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“Sheer delight”

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andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
West Sussex
Level Contributor
29 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Sheer delight”
Reviewed February 18, 2011

Four night stay at Rock Lodge, this being our second visit. We have stayed at Vlei and Forest on previous occasions, which are distinct and charming in their own way, however, we preferred the intimacy and exclusivety of Rock.
Game viewing excellent and improving as more investment is brought in. Ranger, Ian, a very knowledgeable,accommodating and enthusiastic young man. Superb team at the lodge, with Jess at the helm. Andbeyond helpful and efficient throughout.
The standards are very high at most South African top-end game lodges, with prices to reflect that level of service.
If you are looking for a superb safari combined with first class service, then I would suggest that you will not be disappointed with any of the Phinda Lodges.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank RoryBoyyo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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116 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 6, 2011

We stayed at Phinda for a week over the New Year holiday 09/10. 3 nights at Vlei Lodge in the north of the reserve, followed by 3 nights at Rock Lodge in the south. This was our first Safari holiday. Over all a great Reserve, where we saw a huge array of animals and had an incredible experience.

Rock Lodge has 6 rooms and felt quiet and intimate. The communal areas were nicely decorated with a relaxed feel, but the indoor sitting room and out door decking area both felt small.

Our room No.4 was huge and felt quite Mexican, there was A/C but no mosquito nets and the windows did not shut properly. There was a large bath and indoor and outdoor showers! The mini bar was well stocked. It felt very private but maybe too private as all the surrounding trees prevented us from having any view of the mountains and forest. The small private plunge pool was unfortunately too cold!

The wine was fab and flowed. The platters of fruits, cheeses, yoghurt, cereal plus cooked eggs, bacon and sausage was more than enough for breakfast. As were the salads etc for lunch. But, dinner each night at Rock was a huge disappointment. The vegetables were undercooked and the meat overcooked. This was huge a contrast to the great food we had at Vlei Lodge the previous nights.

The staff at the lodge were enthusiastic and apologetic. But again we were disappointed with our Ranger, Lucky. He was not as forthcoming with information or answers on our drives as Kyle from Vlei.

No TV, Internet and phone reception was a welcome change.

We had a good trip to Phinda, however it was expensive! I would recommended Vlei Lodge but not Rock Lodge, it did not live up to expectation.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank 9x10y11z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban, South Africa
1 review
Reviewed November 14, 2009

Second trip to Rock Lodge, just as good. The service is outstanding and although the chalets may be older than the other camps, (renovation planned for early next year I believe), they are still lovely. The staff can't do enough to help. Only problem is the food never stops.............if you can cope with that, you'll love it!

Game drives are awesome and the rangers I've had on both stays at Phinda have been excellent. They know their game and birds especially. No shortage of game. River cruise was relaxing and interesting for bird lovers. Great sightings.

Would visit again in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank saudisarah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
145 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 140 helpful votes
Reviewed November 2, 2009

I absolutely LOVED the Rock Lodge! We spent 4 nights there, and loved every minute of our time. The staff was extremely friendly and helpful, smiling all the time -- you can tell that they really love working there! S'bu and Leonard were our guide and tracker, and made sure that we saw everything! The Lodge was extremely comfortable, and had every amenity! Our casita was huge - we had a sitting area, foyer, dressing area, giant bathroom with a tub-a shower-and an outdoor shower, and a small infinity pool on our balcony...all with views overlooking the valley. The game drives were superb, and quite comfortable in the Land Cruiser. I would DEFINITELY stay here and do this trip all over again! It was about 3.5 hours drive from Durban, but they also have a private airstrip in case you charter a small plane.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank travelingtexan23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durban
Level Contributor
55 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed October 15, 2009

My boyfriend and I had a wonderful 2 nights at Phinda Rock Lodge. We had previously stayed at Phinda Zuka last year and were looking forward to another bush experience.

Our host, Richard, did explain on arrival that Rock Lodge is the last of all the lodges to be upgraded, which is due to happen early next year. Although some of the decor is a little dated, it isn't shabby and didn't affect our experience of luxury. Our room was spacious and airy, with lovely views.
One thing I found odd was the toilet, which was sort of open to the world, and I could hear people chatting on the balcony upstairs quite clearly whilst on the loo. Made me wonder what they could hear… :)
Our bed was very comfortable during afternoon nap time, but for some reason we battled to settle down at night. Can't place my finger on exactly what was the problem, but I think there may have been an issue with the air circulation in the room so it was stuffy. This probably would have been rectified by using the air-con, but we preferred not to.

Meals were so plentiful and fresh and delicious. I especially loved lunch, a platter of yummy salads to share with your partner. Sooo good. In fact, after the first night I felt quite ill from all the overindulging, I'm definitely not used to being so well fed and having a drink with every meal, but it was a treat.

This experience for me was the ultimate in luxury. Everything is taken care of and the most difficult decision you'll be faced with is white wine or red?

Game drives were very enjoyable, although Spring is the rainy season, so we did spend most of our game drives in the rain, with ponchos on. We survived, but it wasn't ideal. That didn't stop us from seeing sub-adult lions playing right next to our vehicle.

The lodge only has 6 'cottages' and so it is small and intimate, and a very relaxing and luxurious way to spend a weekend. What a treat.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank noodle12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bournemouth, UK
Level Contributor
12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed June 28, 2009

We stayed in Phinda for 4 nights - we were due to be at Vlei Lodge throughout but they had unexpected construction going on, which was very noisy, so at our request they moved us to Rock Lodge after the first night. Our guide, Sibu, was fantastic and really focussed on what we wanted to do and look for on our game drives. We had fantastic sightings of cheetah, lion, rhino (white and black), and many zebra, giraffes, antelopes etc.
Rock Lodge is unusual - it is built into the mountains, is rustic and has a Tuscan feel to its decor. The rooms are large and self-contained, with plunge pool. The catering was good and we were fed far too much! The vegetarian cooking could be better though. The service was not quite so attentive as Vlei Lodge, but Andy , the Vlei manager is exceptional. Go to Phinda, you won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Julieanna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town
Level Contributor
48 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
Reviewed May 15, 2009

having been to the top safari lodges and knowing the reputation of the owning company now called &Beyond, we were more than disappointed immediately we arrived. We had stayed at sister lodge Ngala which was stupenous. The public areas were claustrophobic and run down and did not boast that open luxury feeling that was promised and expected. We actually left without even looking at the rooms, not wanting to spend an expensive few days in that atmosphere.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
3 Thank Yendys
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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