GREATER ST LUCIA WETLAND PARK
Phinda Rock Lodge
Spectacular views from your suite’s private viewing deck or personal plunge pool.
With only six suites carved into the rocky hillside, offering complete seclusion from the world below. The suites of this intimate and romantic lodge cling dramatically to steep cliffs with views across the valley.
The cliff-top suites provide an intimate, cosy space in a dramatic setting with an eagle’s eye view of the reserve. Snuggled high above the surrounding panorama, your closest neighbour being birds.
When the sense of freedom has you feeling giddy, retreat to the natural sanctuary of your bedroom or private sitting area, the roughly hewn walls and chunky textures giving you the feeling that you are sheltering within the mountain itself.
Deep bathtubs encased in wide windows that open up onto a spectacular view of the valley. Three suites offer al fresco showers so deeply sheltered in the leafy growth that you’ll feel you’re bathing in your own private waterfall. The white face of Leopard Rock lies directly across from the lodge, while a watering hole draws wildlife from the deep hollows of the valley below.
As your sense of adventure reawakens, one quick leap through an open wooden shutter takes you to a rustic ladder leading to the roof, as you gaze on the unrivalled panorama before you. When night draws in, retreat to the warm refuge of an intimate gathering around a roaring fire in the guest area. Savour a meal served among friends, both old and new, in the cosy dining room or the haven of your own suite.
The people of Africa, with their warm and welcoming nature and the ability to educate and enchant guests every day. Many of Phinda’s rangers and trackers belong to the surrounding communities and can share cultural information with our guests
Phinda is home to an abundance of wildlife, from the large mammals to the smallest antelope. However, it is the faster of predators that has a special place here.
Having reintroduced cheetah to the area after an absence of over fifty years, Phinda has quickly established a reputation as one of the best places to view and photograph these rare cats. These speedy carnivores have plenty of space to carry out their explosive hunting technique, as well as enough cover to protect and shelter their cubs. Along with cheetah, lion and leopard are tracked on the reserve on a daily basis and guests have a high likelihood of encountering these magnificent animals.
Another success story is that of both the white and the more endangered black rhino. Brought back from the brink of extinction, both the grass eating white rhino and the shrub grazing black rhino are doing well at the reserve. While the white rhino favours water holes and wallows, the black rhino indulges its inquisitive nature in constant solitary rambles.
The elegant nyala antelope is a frequent sight at Phinda, with the reserve boasting one of the highest densities of the species. With its dark brown coat, buttery yellow legs, shaggy mane and impossibly bushy tail, the male nyala is particularly spectacular, while the female contents itself with a less flashy chestnut coat.
The rare sand forest in the northern parts of Phinda is the perfect environment for some of the rarer smaller species. The shy red duiker is found grazing on fallen leaves and fruit and the tiny suni, one of the smallest antelope species, may also be seen.
MORNING AND AFRTERNOON GAME DRIVES
Enjoy early morning and late afternoon game drives that continue after nightfall. You’re professionally trained guides will ask you about your favourite wildlife and will do their best to ensure that your preferences are met, whether it is tracking a particular species or spending more time enjoying each sighting and getting to know the habits of the animals. They will also tell you about the vegetation of the region and will explain the behaviour of the animals that you come across. In some cases, the guides will be able to identify individual animals and let you know about their history and habits.
Phinda Private Game Reserve have exceptional sightings of the elusive cheetah and the rare black rhino, as well as the Big Five.
PHINDA MOUNTAIN LODGE
Phinda Mountain Lodge is a Big Five safari destination that will steal your heart with its spacious private suites, some of the best views in the world and access to a selection of unique adventure safaris.
Poised majestically on the crest of a mountain, Phinda Mountain Lodge commands dramatic vistas over the surrounding landscape. Balanced between soaring views of the scenery below and the endless blue of the African sky above, each suite opens onto a breathtaking panorama.
With glamorous guest areas and spellbinding views, this bold and stylish lodge will truly make any guest feel on top of the world. Magnificent viewing decks and private verandas attached to each suite ensure that there’s no shortage of spectacular locations.
Guests are greeted with bright smiles and warm welcomes from the lodge’s gracious staff. A warm and friendly welcome awaits families with children at Phinda Mountain Lodge, with two family suites providing interleading rooms with an optional additional bed in each.
