The Phinda Private Game Reserve is made up of 28,555 sprawling hectares (70,560 acres) of protected land in South Africa’s gorgeous KwaZulu-Natal province. The reserve is home to Africa’s Big Five game animals – lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, and rhinos – and hundreds of bird species. Visitors will find astonishing opportunities to view the continent's famed wildlife, including the otherwise elusive cheetah that can be found almost daily at Phinda. Guests will also have the chance to see rare black rhinos. Lions and a plethora of other game, including zebras, warthogs, giraffes, and several antelope species, are often spotted, while hippos and crocodiles are abundant in the reserve’s rivers and lakes.
Phinda encompasses seven distinct habitats often described as the “Seven Worlds of Wonder”: woodlands, grasslands, wetlands, mountain ranges, rivers, marshes, and pans. The lands include 1,000 hectares (about 2,500 acres) of rare sand forests and are near the unspoilt beaches and spectacular coral reefs of the Indian Ocean. This close proximity creates unrivalled opportunities to combine adventures in the bush with adventures at the beach.
At Phinda, visitors board open 4x4 safari vehicles for game drives led by professionally trained rangers and Zulu trackers. Guests also have access to a wide variety of optional activities that capitalise on the reserve’s position. Take part in a specialist walking and tracking safari, sleep out under the stars, or use infrared to spot skittish wildlife during night-eye drives. Specialist safaris can be arranged in advance with a focus on specific interests, such as birding, photography and family or private excursions. Phinda also offers conservation experiences, including rhino notching and pangolin tagging. The reserve is close to other excursions, including Zulu village tours, African Foundation community visits, seasonal turtle drives, scuba or ocean safaris and tours or beach adventures in gorgeous Maputaland.
Five distinct lodges can be found at Phinda, each with its own unique character: Mountain Lodge, Rock Lodge, Forest Lodge, Vlei Lodge and Phinda Homestead.
The reserve is a fantastic choice for families looking to enjoy an adventure. Phinda has family cottages and suites as well as a WILDchild programme geared toward children between the ages of 3 and 12.
Domestic flights are available from Johannesburg to Durban International Airport or Richards Bay Airport. Private charter flights can also be arranged between other parts of South Africa and the &BEYOND Phinda Private Game Reserve airstrip.
From Johannesburg, guests can travel by two-wheel vehicle over good roads to reach Phinda in about seven hours.
From Durban, guests can get to Phinda in about three-and-a-half hours by taking a two-wheel drive vehicle, again over good roads.
Summer (October – April)
Min: 24°C/75°F, Max: 32°C/90°F
Winter (May – September)
Min: 8°C/46°F, Max: 23°C/73°F
The area’s climate makes Phinda perfect for year-round travel, with each season bringing its own unique charms. The reserve is hot and lush in the summertime, and rich with young wildlife. In the dry winter months, the vegetation thins out and temperatures fall, creating the best all-around game viewing opportunities.
Cosy and well-appointed stone suites with stunning views of the lush Zululand Valley.
Positioned against a cliff face, Phinda Rock Lodge includes six intimate suites that appear to be suspended over a deep, forested valley. Built of contoured stone and warm wood, each suite includes solid wooden shutters and doors which open to private, rim-flow plunge pools to give guests the opportunity to take in gorgeous views of the vast reserve in full relaxation. The suites include spacious, adjoining bathrooms and outdoor showers.
The lodge also has a shared guest area, perfect for viewing the abundant wildlife. French doors lead to an extended outdoor veranda that serves as the ideal setting for al-fresco meals. On the rooftop terrace, guests can enjoy romantic dinners under the stars.
The ideal setting for a family safari, with uninterrupted views of the rich Lebombo foothills and cottages that can host several.
With wraparound views of the gorgeous Lebombo foothills, Phinda Mountain Lodge is the perfect choice for families looking for an adventure that can be tailored to all ages. The lodge features 16 suites, one family suite and six cottages that can be converted into three adjoining family cottages. The guest rooms are outfitted with expansive glass windows that allow natural light to stream in. They also feature outdoor showers, well-stocked personal bars and private plunge pools. Private decks offer unmatched views of the area’s natural splendour.
