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“Short but very sweet”

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andBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 12, 2013

We were there at the mountain lodge with a large group of cruise passengers for a all too brief one day. Oh and it rained the entire time we were there. Yet, they did it, they made me fall in love with Africa. The animals were breathtaking, the food outstanding and the staff extraordinary. The lodge and cottages were first rate even though we did not get a chance to have the whole experience. Above all was our ranger Edward and his tracker.... We had an elderly woman, wheelchair bound, and Edward lifted her in and out of the vehicle, made sure her poncho was on her and wrapped her up in blankets. He even went so far as to help her take pictures of the extraordinary things we were viewing. Way above and beyond!
I am saving up for my return, hopefully, next year. Thank you Phinda for the best of your world.

Stayed: April 2013
Thank Mary Ann J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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242 - 248 of 344 reviews

Reviewed April 19, 2013

We only stayed one night at Phinda (pronounced Pinda) Mountain Lodge, so I can't give a full report about it. We arrived, after driving from Phinda Forest Lodge, in time to settle into our room before going out for the afternoon game drive.

The room was very big, and the bathroom was huge, also. There is a deck with 2 lounge chairs, and a very deep plunge pool. It was so deep, we couldn't touch bottom, so we always sat on the steps when we went in. Our room was close to the main lodge (as we had requested), and seemed to always have nyalas and warthogs around during daylight hours. The room was very private, as no other rooms could be seen.

After a bit of lunch, we went on our game drive with the very knowledgeable drive Darryn, and the tracker Sifoso. Since the resort was not crowded (we never even saw any children), we were the only guests in our vehicle. We immediately saw a leopard, and then went on to see many other animals.

Much time was spent trying to find some lions near the airstrip, but we were ultimately unsuccessful. Having seen many lions before, this was not a bitter disappointment for us, and the process of trying to track them down was fascinating to observe. They even got out of the Land Rover and went in on foot, with a gun, a machete, and a stick for protection, to try and find them.

Later, we tried to catch up with some fast moving elephants, but it was getting dark, and we didn't see them before we moved on to observe a hyena and her 2 cubs at their den. Following this, we had dinner in the bush, with many lanterns to light the area, including the toilet.

The next day we were up at 5 for our morning game drive at 5:30. (Game drives start early in the African summer). This drive was more successful, as we found elephants (or more correctly, he found us), a black rhino, and in view at the same time, white rhino. We even discovered an African Rock Python. As always, Darryn was incredibly knowledgeable about what we were seeing and hearing.

We would go back to Mountain Lodge again, if we get a chance.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Hedo-goer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 17, 2013

Me and my girlfriend stayed with local friends over the weekend at Phinda Mountain Lodge. Service and food is great, staff is very friendly and helpful. The final breakfast in the bush was an unforgettable experience. We had great rangers who gave us a beautiful view on cheetah and hyena cubs! Very pleasant and luxury trip that makes your stay even more comfortable!
Don't forget to close your windows in your villa otherwise the baboons steal your fudge from the desk :)

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank isehuet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

We had never been on a safari holiday before and because it's expensive we did a lot of research. We ended up choosing Phinda and we're extremely pleased we did so as it would be hard to imagine having a better all-round experience. First of all the welcome was very friendly and professional with our greeter ready and waiting for us at the car drop-off point having been alerted by the main gate. A small thing maybe, but how few hotels get these basics right... Secondly our cabin was lovely and luxurious. Some may prefer one with more open views but we were more than happy with the seclusion afforded by the trees - we even used the inside/outside shower! Thirdly the dining area had a lovely view across the vlei with animals roaming both near and far, plus delicious food. Fourthly, (and we hadn't appreciated how important this would be) we had an excellent ranger, Devon Myers and tracker Nkisa, plus congenial company in the vehicle. We didn't go with a 'big five' shopping list and liked the informal style of the drives without vehicles scrumming around a sighting, but nonetheless we saw many different varieties of animals, birds, insects, trees and plants. Devon was very knowledgeable about all of these and we were especially impressed by his imitations of bird calls! Some may have a preference for a completely open space across which wildlife can roam, and one can respect that purist stance, but Phinda is a pretty good compromise with the perimeter roads and fences being relatively unobtrusive and containing vast acreages. Interesting to learn that Tara and Jessica Getty are major supporters of Phinda and maybe that accounts in part for the exceptional quality encountered everywhere. http://raisingtheroof.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/snapshot-private-safari-homes-in-south-africa/ We met a number of other guests who were clearly safari connoisseurs on repeat visits and that's some recommendation. Our travel agency Imagine Africa also deserve praise - they did a great job for us throughout our recent trip: http://www.imagineafrica.co.uk/

Room Tip: We stayed in a cabin amongst the trees at Phinda Forest Lodge and loved it, but another couple we me...
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Expatriotscot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2013

We were at the last minute convinced to spend a large part of our travel budget on a good (no, EXCELLENT) safari. "There is no point in spending less money on a bad safari". With that in mind, we were recommended Phinda Mountain Lodge (this particular lodge is recommended for families with kids)

The experience starts already at the gates, where you receive a personalized letter that you can read while making your way through the reserve in your way to the lodge.

The staff was extremely helpful, with special focus on making the kids (4&6) feel comfortable and happy. Thuba, an amazing child minder, took care of the kids while the adults were on long game drives (small kids not allowed to come along). Our kids do not speak English but that was not a problem for them or Thuba. Phinda Mountain Lodge has a well equipped kids play room with good activities.

The rangers are friendly and dedicated - and want to help you find the animals on your "list". We were very happy with our ranger, Ross.

We saw the Big 5 in just 2 game drives.

The only drawback was that after 3 game drives you quickly recognized the terrain and locations. The reserve is big, but you still generally drive in the same areas.

Room Tip: As the hotel is not fenced off from Mother Nature, you are required to have a guard get you / follow...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Willel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2013

From start to finish our entire experience at MountainLodge was incredible. The service, food, accommodation and game viewing were outstanding. The entire staff made our safari experience unforgettable and we will definitely be returning, they exceeded our expectations in every way. As mentioned in other reviews, this is the most family friendly and largest lodge in Phinda but they went out of there way to make our experience as tailored and private as possible.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Beek_Ag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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  • 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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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: $2,230 - $4,065 (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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