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Phinda Vlei Lodge

When To Visit Phinda Game Reserve:
When To Visit Phinda Game Reserve:
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"Nestled on the edge of a sand forest, Vlei Lodge is an exceptionally classy property, offering a truly exclusive safari experience."

**At present, Phinda is running a ‘Fly me to Phinda’ offer – stay three nights, and the costs of your internal flights to and from the property are covered!**

Phinda Vlei Lodge is one of nine options within the private game reserve. All are operated by &Beyond, a company that runs deluxe properties across Safari Africa and many other locations while caring for the local peoples and wildlife. 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, and a laundry service. The lodge is open all year round.


The lodge can be accessed via road transfer from the local airstrip. It nestles within sand forest on the edge of a vlei, or meadow, close to a waterhole. The vlei is very popular with wildlife!


Guest accommodation consists of just six suites. Beautifully constructed from timber, stone, thatch, and glass, each is spaced at least 25 metres away from its neighbour/s, so there’s ample privacy. A couple of steps lead up onto the deck, where you’ll find lounge and dining furniture, as well as your very own private plunge pool! Glass doors open into the bedroom, which features a double bed or twin beds, bedside tables and lighting, and end-of-bed seating. Amenities include air conditioning, overhead fans, a telephone, a mini-bar, a safe, and a hairdryer. Adjacent to this space there’s a fabulous dressing room, and the well-appointed en-suite washroom contains a separate flush toilet, twin washbasins with large mirror over, shower, and bathtub. All suites were recently refurbished, and their new décor takes inspiration from the homesteads of KwaZulu-Natal’s sugar-plantation barons. There are amazing views too, which you can enjoy both from inside and while relaxing on your deck! And your personal butler ensures your every need is met throughout your time here.

Vlei Lodge’s communal areas are just as well presented as the guest suites. Also made out of timber, stone, thatch, and glass, the main lodge building has been refurbished in the same sugar-baron style. The lounge features plush velveteen sofas and throne chairs around a coffee table, adjacent to a cosy fireplace. In the dining area, there’s a very glamorous antique table and selection of upright chairs – and there’s a fireplace here too. Both areas are open plan to the bar, which is stocked with a good range of beverages. Guests can also eat and drink out on the lodge’s veranda, all the while marvelling at views over the vlei to the waterhole. Among the species you can expect to see from this vantage point are zebra, warthog, and monkeys! Anyone in need of a little quiet time can head to the library, while fitness fans can request a Gym-in-a-bag. In-room massage is also available. Evening meals are often taken in Vlei’s traditional boma, under the star-studded skies. Finally, there’s a fire-pit, the perfect place to gather for a few drinks and swap your safari stories!


Below, we list a selection of activities offered at Vlei Lodge. Please note, the minimum age requirement for vehicle safaris is 12 years, and for bush walks and black rhino tracking it’s 16 years.

  • Expertly guided game drives

    - 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

    - 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

    - 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.
  • Elephant conservation experience

    – guests watch as members of &Beyond’s conservation team capture and dart a gentle giant for the purpose of changing his or her radio collar.
  • Photographic safaris

    – enjoy a masterclass from a specialist photographic guide, who’ll make sure you have some fantastic photos to take home.
  • Sleep-outs

    – following an afternoon game drive, your guide drives you to a small satellite camp. Here you can sink a few sundowners and tuck in to a tasty meal before settling down for the night under the star-studded skies.
  • And more!

    – for information about activities farther afield, such as  horse ridingcultural experiencesscuba safaris, and Maputaland tours, please contact a member of the YZ team.

*This property is unfenced and located in a wildlife area, so large and potentially dangerous animals do pass through. If you opt to stay here, always be alert when walking around the camp and request for a member of staff to escort you if you have any concerns. Any guest is escorted after dark as a matter of course.

Phinda Game Reserve

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