Phinda Forest Lodge is operated by &Beyond. This company runs high-quality properties across Safari Africa and many other locations, all the while caring for the local peoples and wildlife. Service standards are superb – Forest Lodge has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor! The accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including three meals daily, a range of alcoholic and soft drinks, expertly guided game drives and bush walks, transfers between the lodge and the local airstrip, Wi-Fi, and a laundry service. The lodge is open all year round.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
The lodge can be accessed via road transfer from the local airstrip. It’s set deep in the heart of rare and very scenic sand forest, in the north-east region of Phinda Private Game Reserve.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT &BEYOND PHINDA FOREST LODGE:
There are 16 guest suites, spaced at least 15 metres apart within the forest. All are raised well off the forest floor on sturdy stilts, with a canopy of leaves above them. Although each suite is partly constructed from wood, no trees were felled in the area. A short flight of steps lead up onto the front deck, and from here glass doors open into the bedroom space. Here, you’ll find a double bed or twin beds, a stand behind the bed for lighting, a writing desk and chair, and a separate seating area. The style is described as Zulu Zen, a fusion of Zulu chic and minimalist design. The walls are made almost entirely of glass, affording amazing views into the forest – don’t be surprised if you catch sight of an endearing dwarf forest antelope looking back at you! Additional in-room amenities include air conditioning, overhead fans, a telephone, a personal bar, a safe, and a hairdryer. En-suite facilities comprise flush toilet, twin washbasins with mirrors over, step-up shower, and freestanding bathtub. Doors from the bedroom lead out onto the back deck, the perfect place to relax and enjoy your forest surrounds!
The communal lodge is approached from the guest suites along neat pathways through the forest. It too is made out of wood and glass, with steps up to the entrance. Interior spaces include the pleasant lounge, featuring L-shaped sofas and armchairs around glass-topped coffee tables, a cosy fireplace, other tables strewn with intriguing artefacts, and the same Zulu Zen style. This area flows out to the dining deck, where guests tuck in to delicious meals while marvelling at the scenery. The lodge overlooks an open meadow, and sightings of plains game are common. If you wish to get involved in food prep, you can head to the interactive kitchen. There’s also a well-stocked bar! A short stroll away, there’s a safari shop. In-room massages are available on request, and fitness fans can ask for &Beyond’s Gym-in-a-Bag. A traditional boma is positioned in between the lodge and the shop buildings, and it’s usually the setting for convivial evening meals. Finally, the rim-flow circular swimming pool is ideal for a refreshing dip. Moreover, it’s set in a deck and flanked by both lounge and dining furniture, offering yet another venue for relaxing and enjoying some tasty fare!
ACTIVITIES AT &BEYOND PHINDA FOREST LODGE:
Expertly guided game drives (for 6+ years)– these are available during early morning and late afternoon into evening. Phinda Private Game Reserve boasts no fewer than seven varieties of ecosystem, not least grasslands, woodlands, wetlands, and water sources. It’s home to all Big Five – lion, rhino, leopard, elephant, and buffalo. Smaller predators in residence include cheetah, hyena, and rare wild dog, while the herbivore count features hippo, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and a fine assortment of antelopes. Hefty Nile crocodile are often seen in the Mzinene river!
Bush walks (for 16+ years)– accompanied by a knowledgeable and experienced guide, guests head out on foot into Phinda to take a look at the smaller lives of the reserve. These include its birds, insects, and plant life.
Black rhino tracking (for 16+ years)– with an expert ranger and tracker, guests walk through the bush in search of the mighty black rhino, examining tracks, scratching posts, dunghills, and more.