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andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 20, 2013 via mobile

Phinda is my favourite game reserve in South Africa. The game viewing at this reserve is some of the best I have ever experienced and I have been to quite a few. I love Forest Lodge, it offers excellent guest rooms, great public areas over looking the water hole and the staff are extremely helpful and friendly. I completely recommend Phinda to anyone travelling to this area and all the properties are lovely, although Mountain Lodge and Vlei Lodge are my favourites of them all. I assure you if you visit you won't be disappointed

  • Stayed: September 2013
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Thank Neenals
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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253 - 259 of 394 reviews

Reviewed September 17, 2013

We stayed at Phinda for three nights and had the most incredible experience. We were on our way back to the lodge after our last drive of the day when we came across two young male lions stalking a herd of wildebeest. This alone was fascinating to watch as they were taking it in turns to silently creep closer and closer to the herd. At this point in the day the light was dropping quite quickly. Then all of a sudden and without a sound from the lions we heard the cry of a wildebeest - the lions had managed to attack one. We managed to catch up with them and as night fell and the stars came out we watched the lions enjoy their christmas dinner. It is not a sight for the faint-hearted but it was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget!
On all our game drives we saw a plethora of animals, the only one not ticked off was the elusive Leopard. Our guide Matt and tracker were excellent (I recommend asking for Matt if available) and seriously knew their stuff about all aspects of the reserve, not only the animals. The lodge itself was beautiful with excellent food, I especially enjoyed the breakfasts after returning from the first game drive, and such helpful staff. There is also a lovely infinity pool to enjoy in between game drives. I would love to go back!!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Brooks-Kenny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2013

Our arrival at the lodge was a disappointing as Eunice whom waited for us at arrival wasn’t friendly at all. It felt like we were just another number on arrival, and we weren’t explained what the times of everything is. After check-in we were taking through to the dining area, as our room wasn’t ready, and Eunice confirmed she’ll fetch us when the room is ready – all with no smiles. This was not a good arrival to our stay at Phinda Forest Lodge. We got a bit irritated and hoped that this wasn’t the trend of our stay at Phinda Forest Lodge.

We were shown to our room with no smiles again. The suites itself in the sand forest are absolutely exquisite. I've stayed at Forest lodge about 19 years prior this, and remember the glass boxes in the forest, and it lived up to my memories. We absolutely loved the glass walls and the fact that we can sleep with everything open and wake-up with the forest around you.

Upon our arrival for afternoon tea prior to the game drive everything changed. The manager on duty came and introduced herself and talked with us and our ranger arrived, and was also extremely friendly, and it happened to be that we got our own land rover and ranger for the afternoon drive which we loved. We saw the reserve and sand forest and told the ranger that we’d just like to see the reserve, and in the end we saw buffalo, elephants, rhino and lion – 4 out of the big 5!!

Back at the lodge dinner was set up in the boma, and was absolutely beautiful. We were yet again greeted with smiles and offered bubbly and chatted to the staff. The food itself was also good, as we have had previous boma dinners and have not been impressed with the food. But this dinner was delicious and the oxtail stew, duck legs and vegetarian tagine was really delicious.

In the room the turn-down was beautiful with candles everywhere, the bath drawn with champagne next to the bath (my husband’s 40th was the previous day) and this was really a special touch! During the night we heard hyenas call in the forest and waking up in the forest was really truly special.

After the bumpy start on arrival, the rest of our stay at Phinda Forest Lodge was really memorable and wonderful. We did feel that the lodge was a bit too big for us (as in number of rooms) but I will definitely recommend Phinda Forest Lodge to everyone.

Room Tip: We had room number 11 - the furthest from the lodge, but was also the most private
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank mitxcoac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 4, 2013

We spent 4 days here in early August, following on from 4 days at Kirkman's Kamp in Sabi Sand. Have to admit that wildlife viewing was rather more laid back than KK, but in the end we only missed out on Leopard but having seen 9 at Kirkman's that didn't matter. This was compensated by some brilliant views of Cheetah interaction, some really good forest and water birds, and a good selection of other wildlife. Devon Myers was our guide (I recommend asking for Devon if he is available) and he was simply so knowledgeable about all aspects of the reserve that we learnt so much. He was also happy to take us pretty much where we wanted, for the last two days we (me, wife, son 16 and daughter 13) had him and Ngsika to ourselves. Highlight was tracking White Rhino on foot, an exciting way to get a different feel of the bush, very different from being in the relative safety of a vehicle. Lodge itself was good, food excellent as you would expect, rooms with their glass walls are something special, and the staff looked after us well.

