- Range of activities
- Glass fronted accommodation
- Black Rhino
The ‘&Beyond’ Phinda Forest Lodge is located in the Phinda Private Game Reserve in the Maputaland region of KwaZulu-Natal. One of three ‘&Beyond’ properties in the area, this contemporary lodge has lots to offer in its unusual location and its luxurious feel makes it ideal for couples and families alike.
The modern eco-designed lodge has beautiful communal areas including a rim flow swimming pool and multiple large decks with views over the plains. Dining is done Al Fresco with meals taken on the open air deck or around the outdoor boma. A fantastic range of wildlife can be seen on the twice daily game drives with common viewings of cheetahs and the rare black rhino. Guide led walking safaris are also offered with the chance to track black rhino on foot. The Phinda Game Reserve covers a range of habitats from mountain forests to coastal dunes and consequently an unusually wide range of other activities are available including river cruises, motorboat and canoe safaris, diving and snorkelling, plus whale watching and swimming with whale sharks ( all at an additional cost).
The accommodation is raised on stilts above the sandy forest floor in the heart of the rare Dry Sand Forest. Comprised of 16 glass fronted rooms, each suite is bright and airy and provides for luxurious living. Floor to ceiling glass gives 360 degree views of the forest whilst towering trees ensure seclusion and privacy. Each large air conditioned room includes free standing baths, large showers and slate basins and your own private verandahs. Unfortunately for families, family rooms are not available and therefore more than one room would have to be taken.
Children are welcome at Phinda Forest, however 12 is the minimum age for participating in game drives. Children between 6 and 12 are permitted at the manager’s discretion so sensible, well behaved children should not have a problem. As with all ‘and beyond’ facilities, a ‘Wild Child’ program is run providing fun, interactive activities for children of all ages. Child minders are also available making the experience a family friendly choice although the accommodation could be a disadvantage. Phinda Mountain lodge could be a preferred alternative.
Thanks for organising an excellent holiday for us. It's my first time using Tourdust and I've been really impressed and will certainly be recommending you to friends and family. You provided an excellent level of service all the way through, and the bespoke nature of the trip was fantastic whilst being really good value for money.
- Le Kasbah de Toubkal blew us away - one not to miss!
- The trek was amazing and my kids loved it. The camping was really fun, the food was excellent, and I'd particularly call out our guide Rashid who was fantastic show especially with my kids.
- Riad Adore was outstanding - far exceeding my expectations - it was beautiful and we were very well looked after
- Le Doux Tour was luxurious and a nice relaxing way to end the holiday.
- Logistics were great and our main driver Mustapha was brilliant
If there was one build / thing I would change, it's a very small one but some candles / lanterns to use in the evening whilst camping would have made it easier to stay outside for a bit longer.
Mark Dilley reviewing Boutique Marrakech & Atlas Mountains on 07 June 2016
Truly another world. The sky was enormous and the summits snow covered. Blue irises, wild herbs and fruit trees flowered on the slopes. Even as I toiled up the dry river bed I gazed in admiration.
Without exception, everyone was courteous and welcoming. Food was good ( and far too plentiful); accommodation clean. Above all-everything worked! A pick-up was promised for 9.00am. At 8.55 the doorbell rang. Impeccable.
No praise is too high for the organisation and staff. I am definitely going back.
Terence Humphreys reviewing Classic Atlas Valleys & Villages Trek on 16 May 2016
Our trip was excellent. Thank you! We were particularly impressed with the way it all worked seamlessly: someone was at each arrival point to meet us (or Alex was on the end of the phone to tell us what to do) or there was a phone message at Reception for when to expect someone.
The Jerusalem Hotel in Lalibela is not the same standard as Tukul Villages but it was OK for one night & we had plenty of warning. Lalibela at Christmas is pretty manic: full to bursting!
I must say that Alex looked after us well. He came to see us in Gondar to make sure everything was in place for the Simiens Trek & that we knew what to expect. When we got back after it, there he was again! Small but highly-valued pieces of customer care, evident again when he spoke to drivers while we were travelling.
All the staff who worked with us were of high quality, especially drivers and guides. Two who stood out were Younus, our driver both times we were in Addis Ababa, who we felt went beyond the call of duty & made our time there enjoyable - our last evening when waiting for a 2 a.m. flight could have been a drag, was in fact absolutely fine because of his suggestions (the Via Via cafe for dinner & then Mama's Kitchen for some music) and company.
The Simiens Trek was outstanding. Spectacular scenery, challenging at times, full of interest. Key to making it so was Dereje Gedamu who is a wonderful guide: we felt privileged to have him. he was ably assisted by the other staff & when our first, excellent chef had to leave at short notice to visit his mother in hospital, a replacement was found immediately (at Chenek!) who fed us to the same high standard. It was all a great experience that we will be talking about for a long time.
We were all pleased to have selected the 8 day option (& were not at all jealous of the peak-baggers heading for Ras Dashen). The second half of the trek was a good contrast to the high altitude section in the National Park's heartland as we descended through more intensively cultivated and populated areas, down steeply to the river and then back up past wonderful rock formations towards Mulit and out to the road at Adi Arkaye. It was full of interest and we were pleased to be pretty much on our own, rather than with the crowds at Geech & Chenek.
By comparison, the TESFA trek was rather tame, although an interesting comparison to see a more pastoral landscape and less remote villages. We had another good guide & enjoyed the lunch & evening stops, and the "loos with a view".
Pleased as we were that we had opted to drive from Bahir Dar to Lalibela, we had mixed feelings about driving the rough Gashena-Lalibela road three times - the starting and finishing points for the TESFA trek were just beyond Gashena. In 3 years when the road is complete this point may become academic, but meanwhile - if anyone else wants to do the same thing - it would be better for them to drive from Bahir Dar to Gashena, meet the TESFA crew there, do the trek & then continue to Lalibela. I am sure that TESFA could look after any extra baggage that people did not want on the trek.
One other point about the TESFA trek: we were not aware that there are several grades offered. I think we did the easiest and might well have preferred something more challenging so perhaps you could clarify the options available.
Only one other critical comment: we were underwhelmed by the Mayleko Lodge near Gondar airport. It was indeed welcome to have somewhere peaceful to return to after the trek, the rooms are nice & a couple of us enjoyed a "refreshing" swim, but on the other hand the restaurant was pretty mediocre and slow: we might have preferred to be out in the town.
Apart from that it was all good! A glimpse of Addis and another of Gondar; trekking with some R&R in Bahir Dar with its different scenery and history, ending with the religious fervour at Lalibela. A great holiday.
Gordon Parker reviewing Simien Mountains Trek & Northern Highlights on 09 February 2016