This newly rebuilt property, by &Beyond, is an exclusive-use safari home, set in a private game reserve teeming with game. The word ‘homestead’ might conjure images of something rustic, ‘just down the lane from the mill’, but think again! Phinda Homestead offers world-class elegance, its pool, firepit, dining area all merging into a stunning open-plan living space. It is a first-rate option for families and groups looking for a more private experience, while enjoying all the effortless luxury for which &Beyond is famous. The property is located in one of the finest private reserves in Africa, home to the continent’s Big Five. As well as the excellent safari activities on offer, there’s a focus on conservation and you can help with the day-to-day running of projects, including rhino and elephant collaring. With the coastal area of Sodwana Bay also just a short distance away, this opens up the possibility for marine activities, horse riding, and excursions. There’s also plenty for families to do, although it might be hard to drag yourselves away from the sensational homestead, which comes complete with dedicated ranger, tracker, and private chef whipping up a storm in the open kitchen!
ACCESS & LOCATION:
Set in a wooded valley in Phinda Private Game Reserve, within the Phinda Mkhuze area of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, the property enjoys a broad range of habitats, encompassing open plains, mountain forests, and coastal dunes. This is a spectacularly beautiful area. The homestead is almost always accessed by scheduled light aircraft from Jo’Burg (or the Kruger) into Phinda’s local airstrip. From here it’s a short drive to the property. Should your group wish to drive in, this is also possible – it’s approx. 7 hours from Jo’Burg or 4 from Durban.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT PHINDA HOMESTEAD:
Designed to blend into the bush surroundings, Phinda is a contemporary take on an old farmhouse ideal. The main areas are spacious and meticulously designed to make the open kitchen and your private chef the hub of the guest experience. Yes, he does requests! The food here is amazing, merging modern twists and locally sourced ingredients – and some great fresh seafood may be sampled too, as the coast is not far away. The way the decking leads out onto the pool and fire-pit area is a work of art and offers a great place for early evening drinks and chatter about the day’s activities. The four guest rooms, complete with en-suite bathrooms, are all impeccable. Elegant décor, super-comfy beds, free-standing baths… &Beyond has thought of everything. They also have the option of an additional child or nanny room with bunk beds, which is great for larger families.
The lodge has a well-equipped gym and a spa with an open-air massage area, great for relaxing in between safari activities. There is Wi-Fi in the main areas of the lodge, but phone reception is unlikely due to the remote location. For many, this will be a welcome opportunity to disconnect! As you have the place to yourself, complete with private vehicle, all safari activities are tailored to suit your needs and timings. Conservation experiences are perhaps the only thing that cannot be predicted, as you never know from day to day whether it’s a pangolin or rhino that will need the ranger’s attention!
ACTIVITIES AT PHINDA HOMESTEAD:
Phinda Homestead provides a wealth of activities, with something to suit all tastes. As the property is near the coast, this opens up some seafaring options too! It’s very rare for such an amazing safari location to have access to the sea as well as the safari areas. Please note, there are some local charges for certain activities and some need to be pre-booked. Do chat with one of our South Africa specialists and they can give you the lowdown on all this, including how best to incorporate what you’d like to do into your itinerary.
Expertly guided game drives- Generally, it’s two game sessions per day here, morning and late afternoon. It is possible to do a full day trip and go further into the park – whatever you’d like can be arranged with your private guide. Among the wildlife highlights are lion, leopard, elephant, hyena, and buffalo. You can also look out for smaller predators, such as jackal, serval, civet, honey badger, and the rare wild dog, while the large herbivore collection features giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and an assortment of antelopes.
Walking safaris- Why not head out into the bush with an armed guide? As well as enjoying animal tracking and viewing the area’s phenomenal birdlife, you can take a closer look at the reserve’s insects and plant life. Different levels and distances are available, depending on the ages of your group. Nature walks here has a minimum age of 12 years. Classic Walking safaris here has a minimum age of 16 years.
Night drives- You can head out at night too, when all the big predators come alive. It’s always an unforgettable experience, watching what goes on in the dark of the night! You might see porcupines, genets, civets, bush-babies, and occasionally a larger predator with its prey. Night drives at Phinda tend to be quite short and on the way back from sundowners as dusk is falling. If you would like to go on a full-on night drive, please contact us and we can arrange this with the homestead.
Cultural trips- Meet the locals who call this beautiful land home. Their own homestead is very accessible from the reserve, and highlights of the experience include Zulu village tours and Africa Foundation community visits (at extra cost).
Fly Camping- Sleep out beneath the stars! This is a truly memorable experience. Usually your afternoon game drive ends with sundowners near the campsite, while your guide cooks something delicious on the fire. Although you will have the feeling of being alone, there’s always a guide and armed guard on watch and close by. You’ll wake up to a delicious bush breakfast, before being driven back to the lodge (extra cost, needs pre-booking).
Conservation- Phinda has conservation activities which include elephant, rhino and pangolin experiences, such as dehornings, and elephant reproductive research. These all need to be booked in advance as they have limited availability.
Beach activities- As the beach is not far away, this opens up a world of sea-based activities. You can do a Maputaland beach trip, night turtle drives (seasonal), scuba safaris, or an incredible ocean safari that offers you a host of marine life sightings including humpback whales (seasonal) (extra cost on all these).
Horseback safaris- This takes place near the coast at the False Bay Nature Reserve, part of the renowned iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The company caters for all levels and the activity can be a great way to get close to animals, as they are more relaxed around horses than 4x4s. Although the terrain is mainly beaches, vegetated dunes and forests, you may come across the odd zebra or two! (extra cost).
*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.