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andBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 5, 2013

2 nites Mountain Lodge. one at Forest lodge----great experience---ask for Sam at forest lodge for great experience. Liked Mountain Lodge accommodation more. saw all the animals. wonderful time.wonderful people.

Room Tip: mountain lodge=great time
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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3  Thank nuc1111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 24, 2013

We transferred from Forest to Mountain Lodge (2 nights each)- Phinda has 5 lodges on the reserve. We were told to check out of Forest at 12p and drive (we had a car) to Mountain lodge. Upon arrival, we had to wait a few hours for our room. I really think for such an expensive and premium quality lodge, that the 2 camps could have spoken prior and allowed us to relax more at forest before being stranded in the lobby waiting for a room in Mountain ... Especially on our honeymoon, this was quite inconvenient and ruined our moods coming from a high at Forest lodge. Upon seeing the room, the style was different, a little less high end than Forest but charming in the rustic nature of the decor. The outdoor shower, plunge pool and spectacular view were much appreciated. Sadly our special treats that we requested and honored at Forest lodge were missed here. I think we were in room 17, which was very private. The meals were all buffet style which we don't prefer and the food quality was no where as high as we expected, completely average to be honest. We were a bit surprised with so many families and kids around but we stuck to our room between drives which was more romantic (we did not visit the pool). The guides were good with the kids so I would definitely recommend for families. Thankfully our game drives were with adults only and we did see very good game including a herd of about 20 elephants and babies which was fantastic. Overall the special touches at this lodge were lacking. For the same price as Forest Lodge per night, we were quite disappointed with our stay at Mountain lodge.

Room Tip: Ask for a private room farthest away from the main dining and lounge area - I think we stayed in roo...
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Jenna C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2013

We stayed at the Phinda Mountain Lodge and the facilities and the view were magnificent. Staff was very friendly and helpful, took concerns and feedback seriously and resolved problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. The room was very well sized, nicely furnished and clean, with large panorama windows (even the bathtub had a view!) and a small plunge pool at the private sun deck. The common areas were large enough to give space for the many guests and provided the comfort and luxury associated with &Beyond.
The food was very good and the kitchen happy to cater for special dietary requirements. Breakfast and lunch were served at a restaurant with a wonderful view over the valley, while dinner (weather permitting) was in an enclosed space outside under trees and with a large outdoor kitchen for braais. Wine selection was good, although maybe somewhat pricy.
The excursions were nice too and our guide accommodated all the special requests.
All in all a true &Beyond experience - if it hadn’t been for the children. Don’t stay at this lodge if you don’t have any of your own. Believe all you read on Tripadvisor - the lack of discipline during meal times and the very high noise level in general really spoiled the experience for us. Maybe if the lodge had fewer rooms and hence fewer families staying at the same time it wouldn’t have mattered, but the large number of small children made us feel like in the middle of a kindergarten. Of course it is not in the power of the &Beyond staff to deal with the children of their guest, but there is a systematic flaw in the set-up of this lodge. Maybe there could be various spaces for eating to break up the large group of guests, maybe they could offer meals in the room and there should really be more rooms for guests without children away from the noisy pool area as well as the family rooms. With the set-up as when we stayed there, we would not advise anybody without small children to stay at the Phinda Mountain Lodge.

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank N0i
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2013

This lodge is very exclusive - and it's well worth it. Suites are freestanding, each with their own verandah and plunge pool overlooking the African bush. The view from the large bath, shower and even toilet are even fantastic!
The food was excellent and the service fantastic - lovely warm, African hospitality - while still ensuring you have a good level of privacy.
Game drives take place first thing in the morning, and in the late afternoon. Each open-topped safari vehicle has it's own experienced game ranger and tracker - you literally track down the animals you want to see! These drives are broken by either a tea / coffee break in the morning or sundowners in the evening - right out in the middle of the Africa bush.
This exclusivity doesn't come cheap - but it's really worth it!

Room Tip: All rooms are great!
  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Bevkel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2013

We just returned from three nights at Phinda Mountain Lodge, where we had a wonderful experience. I think the first and most important thing that makes this lodge special is the staff. From the time Eleonor gave us our very personal welcome through all of Jess's delicious meals, on all of our game drives with Ross (our ranger) and Saphiwe (our tracker), and during every encounter we had with every member of the staff, we were incredibly impressed with the service, dedication, and enthusiasm of the staff. They made us feel like one of the family, and any request we made was treated as no problem. Any negatives in the description below are things we did not bring to the attention of the staff or they would have been addressed immediately. These thoughts are only to alert future visitors that if you have any of the same issues, you should speak up, and they will respond.

