewing from your bed, your shower or your private plunge pool.
At Phinda Vlei Lodge you don't have to leave your spacious suite to enjoy the never-ending parade of animals coming for a drink - the game viewing simply never stops!
You will occupy one of only six carefully tucked away suites, perfectly hidden from each other in the African bush, giving you a feeling of seclusion from others. The only times you meet other people will be if you visit the guest areas or during the game drives!
Wonderful game viewing are not coming to an end if you should take a dip in your private plunge pool, as it is quite possible that an elephant or an impala may visit your pool for a drink of water!
Each suite features not only a private sitting area and en-suite bathroom, but also a dressing room and game viewing deck, so you may not ever want to leave, since private dining in your suite can be arranged, as can meals be arranged on the edge of the vlei. On cold winter nights escape the cold in front of a roaring fire in the sitting room before retiring to the comfort of a warm bed.
A Day at Phinda Vlei Lodge
Morning Game Drive
As dawn breaks over the African bush, a gentle tap on your door will wake you to the delights of a new day. Your ranger will discuss what you hope to see that day over fragrant tea or coffee and morning biscuits or rusks. andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve is renowned for its exceptional sightings of the elusive cheetah and the rare black rhino, as well as the Big Five. There is also a number of resident lion prides and rangers will do their best to provide you with an exceptional sighting of all of these animals.
Return to your lodge for a delicious breakfast, with platters of fruit and cheese followed by a selection of hot breakfast dishes. Choose from eggs, oats, waffles or a number of other options.
If you wish, you can walk off your breakfast near your lodge, accompanied by your ranger, who will share his insight into the smaller animals and vegetation in the area, before returning in time for lunch.
Afternoon TeaCool off with a refreshing dip in the pool, indulge in an afternoon siesta or simply watch the wildlife from your private veranda. Over a late afternoon tea, your ranger will discuss what you hope to see during the afternoon game drive.
Evening Game DriveThis game drive begins in the late afternoon and lasts until after dark, when spotlights are used for a glimpse into the nocturnal bush life. Listen to lions roar in the dark or admire the small nocturnal animals. Enjoy sun-downers in a scenic location as the sun slowly sinks beneath the horizon. If you prefer, you may be able to go on a boat cruise down the Mzinene River, watching the wildlife as they come down to drink.
DinnerA mouthwatering dinner is waiting for you at your lodge's boma or in a surprising bush location.
Overlooking the Reserve’s unique vlei (wetland) system on the edge of the sand forest, its location offers ever changing game viewing from the comfort of your bed, your shower or your private plunge pool
At &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge simply spending time in your spacious suite is like being on safari.
With each suite carefully positioned for a prime view of the animals coming out to drink and panoramic vistas from even your shower or bathtub, the game viewing never stops!
Set on the edge of the forest and overlooking an open meadow (or vlei), complete with watering hole, this wildlife playground brings your game encounters up close and personal. Each morning and early evening the animals appear, dotting the sweeping vlei in a never-ending wildlife parade.
Whether from the intimate guest areas or the seclusion of your own suite, watch the daily details of the bush come to life, from the antics of the monkeys and the prolific birdlife to the herds of zebra or families of warthog ambling along the open vlei.
Wildlife at Phinda Vlei Lodge
&Beyond Phinda is home to an abundance of wildlife, from the large mammals to the smallest antelope. However, it is the faster of predators that has a special place here.
Having reintroduced cheetah to the area after an absence of over fifty years, &Beyond Phinda has quickly established a reputation as one of the best places to view and photograph these rare cats. With much of &Beyond Phinda dominated by a mosaic of various savanna habitats, these speedy carnivores have plenty of space to carry out their explosive hunting technique, as well as enough cover to protect and shelter their cubs.
Along with cheetah, lion and leopard are tracked on the reserve on a daily basis and guests have a high likelihood of encountering these magnificent animals. Another success story at &Beyond Phinda is that of both the white and the more endangered black rhino. Brought back from the brink of extinction, both the grass eating white rhino and the shrub grazing black rhino are doing well at the reserve. While the white rhino favours water holes and wallows, the black rhino indulges its inquisitive nature in constant solitary rambles.
