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“A very special place”

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andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level 4 Contributor
18 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“A very special place”
Reviewed January 2, 2013

We spent 3 nights at Rock Lodge and 2 nights at Vlei Lodge, and also got to see Forest Lodge... and out of them all, Rock Lodge was my favourite. The rooms managed to combine spaciousness and luxury with a sense of cosiness and feeling close to nature. I loved the outdoor shower, and the bath that overlooked the bush setting where I could watch nyala's graze. I also adored the outdoor plunge pool where we had an elephant come to drink!

The meals were magnificent, especially those we ate outside on the deck. It was pure luxury, you didn't even have the hassle of choice for breakfast and lunch, they just brought a platter to the table piled high with food -- around 8-10 different dishes. Everything we tried was superb and the only shame is that we couldn't fit it all in!

The safari drives were incredible also and, I guess because of the layout of this side of the park, we seldom saw a fence (unlike on the rides from Vlei). The time we stayed the lodge was not full and so on several drives we had the jeep to ourselves. We saw so many animals and the guide and tracker were both very knowledgeable and friendly. They went out of their way to make it special with some lovely surprising touches, which I won't describe here because part of the joy of them was the surprise. Suffice to say, I had high expectations of Phinda and the experience exceeded them. If you have the chance to go to Phinda, go... and spend at least a few nights at Rock Lodge. It's worth every penny.

Room Tip: Room 5 was furthest away and apparently the one that animals are most likely to visit the pool to dr...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank lynettefromlondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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117 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
St. John, Virgin Islands
Level 6 Contributor
136 reviews
87 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 111 helpful votes
Reviewed November 12, 2012

We flew in from Richards Bay to Phinda Forest Lodge, with 17 cottages....very very nice, but have heard that the smaller Vlei Lodge is even better. Loved Rock Lodge...only 6 rooms, very private & very cozy with fireplaces & luxury all the way around. Games drives twice a day, champagne surprises in the afternoons, outdoor breakfasts on safari, candelight everywhere.
Staff & guides are first class!!!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank sstj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warrnambool
Level 6 Contributor
199 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
Reviewed November 2, 2012

We travelled in a small group of 12 and had the lodge to ourselves. Rock Lodge is called the Flintstones because of the accommodation lodges style but make no mistake,the accommodation is some of the best you will experience. Fantastic vistas from the outdoor dining area. Rooms have complimentary mini-bar, Leather chairs with binoculars and a decanter of sherry to sip while looking for animals, beautifully comfortable king bed, free standing bath, indoor and outdoor showers (outdoor only for those lodges with total privacy from others),plunge pool ( water was a bit cold), day bed, cantilever umbrella over plunge pool if needed. The lodge even supplies a gym equipment bag for you to do some mini-workouts ( we didn't get to use it).Your room key is a piece of wood that slips between to loops on the door. In the evenings a guard must escort you to/from rooms after dark.

Meals were divine and you are offered so much food - all top quality I think our cook was Lindymay. Nick was a very good host . Callie and Richard were great rangers as were our guides.

I just can't explain how good our experience was - game drives were excellent. Enjoyed our evening 'sundowners' and the rangers/guides did all they could to find the animals we wanted to see. The game drives are well controlled in terms of access to animals and mostly, the animals just do what they do without any thought to the vehicles or people. The welfare of the animal is utmost in the rangers' minds.

We all got hooked on Amarula (like Baileys). Breakfast out in a 'hide' was terrific and different experience. The Amarula was either served on the rocks, in coffee, in hot chocolate, whatever.

