I and my wife along with some family members stayed at this property for 3 nights in September. We arrived late to Phinda from &Beyond's other property, the Ngala Safari lodge.
The manager who attended to us at the reception was a little stiff in the neck, probably we caught in a bad mood. Then we were shown to our rooms which are cottages arranged on a hill slope. The cottages themselves are very very beautiful. There are very well laid out with enough space between two cottages to respect your privacy. There's a plunge pool as well.
But with 40 of them I thought they are one too many for a safari lodge. One more important point is that they are on a steep hill slope so it will be difficult for a disabled or elderly person make to and fro trips from the reception.
The game drives were decent we could see two lionesses in hunting action from real close quarters. Next day we tracked down a female cheetah and her cubs which was absolutely fantastic. There were plenty of Elephants, Giraffe, Nyala and all other usual herd animals. We had Richard as our ranger for first two days who was good but not as great as Dyke, who was our ranger at Ngala. For the last day we had Jaques as our ranger as Richard was going on leave. Frankly he was very ordinary in his knowledge. Betheul, the tracker,on the other hand was exceptional.
As far as food is concerned it was pretty good, although nothing exceptional. Service was also decent but struggleed once the restaurant was full.
So over all it was a good experience with a few caveats.
1. It's a large hotel. Do not expect personalised service.
2. If the lodge is full (as it was when we were there) expect large noisy groups.
3. Game viewing is good but not exclusive. There will be plenty of vehicles (at least 3) about.
The essence of safari for a frequent visitor to the bush is exclusivity, ability to observe animals in peace as long as one wants to and personalised service. All of these are sadly lacking at Phinda mountain.
Another important point is that this lodge is in the southern part of the reserve and one can not visit northern beautiful areas (e.g. sand forest) simply because they are quite far.
Bottomline, nothing wrong with the lodge if you are visiting in a group. But choose smaller property if you want peace and quiet.
And a combination of 2 properties in Phinda, one in south and one in north is ideal to able to enjoy the park fully!
- 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
- Also Known As:
- Phinda Mountain Hotel Phinda Private Game Reserve