Lodges

&Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge

Five-star accommodation in a wetland setting, with game and birds galore

&Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge

A vlei is a natural pool of water, and this small and intimate lodge located centrally in the Phinda Private Game Reserve stands on the edge of a wetland. Nearby is a sand forest, an increasing rare ecosystem. Animal viewing is constant, birding is varied and rewarding (look out for the pretty narina trogon), and the stilted lodge provides pampering comfort, good food, smiley staff, knowledgeable guides and lush accommodation. The wildlife ranges from the largest to the smallest, but the star of the show is definitely cheetah, which were reintroduced to the reserve after an absence of 50-odd years.

At the lodge

The hotel

The thatched main area of the lodge is centrally located within the camp on a raised wooden platform. On it, you can settle back in comfortable wicker chairs to admire the constant parade of lion, antelope, elephant, giraffe and more. Inside, the bar and dining area are large and stylish. Eat at private tables or communally, beside the fireplace or under the stars on the deck. Seating areas inside and out invite you to settle back with a book or share your sightings with other guests.

The rooms

There are just six lovely suites, built of thatch and teak with floor-to-ceiling windows. If privacy is prime, you'll find it here – there's ample space between the rooms. The luxury continues indoors, with huge mosquito-netted beds, air conditioning, gorgeous West Africa-inspired fabrics, and an ingenious bathroom with deep tub, shower and twin basins. Relax on your private wraparound deck or take a dip in your private plunge pool, if no elephants, antelope or baboons have come for a drink!

On safari

Experiences

Activities here are much the same as those at Phinda's other lodges, but the wetland does bring an added dimension to your safari sightings. There are standard day and evening game drives, bush walks and, at extra cost, walking safaris, tracking and a various beach activities. From your suite, look out for the Big Five and the 200-plus wetland waterbirds, and observe the sand forest (home to shy suni and red duiker antelope). Take a leisurely sunset cruise along the Mzinene River.

When to go

Phinda by month

January

Season: Wet

February

Season: Wet

March

Season: Wet

April

Season: Wet

May

Season: Dry

June

Season: Dry

July

Season: Dry

August

Season: Dry

September

Season: Dry

October

Season: Wet

November

Season: Wet

December

Season: Wet

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