The guest area is a magnificent u-shaped building with central al fresco courtyard, which provides seductive comfort between exciting game drives. Careful planning means that no structures in the Lodge overlook each other, resulting in uninterrupted views from each suite or viewing deck.
At Phinda Mountain Lodge a room with a view isn’t just an option – it’s an absolute guarantee. Poised majestically on the crest of a mountain, the lodge commands a dramatic vista over the surrounding landscape.
A total of 24 suites are positioned to ensure complete privacy while optimising the view from the veranda. A private outdoor shower and plunge pool for each suite allow you to savour the outdoors and the fresh mountain air. Lounging in your private plunge pool overlooking the dense green slopes.
Bask in the solitude of your suite’s personal sitting room or delight in the spacious guest areas. Browse the selectively stocked Safari Shop or sip on a cocktail while taking in the views from the terrace. Mealtime may mean a delicious al fresco feast on the tiered veranda, a luscious spread in the covered dining room or an unexpected treat in a surprise location.
PHINDA FOREST LODGE
They say that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones and that is certainly true at Phinda Forest Lodge!
Our designers have created a calming atmosphere of Zulu Zen. And there’s no need to worry about the privacy of your retreat – in spite of the floor to ceiling glass walls, the towering torchwood trees and fertile forest floor that surround your suite ensure a sense of seclusion.
Set in rare and beautiful sand forest, the glass walls of Phinda Forest Lodge offer a sweeping view of one of the most unique ecosystems on the planet. Phinda Forest Lodge is one of the world’s first eco-designed luxury lodges. Floor to ceiling windows invite the forest in but the dense canopy provides privacy.The dainty forms of dwarf forest antelope dart among and below the suites, raised on stilts to float between the sandy forest floor and the leafy canopy above. Waking up to rustling forest sounds and bird song, surrounded by delicate leaf-filtered light, a pervading sense of peace and calm will set the tone for your entire day.”
Phinda Forest Lodge is one of the world’s first eco-designed luxury lodges. Floor to ceiling windows invite the forest in but the dense canopy provides privacy.The dainty forms of dwarf forest antelope dart among and below the suites, raised on stilts to float between the sandy forest floor and the leafy canopy above.
Waking up to rustling forest sounds and bird song, surrounded by delicate leaf-filtered light, a pervading sense of peace and calm will set the tone for your entire day.
Cradled in a maze of ancient vegetation, each air conditioned suite provides serene, reflective spaces to watch the secrets of the forest unfold.
The dappled green shade works its magic on guests and animals alike, providing an intimate glance into the world of the forest dwellers. Tiny suni and red duiker graze among the vines and massive tree trunks, and a short walk to the main guest area could easily become a close encounter with a graceful nyala or an agile impala.
Fresh duiker tracks in the sandy paths point the way towards the lodge’s rim flow pool, where you can relax in the shade of the wooded canopy. While away an afternoon on the spacious private veranda of your suite, secluded from all except an occasional red tonga squirrel in the treetops. Invite the tranquillity of the forest inside and take a soak in your oversized bathtub with huge glass windows offering yet another perspective on the play of leaves and light outside.
Mealtimes on the open air dining deck bring about their own distractions, as monkeys frolic in the branches and an ever-changing assortment of wildlife grazes on the open plain in the distance. In the evenings, when warm firelight welcomes you to the boma, wide-eyed bush babies watch inquisitively from the dense foliage above.
CONSERVATION & COMMUNITY AT PHINDA FOREST LODGE
At every lodge we seek out small (and sometimes not so small) but meaningful ways of putting our values into action every day. Each &Beyond lodge supports the conservation of wildlife and contributes to its neighbouring communities in one way or another. In addition, we seek to limit our impact in terms of fossil fuels, the use of renewable energy, water and waste management, and recycling.
At &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, a groundbreaking land claim agreement restored 22 000 acres of land to ancestral owners.
PHINDA VLEI LODGE
Phinda Vlei Lodge is an intimate romantic, private safari destination. Overlooking the Reserve’s unique vlei (wetland) system on the edge of the sand forest, its location offers ever changing game viewing from the comfort of your bed, your shower or your private plunge pool.
