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We love it here. Phinda’s 70,000-acre wildlife reserve is home to such a magnificent tapestry of dappled woodland, grassland, wetland, dense forest, it’s no surprise that this bold multifariousness is beloved by Africa’s Big Five as well. To best enjoy its wonders, the team at &BEYOND and their renowned lodges will make you feel like royalty and (if you’re like us) leave you longing to arrive, to stay, to return, and to tell all your friends to do just the same. The &BEYOND name could scarcely be more apt—they really do go beyond all expectations so, when we combine these stunning accommodations with Micato’s attention to detail and bang-up service, your stay at any of Phinda’s luxuriously lovely lodges deep in the impressively game-rich protected land as KwaZulu-Natal could hardly be a wiser choice.
Phinda’s private game reserve is home to several magnificent lodges, each with its own charm, style, and designed in sympathy with its own distinct setting. Micato guests safari at both Phinda Mountain Lodge and Phinda Forest Lodge.
High above the lush Lebombo foothills, Phinda Mountain Lodge bestows a gracious welcome with 16 intelligently lavish suites, one spacious family suite, and six further handsome cottages (cleverly convertible into three adjoining family cottages as needed). Each is decorated in a contemporary elegant style—sweeping windows, large private decks, and a multitude of cossetting features such as an outdoor shower, amply-stocked bar and private plunge pool. The main area is fitted with every possible amenity and a multitude of family-friendly attractions, from a pizza oven where kids create their own dinner to the dedicated WILDChild programme. Candlelit al fresco dinners are served round a traditional stone and reed boma, the sparkling infinity pool follows the natural curves of the mountain, and state-of-the-art gym and spa treatments complete the relaxation picture in total splendour.
Africa’s last remaining dry sand forest offers a suitably exotic setting for Phinda Forest Lodge, one of the world’s first—and certainly amongst its premier—eco-luxury safari lodges. In 16 spectacular air-conditioned suites built in the style known as Zulu Zen, glittering walls of glass reveal vistas directly into the unique and mesmerising ecosystem alive with birds, wildlife and intoxicating forest sounds. Between game drives, in-room spa treatments, gym-in-a-basket sessions, and a sparkling rim-flow swimming pool provide as much activity as desired. In the main area, and a traditional African boma where, come evening, a canvas of stars and warm fire-glow light our festive feast.
At dawn, our forest comes alive with birdsong and, after fragrant coffee and tea delivered bedside, we set out for a prey-and-predator-rich game drive. In the cool of the late afternoon, the comfortable open-roof vehicle is ours once more, or perhaps we opt for a variety of further fascinating bush exploits—a specialist walking and tracking safari, sleep-out under the stars, an infrared night-eye drive, or even a hands-on conservation experience such as rhino notching or pangolin tagging. A short journey takes us to meet the Zulu villagers, tour the local Africa Foundation or, further afield for a glorious Maputaland beach trip or scuba safari. Back at our sumptuous home-from-home, there are mountain bikes, an archery range, a bush-panorama gym, and a lap pool and a beautiful spa for relaxing and pampering… or, in the shade of the timeless ebony tree, there’s always much dreaming to be done.