Room Tip: All rooms are spaced well apart, separated from each other by trees for privacy. If you can't wa...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank DavidManns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 3, 2013

Game viewing is the most important element to me, so I'll deal with that first. To cut to the chase: Phinda has a noticeably lower density of animals than what I've seen in Sabi Sands (Greater Krueger), Klasserie, or Chobe in Botswana (maybe even an order of magnitude lower) BUT Phinda has two aces (maybe three) up its sleeve: Cheetah, Black Rhinoceros, and perhaps less exciting, also the Red Duicker. Very unlikely (or impossible) to see these at the other places I mentioned, but saw all three at Phinda (with multiple sightings of Cheetah and Red Duicker). And even though the density is lower, we did see the entire big five over three days. There is also a nice variety of habitats and scenery over the Phinda property. So in terms of animals, my view is that if I were to have only one safari experience, I would choose Sabi Sands. Phinda is great as an additional stop. Rangers were excellent, and we learned something about how they track and narrow down the location of certain animals. They only filled half of the seats in the Land Cruiser, which was nice, but since the place is pretty pricey I guess one should expect it to be more like private, as opposed to public, school. In terms of accomodation and service, Phinda Forest was excellent. Very nice quarters, large windows -- saw many Nyala and Duicker right outside the room -- I mean, it was really nice. Food was also very high quality - perhaps I had one disappointing choice off the lunch menu, but why should I have expected a good version of pasta all'Amatriciana here? In general, food was very good. Definitely a special experience.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank travelerBobDc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2013

I was in Durban for business Mon-Fri, so I decided to take the weekend to go on my first safari. After much research and several suggestions from friends and co-workers, I decided to contact Phinda andBeyond. I'm so glad I did. My entire experience was top-notch, from beginning to end. First, Alison de Bruyn, the travel agent, was absolutely delightful and most useful. She made all the arrangements, including transport to and from Phinda, helped me decide which lodge to stay at (I was traveling alone) and even gave me several great suggestions for things to do while in Durban on business. I was picked up at my Durban hotel on Friday morning and driven to Phinda (roughly 4 hrs) with snacks and drinks offered in the car. Two very pleasant staff members greeted me at the lodge, again with a cold beverage. Nikki walked me to "my room" while explaining several aspects of the accommodations and other logistics. I say "my room" because the space was bigger than my apartment in Boston. The room is secluded, under the forest trees and away from people. The walls are mostly glass, so you get the feeling that you're truly in the forest. It gets spooky at night, but you can draw the curtains and feel there are concrete walls around you. There's AC, a ceiling fan and a wonderful electric mattress pad to keep you warm. The forest lodge has a nice pool and a wonderful common area with a lounge, bar food service and a marvelous deck overlooking a clearing in the forest. There are monkeys and nyala hanging around most of the time. The food is absolutely delicious, and you'd better be hungry for this trip. They feed you three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) with tea/coffee breaks in between -- all under the direction of master chef Sam. Our ranger, Stuart was great, and his tracker partner, Mr. T, was amazing at his job. Under their direction, we were able to find the big five and more. The animal sightings were terrific, and I felt safe all the time. This was an all-around great experience that I'd highly recommend to everyone, especially couples who want to spend some quality time together.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank Jordanjc21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2013

We arrived at Phinda Forest lodge by 4X4 vehicle and greeted with a friendly smile on arrival for a two day stay. Set in and amongst the trees this lodge gives you an immediate sense of tranquility. The food from breakfast through lunch and dinner was outstanding as were the staff. They take you out on two game drives a day. One in the morning and one in the evening. We got to see the BIG 5 and an amazing sighting of two leopards.The game rangers were always so helpful.

Room Tip: All the rooms are the same inside but if you want to be away from the dining area ask for room 12,13...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank SteveLely
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge

Address: Kwazulu-Natal, Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Phinda Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Phinda Private Game Reserve
Price Range: $275 - $1,133 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 16
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set deep in the heart of a rare and beautiful dry sand forest, the award-winning Forest Lodge fuses architecture and conservation. The lodge was hand built by local artisans, with a minimal footprint on the forest floor – not one tree was felled during construction. An exquisite contradiction, floor-to-ceiling glass walls invite the forest inside, while the dense tree canopy shelters and provides privacy. Floating on stilts above the forest floor while dainty suni graze below, the 16 Zulu Zen suites blend harmoniously into the dappled shade. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Phinda Forest Hotel Phinda Private Game Reserve

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