At Phinda Vlei Lodge simply spending time in your spacious suite is like being on safari. With each suite carefully positioned for a prime view of the animals coming out to drink and panoramic vistas from even your shower or bathtub, the game viewing never stops!
Overlooking the Reserve’s unique vlei (wetland) system on the edge of the sand forest, its location offers ever changing game viewing from the comfort of your bed, your shower or your private plunge pool
At Phinda Vlei Lodge simply spending time in your spacious suite is like being on safari.
With each suite carefully positioned for a prime view of the animals coming out to drink and panoramic vistas from even your shower or bathtub, the game viewing never stops!
Set on the edge of the forest and overlooking an open meadow (or vlei), complete with watering hole, this wildlife playground brings your game encounters up close and personal. Each morning and early evening the animals appear, dotting the sweeping vlei in a never-ending wildlife parade.
Whether from the intimate guest areas or the seclusion of your own suite, watch the daily details of the bush come to life, from the antics of the monkeys and the prolific birdlife to the herds of zebra or families of warthog ambling along the open vlei.
CONSERVATION & PEOPLE
ACCESS TO WATER
Many areas in KwaZulu-Natal are affected by drought or limited infrastructure that restricts their access to water. This means that women or children are forced spend hours collecting water from nearby water sources. Together with Africa Foundation, &Beyond has assisted in 28 schools, with a total of 18 000 pupils, receiving water by providing reticulation from the municipal pipeline or installing boreholes and tanks. &Beyond Phinda have also provided water pumps and tanks for the establishment of nine vegetable gardens, resulting in food or income being produced for 1 300 people.
BLACK RHINO RANGE EXPANSION PROJECT
In a joint project with WWF, the Ezemvelo KZN-Wildlife Black Rhino Range Expansion Project selected &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve as the first release site for 16 black rhinos in 2004. The endangered rhinos have thrived in their new home, providing further evidence of the successful restoration of farmlands into prime wildlife habitat. Ecotourists frequently observe the black rhinos on &Beyond Phinda game drives and the reserve celebrated the birth of the first baby rhino in August 2006.
COMMUNITY BUSINESS LINKAGE PILOT PROGRAMME
Africa Foundation and &Beyond have set up a Community Business Linkage Pilot Program that involves three farms and has helped the farmers to develop their subsistence gardens into small scale farms. This promotes self reliance, allowing the farmers to provide food security for themselves and their families, as well as increasing their income-generating potential and fostering relationships between neighboring lodges, who purchase the produce, and the local communities.
COMMUNITY LEADERS EDUCATION FUND
The Community Leaders Education Fund (CLEF) is a bursary program that aims to provide education, reduce unemployment and increase average household income in rural communities. The program provides academic sponsorships, which provide young leaders with the skills gained through tertiary education, increasing their changes of employment. The second component requires bursary recipients to share their knowledge and skills with their communities. To date, CLEF has funded tertiary studies for more than 150 students.
CONTROL OF INVASIVE TRIFFID WEED
The exotic Triffid Weed (Chromolaena odorata) is native to South America but has spread to South Africa where it is classified as one of the country’s most noxious weeds. In the absence of any natural control mechanisms, this plant proliferates in savanna ecosystems and &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve has embarked on an ambitious control program which uses fire and mechanical clearing.
IMPROVED ACADEMIC FACILITIES
&Beyond and it’s social development partner, Africa Foundation, have facilitated the construction of 110 classrooms and three libraries in the communities surrounding &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. This has included projects such as Nkomo Primary School, where 10 classrooms, aftercare and creche facilities, as well as a school feeding scheme, have been established. Another example is the Qhubekani Creche, where classrooms, ablutions, an office, a storeroom and a kitchen have been built, providing facilities to care for 86 children.
INKWAZI RANGER TRAINING SCHOOL
Overlooking the Mzinene floodplains in the south of &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, the Inkwazi Ranger Training School provides facilities and accommodation for groups of up to 20 learners. Trainees undertake a rigorous course that covers all aspects of guiding, such as communication, safety and wildlife knowledge. Successful candidates are employed at &Beyond, where they undergo three months of on-site training and ongoing mentorship from experienced guides.
LION REINTRODUCTION RESEARCH
Prior to &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve’s establishment in 1990,resident populations of lions were last recorded in Maputaland in 1938. Between May 1992 and January 2003, 15 lions were released into the Reserve. Research conducted to determine the success and failures of the reintroduction has recently been completed, providing valuable information to the conservation world and paving the way for more incredible victories.