Phinda Rock Lodge is a totally amazing experience - like sitting in your game drive vehicle, watching a male lion walk past on the road into the lodge,- just how good is that. The accommodation, game drives, food (and drinks) absolutely first class. We went to Vlei Lodge for a few days after so checkout my review on that experience also.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank greatscott24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
97 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
Reviewed October 6, 2012

Phinda Rock Lodge was an exceptional place with a wonderful mountain view. My wife and I spent 3 nights at the Rock and 3 nights at the Vlei. Although our stay at he Rock was exceptional as was the food, staff and accommodations, we preferred the Vlei because of its atmosphere and open panoramic views. Both locations are entitled to a 5 star review, however. We chose the Rock and Vlei as they are limited to 6 suites. We were assigned Lucky as a guide, and he put us on lions and cheetahs within hours of our arrival. I highly recommend the combination of the Rock and Vlei if you are looking for quiet and romantic destination.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Scott805
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
142 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed August 12, 2012

You look at pictures, try to imagine, dream about it for a while, make the decision to go ... and finally you experience... luxurious lodge, your private patio with private pool, shower overlooking the landscape, candle light bathtub ..two safaris per day... refreshing juice waiting for you and served to you after the morning one, or an alcoholic cocktail after the second one ... picknic at dusk in the prairie, daily discussion with the chef about your culinary preferences , dinner by roaring fire (winter time), amazing animals tracking experiences, sunset on the river boat cruise, tanning while nyalas look for food around your lodge, amazing beds and bedding they even have electric beds and the staff turns it on when arranging the room for sleep time right before you come back from your afternoon safari (3 to 6 or 7 pm ).

I booked a 4 nights paid for 3 kind of deal , I had to skip many meals as it was simply too much, the staff was worried that I am not happy and it took some convincing that everything is fine :).
If you go during winter time make sure you have enough layers as in the morning 6.30 or night after 5.30 pm it can get pretty cold in the safari cars. I was wearing 4 layers, and used two blankets (provided in the car).

My only regret is that one of the extra excursions to the Indian ocean beaches was not offered. I could not quite understand the reason as when I visited the Mountain Lodge two days later I saw it in the list of extras offered. I asked the staff and they could not give me a clear explanation either .

Another extra I took is the trip to the rescue centre. I had quite high expectations based on what I have read and heard that there will be more big cats, the only interesting experience for me there was petting a cheetah. i was hoping I can get the same kind of experience with lions (a few of my friends did at different rescue centres). On hindsight I could have probably skipped this one.

One day I did the tour of some other lodges, if I do go back I would like to experience Vlei lodge . Rock Lodge architecture is wood and walls, medieval look, Vlei is very different ..window walls and you can see at all times what is happening around your private lodge. One of the couples I have met stayed two nights at Rock and two nights at Rock, if I return I will do the same ..oh i will make sure I was warmer clothes. I will also make sure I have enough memory cards(one extra 16G was not enough to the amount of pictures an small videos that can be taken) and space on the HDD.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Loana2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antwerp, Belgium
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed August 7, 2012

We stayed at the Phinda Rock Lodge for 4 nights (booked 4 and paid for 3). The service was beyond anything you can imagine. You are looked after in a very friendly way from arrival till departure. The 6 suites are very large, estimate 20 m long, divided in a sitting room, bedroom, 2 bathrooms, one with bath and one with shower, and a very large terrace with plunging pool, accessable from all rooms. .
We went on safari morning and late afternoon with very experienced ranger and tracker. When we stopped we were offered self made cookies and drinks. During the late drive we stopped for "sundowners". This is always a great moment. Seeing the sun setting after the trees with a gin&tonic in your hands.
Food was served on a small terrace, overlooking the valley and was always very tasty and plenty. It is quite expensive, but it was worth it

Room Tip: all 6 rooms are the same
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Lucienne V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 11, 2012

We stayed at Phinda Rock Lodge for 3 nights in July.

This was the first time at a game park for my wife & I, so we didn't really know what to expect.

We were met on arrival by the staff & offered cool towels & drinks. This level of service was maintained right throughout our time there, right down to the hot water bottles and blankets for the morning game drives.

Our accommodation was fantastic, and it seemed like every time we turned around the room had been made up.

The staff were all very friendly, and the ranger we had particularly insightful.

The food was lovely and more than ample.

I would be more than happy to recommend Phinda to any friends or family who were looking for a similar experience.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SteveCornell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge

Property: andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge
Address: Phinda Private Game Reserve, 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 #4 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Phinda Private Game Reserve
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
AndBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge looks out over its own lush valley, like a small private castle amidst a tangle of wild African sights and sounds. The suites of this intimate and romantic lodge cling dramatically to steep cliffs with views across the valley. ... more   less 

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