Phinda Private Game Reserve General
Set within easy reach of the Indian Ocean coastline and the famous iSimangaliso / Greater St Lucia Wetland Park in northern KwaZulu-Natal, Phinda Private Game Reserve is known for its abundant wildlife, diversity of habitats and wide range of activities. Thanks to its coastal rainfall pattern, Phinda enjoys a lush green environment that contains seven distinct ecosystems – a magnificent tapestry of woodland, grassland, wetland and forest, interspersed with mountain ranges, rivercourses, marshes and pans.
This fascinating variety of landscape and vegetation shelters an abundance of wildlife, including not only the Big Five but many rarer and less easily spotted species, such as the elusive cheetah or the scarce black rhino. With only a handful of lodges sharing an area of 23 000 hectares (56 800 acres) and careful trained rangers and trackers in search of prime wildlife sightings, guests are assured an exclusive game viewing experience.
Adding to Phinda’s wildlife charms, the marine diversity of nearby Sodwana on the coast is easily accessible, with scuba diving, fishing and even turtle watching only some of the adventures available from Phinda.
Phinda Rock Lodge
When you first set eyes on the ochre walls of Phinda Rock Lodge clinging to the cliff face you’ll need a second look to realise you haven’t arrived at a Mexican hacienda. While the rugged adobe-style building wouldn’t be out of place in a desert pueblo, the lush bushveld vegetation and the wildlife dotted on the surrounding slopes leave you in no doubt that you’re in the middle of Africa.
With only six suites carved into the rocky hillside, you’ll feel you’re part of an elite tribe of rock dwellers suspended in a cosy hideout that offers complete seclusion from the world below.
Suspended over the valley below, the cliff-top suites provide an intimate, cosy space in a dramatic setting with an eagle’s eye view of the reserve. Snuggled high above the surrounding panorama, your closest neighbour is likely to be an inquisitive spotted genet paying you a friendly visit on the dining deck
Experience the awe of the spectacular views from your suite’s private viewing deck or feel as though you’re floating on air with a dip in your personal plunge pool on the very edge of the breathtaking precipice. When the sense of freedom has you feeling giddy, retreat to the natural sanctuary of the secret spaces of your bedroom or private sitting area, the roughly hewn walls and chunky textures giving you the feeling that you are sheltering within the mountain itself.
Freshening up after your morning game drive becomes an experience all in itself, with deep bathtubs encased in wide windows that open up onto a spectacular view of the valley. Three suites offer al fresco showers so deeply sheltered in the leafy growth that you’ll feel you’re bathing in your own private waterfall. The white face of Leopard Rock lies directly across from the lodge, while a watering hole draws wildlife from the deep hollows of the valley below
As the romance of the setting reawakens your sense of adventure, one quick leap through the open wooden shutter on the dining room window takes you to a rustic ladder leading to the roof, soon to be stopped in your tracks as you gaze on the unrivalled panorama before you. When night draws in, retreat to the warm refuge of an intimate gathering around a roaring fire in the guest area. Savour a meal served among friends, both old and new, in the cosy dining room or the haven of your own suite.
Phinda Vlei Lodge
At 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.
Carefully tucked away in one of six secluded suites perfectly integrated into the African bush, you are virtually guaranteed to see more animals than people during your stay – and that’s not counting the game drives! Each moment brings a new surprise, as man made barriers melt away and the wonders of the bush are revealed at every turn.
Elegant and serene, the gracious spaces of Phinda Vlei Lodge are designed for quiet contemplation of the African wilderness. With each suite’s deck opening up onto a dazzling view of the clearing beyond, combine your game viewing with a refreshing dip in your private plunge pool, but be prepared to share it with a thirsty elephant or impala
Each suite boasts not only a private sitting area and ensuite bathroom, but also a dressing room and game viewing deck, so you may not ever want to leave, even for meals. Not that you will have to – private dining in your suite can be arranged, as can more social meals on the dining deck or even on the edge of the vlei. On clear, cold winter nights keep the chill at bay relaxing in front of a roaring fire in the sitting room before retiring to the comfort of a warm bed.