MDUKU CLINIC AND DIGITAL ECO-VILLAGE
Working with leader’s from &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve’s neighboring Mduku village, Africa Foundation have funded and facilitated the construction and staff training at a 24-hour clinic which attends to the health needs of over 10 000 people every month. The Digital Eco-Village (Dev Centre) provides easy access to technology with computer courses, skills training and internet access facilitating the advance of education, agriculture and health care.
MONITORING OF LEOPARD IN THE MUNYAWANA CONSERVANCY
In order to establish the population density and dynamics of leopard at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and adjacent properties, a number of individuals have been radio-collared for satellite tracking. A full time researcher, working under the auspices of the World Conservation Society’s Global Carnivore Program, documents the movements and interactions of leopards in the area, making use of remote digital camera trapping technology. This is the first serious study of leopard ecology in a matrix of protected areas and hunting concessions.
MONITORING OF PHINDA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE’S BIRDS OF PREY
As predators at the top of the food chain, eagles and other raptors are important indicators of ecosystem health. As a means of monitoring the full recovery of &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve as a wild landscape, senior rangers are engaged in locating nest sites and documenting the breeding success of eagles, vultures, hawks and owls. This project is part of a regional study under the direction of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Bird of Prey Working Group.
&BEYOND PHINDA FOREST LODGE WORKS TO HELP THEIR COMMUNITIES
Staff at &Beyond Phinda Forest Lodge have decided to help the Advent Christian School in a nearby community by helping them build a worm farm; an organic garden aimed at providing a continual source of nutritious vegetables for the school children. Ultimately, we hope to assist the school in providing enough vegetables to sell to &Beyond for the use in the lodge. This will provide a very valuable source of income to the school, ensuring they will be able to provide better education for the students. The staff from &Beyond Forest Lodge will set up an organic garden, supplying the school with a weekly supply of all the food waste from the lodge. Five trenches will be built and filled as the waste accumulates. Earthworms will be used to assist in the breaking the waste into fertile compost. The trenches can then be used to grow nutritious vegetables, which will primarily fill hungry stomachs and improve the children’s ability to concentrate, and ultimately provide a source of income to the school.
POPULATION CONTROL OF AFRICAN ELEPHANT
The African elephant is one of the continent’s most loved and charismatic animals, but when confined to a fenced reserve, growing populations can have negative impacts on the landscape and other species. A total of 58 elephant were released at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve between 1992 and 1994, and the population had doubled to over 100 by 2003. In addition to translocating a number of individuals in 2003, &Beyond Phinda has also embarked on an experimental contraception program with a team of wildlife veterinarians. Lessons learned from this, and similar experiments elsewhere, may help provide solutions to the long-term management of elephant in other parts of the continent.
SKILLS TRAINING AT &BEYOND PHINDA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
Africa Foundation, &Beyond’s social development partner aims to empower communities through skill development- providing them with a means of generating their own income. Seventeen individuals from the community of KwaNgwenya have recently completed a construction skills training course. The 30-day course was aimed at teaching the skills of plastering, tiling, bricklaying and carpentry. The group was divided into four smaller groups which will then be able to form separate co-operatives and can take on construction projects in the future. The group will now go on to construct 6 classrooms, 12 teachers accommodation units and an admin block at Mdolomba Junior Secondary School in KwaNgwenya, gaining valuable, on-site training and experience.
SOUTH AFRICAN HISTORY IS MADE AS &BEYOND SIGNS PHINDA LAND DEAL
17 March 2008 marked a joyous and momentous occasion at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve as R18 million was handed over from &Beyond to our two landlord communities surrounding the Reserve. In August 2007, &Beyond and the Makhasa and Mnqobokazi community leaders signed a groundbreaking land restitution deal which restored 22 000 acres of the Reserve to the ancestral owners of the land. Now, as landlords, these communities will continue to share meaningfully in the benefits of conservation and ecotourism and will receive substantial, escalating rental from the&Beyond Phinda land. They have engaged &Beyond to continue running the business of Phinda for the next 72 years, and the communities have in turn committed the land to wildlife in perpetuity.