Several amenities can be found in the lodge’s shared guest area. Visitors can swap stories about their time in the bush while enjoying the welcoming bar and meals cooked in the interactive kitchen – complete with a pizza oven perfect for families looking to involve children in their activities. Dozens of candles provide light in the traditional stone and reed boma, an ideal location for al-fresco meals. A rim flow pool open to all guests follows the natural curve of the mountain, while a gym furnished with state-of-the-art equipment is available for visitors and fitness fanatics. Guests focused on relaxation can take advantage of the massage sala.
With the distinction of being one of the world’s first luxury safari lodges designed with a mind for environmental sustainability, the Phinda Forest Lodge can be found in 1,000 hectares (about 2,500 acres) of the last remaining dry sand forest in Africa. The lodge’s 16 suites have air conditioning and glass walls that provide immersive views of one of the world’s most unique ecosystems. A dense canopy and rich greenery afford guests with privacy, even as the vast windows invite the forest in. Peering through the floor-to-ceiling glass, guests will have the opportunity to spot wildlife, including birds fluttering in the foliage, accompanied by the soothing sounds of the forest.
The lodge features a relaxing rim flow swimming pool, ideally set near a clearing that overlooks a small waterhole. In the shared guest area, visitors can find expansive decks that open to panoramic views of the grasslands. The traditional African boma is lit by warm lantern light in the evenings, creating a beautiful spot to indulge in a meal underneath a bounty of stars.
An intimate and peaceful refuge on the edge of an extraordinary and rare sand forest.
Romantic and secluded, Phinda Vlei Lodge overlooks a unique vlei, or wetland system, on the edge of the Phinda Private Game Reserve’s uncommon sand forest. The lodge is superbly situated to give guests opportunities to view a wide-range of animals from the comfort of their suites.
The lodge includes six warm and restful thatched suites from which visitors can enjoy exceptional, exclusive wildlife sightings. The air-conditioned suites are decorated in a plantation style, with carefully chosen antiques and collectibles paired with bold, patterned fabrics. Each room includes an extravagantly spacious ensuite bathroom and a dressing room that further blends old-world luxury with contemporary convenience. Each suite also includes an exclusive lap pool and a game viewing deck that overlooks the lush plains below. Guests can find antelopes and other curious creatures grazing on the nearby grasses, alongside a diverse range of birds.
The shared guest area provides a gorgeous place to relax, whether guests wish to explore the well-appointed library or unwind with a drink near the fire pit.
A luxurious and exclusive villa for travel aficionados with private accommodations for as many as 12 guests.
Amid lush trees at the north end of the Phinda Private Game Reserve, Phinda Homestead is a modern bush farmhouse that combines stylish old-world features with deluxe modern touches. The villa includes a dedicated ranger, a tracker, a butler and a chef.
Seamlessly built into the thriving greenery, the homestead is an elegant choice for families and small groups. It includes four private suites — complete with luxuriant ensuite bathrooms and both indoor and outdoors showers — and inviting spaces to share with your companions. A fifth, optional suite is also available and able to sleep as many as four children.
The suites are split by a dining room and an interactive kitchen that puts the lodge’s private chef at the heart of the guest experience. Safaris based at the lodge are tailored to suit guests’ preferences, creating a truly personalised adventure.
Iconic Wildlife Sightings. The 28 555 ha Phinda reserve is home to a magnificent variety of wildlife, including the Big Five, but is best known for its large population of cheetah and black rhino.
Finest Guides & Safaris. Highly knowledgeable &Beyond-trained guides with the ability to do night drives, and other specialist safaris such as walking, tracking, photography or birding. Safaris can be tailor-made for private groups, families or specialist interests.
Sole-use Exclusivity. Equipped with your own dedicated ranger, tracker, butler, chef and safari host -Phinda Homestead offer the ideal home-away-from-home.
Exciting Family Safaris. Phinda Mountain is the ideal family lodge, with three family cottages, a Family Suite, and a dedicated WILDChild programme which is filled with fun, interactive activities that offer kids the opportunity to leave with treasured memories of the African bush.
Life-changing Experiences. A variety of incredible adventures are available, including twice-daily game drives, nature walks, conservation and community experiences, sleep outs, village tours, an infrared Night Eye Experience, specialist safaris, as well as nearby ocean activities such as scuba diving and turtle hatching (seasonal).
We work with private campsites, small camps and exclusives lodges to give you the best and most authentic experience of Africa. With this in mind, the earlier we start planning your trip, the better. The ideal time to start organizing your safari is six to eight months before your planned departure date – especially if you want to travel during peak seasons, including around school holidays.