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“An Experience for the Ages”

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andBeyond Phinda Vlei Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 11, 2012

We had a phenomenal experience at Phinda Vlei. We saw all of the Big 5, had numerous opportunities to capture photos, and had several encounters with wildlife back at the lodge. Our guide (Marc) and tracker (Chris) were a pleasure to be around. They did an excellent job tracking the animals and adding variety to our experience. The food was abundant and excellent, expect to put on a few pounds while you're there. Some people may not like the "game reserve" approach, but for my first safari it was great. The reserve is plenty large enough that it still feels like you are out in the open, and we still had to track / search to find the animals on any given day. The massages were ok but not great, but other than that, we had an excellent trip and I would highly recommend.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank Joseph O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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177 - 183 of 222 reviews

Reviewed November 15, 2011

There are pros and cons to Phinda being a game reserve. The property is fenced and the animal populations are controlled, which can sometimes lead to the reserve feeling a bit like a safari park. It is not wild, unpredictable or remote-feeling at Phinda, but it is calm and comfortable. The staff is professional and knows where and how to locate the game, even in more difficult weather/terrain. If you've ever been to a park and spent hours looking for animals, you will appreciate Phinda's possibilities. Too, it is not crowded, so sightings are not stressful and one can go for hours without seeing another car.

As to accomodation, the cabins are very nice, with glass doors overlooking plunge pool and plain where wart hogs and nyala are your neighbors. The main lodge is not large, but nicely appointed and the staff is genuinely nice and seems happy. The food is good and the general safari extras, like sundowners, etc, are nicely handled.

All in all, Phinda Vlei does a very nice job.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank CB172
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2011

The day before we arrived at Vlei Lodge a herd of 38 elephants had been drinking from the plunge pool outside our bedroom; they didn't return, but we looked out on other wildlife from our romantic suite and later had a dramatic sighting of the eles bursting through the bush to drink. Loved all the people who took such good care of us here: ranger Dumi and tracker Mr T especially. The food was outstanding, in particular breakfast and afternoon tea. Manager Natalie was charming and did all she could to please her guests. The drives were spectacular: we sat on the edge of a lion hunt, followed black rhino and baby, fell in love with cheetah cubs. Could not have had a better time.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank mslizSanFrancisco_CA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2011

Just returned from a 17 day holiday in Kwa Zulu Natal and can honestly say that Phinda Vlei was fantastic. The staff were great and nothing was too much trouble. Natalie made us most welcome and our ranger Martin was both knowledgeable but also a real comedian.Accommodation in the beautifully appointed lodges is excellent and most important of all we saw lots and lots of game at Phinda - even cheetah at a kill. On the last night Natalie arranged a special dinner for us on our verandah to celebrate my imminent retirement - a real treat. Cannot fault Phinda Vlei !!!

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank philby101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 25, 2011

My stay at the Phinda Vlei lodge was marvellous.From the time I stepped off the plane to the time I arrived in Durban on my way home it was just wonderful. The staff were great, nothing was ever any trouble. The game drives were fun and the animals one saw were magnificent. Well worth every penny, would definitely recommend it. Would love to return. &Beyond should be congratulated.

  • Stayed: September 2011
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Thank Beatrixjill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2011

We spent a short 2 nights at Phinda Vlei lodge after having been to other &beyond lodges. This lodge is intimate, 6 chalets that are very private and very luxurious with your own rim flow pool. The staff at this camp led by Natalie are amazing, always smiling and "on guard" to chase Vervet monkeys away from your breakfast. Our guide Martin is highly knowledgable and hilariously entertaining, if not on the verge of cheeky towards his fellow guides - anyone with a sense of humour will love him. We saw all of the big 5 in our two days including 2 Leopards and a Cheetah family having their Impala breakfast.
We were suprised with a private candlelit dinner on our patio on the last evening, lovely unfortunately the bathtub plug leaked and our bubble bath was reduced to bubbles - this is the bush afterall.
This lodge is perfect for those seeking a quiet piece of luxury, it isnt cheap but well worth it on the odd occasion.

Room Tip: We stayed in #6 but have heard that #2 is the best
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ZAcouple_in_Atlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 25, 2011

I have stayed at Phinda on several occasions. On my last visit I was disappointed with the overall quality of experience we received. The food was average and and the service was lackluster. There was no strong or charismatic management and you got the feeling everyone was just going through the motions. The accommodation is still wonderful and it is a great reserve,but I think they can pull their socks up a bit to get to where they should be!

  • Stayed: July 2011
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3  Thank luxadmirer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about andBeyond Phinda Vlei 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 Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Phinda Private Game Reserve
Price Range: $302 - $408 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
AndBeyond Phinda Vlei Lodge is the ultimate, romantic and totally private safari getaway. Its location amongst the trees on the edge of an open grassland offers fantastic game viewing, with each suite carefully positioned for a prime view of the animals coming out to drink. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Phinda Vlei Hotel Phinda Private Game Reserve

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