Location: Cradled between the Lebombo Mountains and the sweeping golden beaches of the Indian Ocean, Phinda lies at the heart of Maputaland’s vast natural wilderness.
Rooms: The lodge boasts 16 elegant suites, as well as 3 family cottages and one exclusive family suite. The family cottages are conveniently interlinked via a door for easy access. Each cottage has its own en suite bathroom, with indoor and outdoor showers, as well as a private plunge pool.
Facilities: The guest area is a magnificent u-shaped building with central al fresco courtyard. The intimate sitting areas are filled with sunlight, and the dining area overlooks the Reserve with the Ubombo Mountains in the distance. Delicious meals can be enjoyed in the remarkable stone and reed boma, romantically illuminated by dozens of candles and lanterns, or savoured in a spectacular clearing in the bush under an umbrella of twinkling stars.
Activities: At dawn and dusk experienced rangers and trackers reveal the wonders of wild Zululand on foot or by vehicle: from the awe-inspiring Big Five to a fascinating array of plants, insects and over 350 bird species recorded in the reserve. Traditional local legends and medicinal uses of plants are also covered. You can also explore the reserve’s ancient waterways by canoe or boat, slipping silently past hippos and crocodiles or investigating fossil finds en route to a picnic site.
Optional excursions include a light aircraft flight to Sodwana Bay where you can enjoy deserted beaches and scuba diving in the waters of the Indian ocean.
Children: Children 12 years and older are welcome.
Our Opinion: Bordering the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park and covering more than 18,500 hectares of prime conservation land in northern KwaZulu Natal, Phinda spans seven distinct ecosystems ranging from open grasslands to riverine woodland that are home to abundant wildlife including Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, both black and white rhino, as well as buffalo). The bird count at Phinda numbers more than 380 species, whilst there is great marine diversity off the nearby coast.
The reserve boasts four individual lodges: Mountain, Rock, Forest and Vlei, each one a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World in its own right, allowing you to explore this extraordinarily diverse region in the company of superb guides.