The elegant nyala antelope is a frequent sight at &Beyond Phinda, with the reserve boasting one of the highest densities of the species. With its dark brown coat, buttery yellow legs, shaggy mane and impossibly bushy tail, the male nyala is particularly spectacular, while the female contents itself with a less flashy chestnut coat.
The rare sand forest in the northern parts of &Beyond Phinda is the perfect environment for some of the rarer smaller species. The shy red duiker is found grazing on fallen leaves and fruit and the tiny suni, one of the smallest antelope species, may also be seen.
Activities at Phinda Vlei Lodge
Mzinene River Boat Cruise
Begin or end your day with a leisurely cruise on the Mzinene River. A game drive with your ranger will take you down to the river. Wind your way along the reed-lined banks, where fever trees, gnarled sycamore figs and acacias provide nesting places for over 200 species of water birds that inhabit this riverine system. Photograph these beautiful birds in the soft light of dawn or dusk before returning to your lodge.
Maputaland Beach Adventure
The vast sandy beaches of the Maputaland coastline provide a beautiful setting for a half-day beach outing. Soak up the sun, splash in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, relax with a good book, play beach games, take leisurely walks along the shoreline or snorkel alongside Jesser Point, a protected marine reserve. *
Indian Ocean Scuba safari
Recognised as one of the top ten dive sites in the world, Sodwana Bay offers an abundance of fish and marine life throughout the year. The gullies, ledges and pinnacles of the coral reef are home to more than 1 200 fascinating fish species. *
Black Rhino Tracking on Foot
Slip on a pair of walking shoes and spend the morning with an expert ranger and tracker to find the rare and endangered black rhino on foot. Follow rhino tracks, recognise rhino middens and scratching posts, and read the signs of the bush in search of your quarry. *
Turtle Nesting Adventure
(Available November to February)
For four months during the southern hemisphere summer, the enormous leatherback and loggerhead turtles emerge from the Indian Ocean at Sodwana Bay to lay their precious eggs in the sand. As the moon rises over the ocean, excitement grows as you drive along the deserted coastline in search of fresh turtle tracks that emerge from the ocean and travel along the beach in search of a suitable nesting site. Watch as the female turtle digs her nest and lays her clutch of up to a hundred eggs. *
Swimming with Whale Sharks
Drift in the warm currents of the Indian Ocean as you swim alongside the largest fish in the sea. Accompanied by a skipper and certified dive-master, head out to sea on board an inflatable vessel in search of these enormous fish. Once located, jump into the water to swim next to these massive yet gentle giants. *
Zulu Village Tour
Be invited into an authentic Zulu homestead, visit the training school of a local sangoma, or traditional healer, and shop for exquisite handicrafts in the community surrounding &Beyond Phinda. Get a glimpse into the rituals of daily life and see how tribal culture and traditional affect rural Zulu villagers in the modern world. *
(* at an additional cost)
Children are welcome at andBeyond Phinda Vlei Lodge
Game drives are available to children aged twelve years and older. Children aged six to twelve are permitted on game drives at the lodge manager's discretion.&Beyond's WILDChild Programme
Designed especially for children visiting &Beyond’s lodges, WILDchild is a filled with fun, interactive activities that offer opportunities to learn and discover new experiences and cultures. On arrival at &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge, each child will receive a WILDchild branded bag containing a logbook, crayons, pencils and a paw print tattoo. There is a personalised welcome note for every child, with those under three getting an African-themed soft toy as well.
Three meals daily
Local brand spirits and beers
Teas and coffees
Refreshments on game drives
1-hour nature walks accompanied by experienced armed trackers (subject to availability)
Emergency medical evacuation insurance
Transfers to and from the lodge airstrip
Safari shop purchases
All items of a personal nature
Premium brand spirits and cigars
Adventures at Phinda
Government bed levy
Conservancy or park fees
All rates are inclusive of VAT and in South African Rand. Accommodation rates are per person per night sharing.
Long-Stay Rates & Signature offers may be applied for.
Single Supplement: A single supplement of 50% applies from the first single room, throughout the year.
Children under the age of 16 sharing with 1 or 2 adult are charged 50% of the adult rate. This is subject to the availability of triple rooms.
Private 4x4 safari vehicles can be pre-booked at Phinda Private Game Reserve at additional cost and subject to availability.
The conservancy fee is not included in the above mentioned rates - these are charged per person per stay
All pricing is indicative and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. &Beyond Trading Terms apply.