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“Wonderful attention to detail”

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andBeyond Phinda Vlei Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 October 2017

We spent three nights here - that means six game drives and some excellent meals. We were greeted by Kathryn who said she was off on leave that evening, so from then on we were looked after by her relief manager, Saskia, who was absolutely delightful at all times. This was our third 5* safari and the lodge was by far the best we have staid in. It is approached by a sandy path - if there is lion activity nearby you are escorted. The lodge contains everything you could possibly want, all included. We were in no 5 where elephants are known to drink but they didn't while we were there. A family of warthogs did though and both Nyala and Impala with giraffe walking past too. All excellent stuff.

Our ranger was Matt Vardey with his tracker Jabs. Three of the drives were exceptional with superb sightings of rhino, elephants, zebra, giraffe and especially lion - 19 in two days I think it was. The other drives, one in the rain, were less remarkable but it was no fault of the team if the animals were winning the game of hide and seek. It is exciting, varied terrain and we were amazed by Matt's skill doing all he could to find wildlife for us.

This lodge is not cheap but excellent value for money.. There is an additional charge for The Zulu Village Experience but that is certainly worth it to get to know more of the culture and lifestyle of these remarkable people.

Stayed: October 2017
Thank Annabelle H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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5 - 9 of 225 reviews

Reviewed 17 October 2017

Phinda is a great place for the first time safari traveler or for more seasoned visitors, offering excellent game viewing and birding. The reserve territory is large and diverse so there is good variety of species and never any crowds at sightings. The guide/tracker team really listens to your interests and they will do everything they can to deliver. Sometimes a couple of teams cooperate to track something of particular interest, either in the vehicles or on foot (guests stay safely in vehicles). The excitement is real when the animals are finally located.
It's a small lodge in terms of number of rooms which allows every guest to feel individually welcomed and catered to. Rooms are spacious and airy with good air conditioning that keeps them comfortable even on the hottest days. You can also cool off in your plunge pool though, if you're lucky, you may be host to visiting nyala, elephants or baboons. The lodge even provides a tote bag to take stuff onto the vehicle when you go out for a drive. It is the really thoughtful touch like that that gives you a sense of how well cared for guests are.
Food is delicious and plentiful, also offering some lighter options if you’ve already overindulged. It’s nearly impossible not to overindulge since Chef Happiness lives up to her name. The day may end with a glimpse of a lovely, delicate genet strolling on the dining deck.
AndBeyond has a very active conservation program, including strong support for
Rhinos Without Borders, so you can feel especially good that your visit contributes to the care of wildlife and communities.

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled solo
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Thank SATravellerMaryland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 October 2017

We recently returned from our first Africa experience. We had planned this to be a great trip, picking nice places, figuring it was a once in a lifetime trip. No more - now we have to go back! Places like Phinda Vlei have us thinking of round 2.

The Lodge is on the edge of a sandy plain, with private villas on the wings. Our villa was beautiful and very comfortable, with private deck and pool. Initially, the view doesn't seen striking, until you realize that you're sitting on an animal highway. Elephants, baboons, monkeys and impala flock by your deck. We were in villa 4 - the pool at villa 6 had been drained by thirsty elephants!

The lodge is lovely and the service and food are first rate. We blew our diets, but it was worth it. On our last night, they set us up for a private dinner in our villa for our anniversary. All lit by candles and lanterns.

The game drives were first rate. All vehicles seat 6 in three rows so no one sits in the middle. Our ranger and tracker were fantastic. We searched for and found a mother cheetah and her cubs and watched them hunt and feed two different times. We heard there was a rare black rhino in the area, so I asked if we could see it, and they did an amazing job. The tracker (Daniel) got off the vehicle and disappeared into the brush for an hour, directing us so that we could intercept the rhino and get pictures. Fantastic!

We were very pleased with the whole experience - would highly recommend.

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jim S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 October 2017

This was our second visit to Phinda Vlei. The first was in 2012 and the memory was so very positive, that we had to come back - and bring a group (of 11) with us.

Vlei (pronounced "flay" in english) has only 6 rooms and they are more like a mini house. Each one has a plunge pool and it's not uncommon to see Elephants drinking from your pool (as we did!).

Phinda is a very special place with a lot of diversity of land - and animals. Thanks to its coastal rainfall pattern, &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve enjoys a lush green environment that contains seven distinct ecosystems. Phinda is often referred to as "Seven Worlds of Wonder." This fascinating variety of landscape and vegetation shelters an abundance of wildlife, including not only the Big Five but many rarer and less easily spotted species, such as the elusive cheetah or the scarce black rhino.

The game drives were packed with lots of cats (lions and cheetah) plus elephants and extraordinary birds and black rhino!

The staff is outstanding and the food, cooked with much love from Miss Happiness, is excellent.

If you can afford it, I highly suggest you book the Phinda Elephant Collaring experience which is a unique opportunity to participate in &Beyond Phinda’s elephant conservation project where you witness an elephant capture and darting and assist in the changing of the sleeping pachyderm’s radio collar. It is a spiritual experience for sure!

We booked a specialist guide through &Beyond and he was one of the highlights of the trip. His deep knowledge of Phinda (having lived there for many years) was extensive and his biology/zoology knowledge a value-add for our group.

Once again, &Beyond delivers and our guests counted Phinda Private Game Reserve among the top 3 highlights of our 3 week trip.

Pics and video on Instagram at african_wildlife_enthusiast.

Room Tip: Request room 6 (at the end) for most privacy and chance of elephants drinking from your pool.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled as a couple
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Thank CathrynG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 September 2017

Very secluded, excellent game drives, lots of personal service. This was our first stop on a three stop tour organized by &Beyond. Outstanding in every way. I would use them again, and I would stay here again. Very different that the game lodges around Kruger. Well worth a trip.

  • Stayed: September 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank Steve S
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
Region: 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 7 Speciality Lodging in Phinda Private Game Reserve
Price Range: $404 - $576 (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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