Safari drives: Understand that Phinda is a relatively small private reserve, so the rangers have a somewhat precise idea of the exact number and probable location of many of the animals. What this means for the visitor is that you have a significant chance of seeing at least the big 5, and we saw all of them and more. It also means, however, that the safari experience is a little less "wild" than what we found in Kruger, which we understand is even less "wild" than the safari experience in other African countries. That said, we very much enjoyed our game drives and cannot imagine how they could have been better at Phinda. Having a great ranger and tracker, who are knowledgeable and work well together, makes all the difference, and we could not have been happier with Ross and Saphiwe. Our ranger and tracker did an amazing job of finding the animals and giving us the time and information to really observe their natural behaviors. We had so many special, up close and personal viewings of different animals that we could neither describe them all nor choose a favorite. Ross and Saphiwe are incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic, so we learned a great deal from them and enjoyed every minute we spent with them on the drives. The morning mocha-chaca-rules and evening sundowner beers on the game drives are a great touch that we did not find at our other safari lodge and made every day more relaxing and fun.

Lodge: The lodge and rooms are beautiful and very comfortable. Even the animals seem to appreciate the peacefulness of this lodge, as we saw many nyala and warthogs wandering the grounds and calmly grazing. Our room was fantastic, with a comfortable bed, large bright bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers, a deck and plunge pool, and excellent and fully included mini-bar. The location is amazing with beautiful views and frequent breezes.

Food and staff: As stated above, the staff is outstanding at every level and could not have made us feel more comfortable. The food was also excellent at every meal. They even accommodated our dietary restrictions as if it was no inconvenience. Our only issue on this front was that we ate outside, over grass or sand and under trees every night, so there were always a lot of bugs crawling on the table, in the butter, etc. We realize that we were in Africa in the bush and that the staff went to a great deal of trouble to give us not only a beautiful but an authentic dining experience. That said, it was a bit difficult to enjoy the delicious food sitting in the dark with beetles and other bugs on the table. Because we kept thinking that the next night dinner would be in a less rustic setting, we didn't mention this concern in time for them to make special arrangements for us, which they no doubt would have done. We also realize that we might be more uncomfortable eating under these circumstances than others and mention it only so that future visitors will know to speak up if they are uncomfortable.

Overall, we had a wonderful experience and will look for &Beyond lodges for future visits to Africa. Thank you to everyone who gave us such a special experience! We would recommend Phinda Mountain Lodge to anyone.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank curlyjoeNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2013

Safari with family. A beautiful experience, amazing views and animals,. Top service at the lodge, very exclusive! All food and drinks were inclusive, which gives a nice touch of luxury. Superb ranger who put in the little extra effort to make the experiece extraorinary. The food was good and dinner settings were different every night. The lodges were spacious, well equipped and beautifully decorated. The game reserve is very well maintained, plenty of animals but not too grouded, only occasionally you see another jeep.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Maria A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2012

We stayed at Phinda Mountain lodge in November and since then we have been dreaming up reasons to go back! A family reunion, or an anniversary? It is expensive but SO worth the money we paid. I can't think of anything they could do for us that they did not do. The rooms were magnificent, the management extremely friendly and competent, the food was attractive and tasty and varied and generous, and our ranger was so well informed and generous with his time. The landscape is varied and the animals plentiful and the lodge is wonderfully appointed, with the loveliest mini bar I have ever seen! Bubbly even at breakfast! Sundowners out in the bush each evening, the plunge pools when you get back...

Room Tip: The rooms 1-9 and 25,26 are less nice as they look onto the walkway while the others are magnificent...
  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank SafariQueenNairobi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about andBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge

Address: Phinda Private Game Reserve, Phinda Private Game Reserve 3960, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Phinda Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Phinda Private Game Reserve
Price Range: $1,086 - $1,898 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
With wraparound views of the ancient Ubombo mountain range, Mountain Lodge balances itself majestically above its panoramic surroundings. The 24 suites scattered along the mountainside offer complete privacy and luxury. There's no end to the choice of taking in the view - spacious verandas with private plunge pools and layered guest areas each provide their own magnificent outlook. Delicious Pan African meals are enjoyed in the dramatic stone and reed boma, lit by the warm glow of dozens of candles and lanterns. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Phinda Mountain Hotel Phinda Private Game Reserve

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