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“Game on your own Doorstep”

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andBeyond Phinda Vlei Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
35 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Game on your own Doorstep”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2014

We stayed at Phinda Vlei Lodge in July 2014 as part of our third trip to South Africa. Like other reviewers, we agree that the entire staff was wonderful, friendly and would do anything to please. The food went on forever, accompanied by some very impressive South African wines. We ate lunch on our terrace daily, watching the animals (Nyala, monkeys and baboons) drinking from our pool but the highlight was the time the elephant briefly visited us. We also spent one of the nights on a game drive tracking a leopard and when we returned to the Lodge, the housemaid told us she had been trapped in our room because of the leopard drinking out of our pool.
Our room was lovely, spacious and comfortable with great views and all the usual &Beyond touches, a sentiment that was also shared by the other guests in our group.
Our ranger, Martin and tracker Abel were both highly skilled and passionate about their work. They know so much about the bush and were eager to share their stories and experience with us. They made sure that we saw the Big 5 as well as many other birds and animals of interest. The camaraderie between all rangers and trackers on the reserve was a delight to see. There was lots of humorous banter going on between them all.
Our whole experience was enhanced by the help and professionalism of all the staff from Alison our &Beyond consultant to Luke and his whole team on the ground. They were always trying to help and do whatever they could to make our stay more memorable. Even with a complete power failure on our last morning they managed to get a BBQ breakfast prepared and everything processed with good humour.

Room Tip: All rooms appear to have their own unique settings and views.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank kayw49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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204 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    5
    0
    1
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30
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (83)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 July 2014

My husband and I recently stopped here on our honeymoon in South Africa, it was AMAZING. The lodge is situated between two large open fields, the rooms are in the bush and the common area is in the bush across the way. What is so incredible is that the animals pass right thru the camp!!! Elephants, Baboons, Monkeys, Zebra, Giraffe, Warthogs and whatever else...the open area in between the rooms and the common area is literally part of their pathway thru the park! Looking for an adventure?? Try having to wait on a group of Elephants to finish drinking from your plunge pool so you can get to dinner! On top of that, the animal views we got on the game drives at this lodge were great. Sam, our ranger, has been working in the park for 20 or 30+ years and really knows where to find the animals. He and our tracker, Bhogami, were always upbeat and jovial which made the drives super fun!

The service and staff at Vlei was so great! They were friendly, accommodating and also very laid back. The whole atmosphere was easy-going and casual, but spare none, the food was on par with some of our top restaurants in San Fran and the amenities were very luxurious. I would DEFINITELY go back!!

Room Tip: Try to get room #6! It's famous for having animals drink from its plunge pool!
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Shannon K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Zealand
Level Contributor
32 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2014

We enjoyed Phinda Vlei. Great food, game viewing, accommodation and service. We liked being able to look out to an open view from our room (in contrast to Phinda Forest Lodge where the rooms are in the trees) and see animals. Birds and animals were attracted to our plunge pool.

We had requested Room 6 but had Room 4, which was terrific. Great views of animals both close and further away.

Room Tip: We had requested Room 6 but had Room 4, which was terrific. Great views of animals both close and f...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank tapata
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
Level Contributor
53 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 July 2014

We adored Phinda Vlei!

The game drives, led by the wonderful Martin, were excellent, humorous and informative.

The amazing kitchen staff, Happiness, Irene and lovely Michael, were not only the producers of fantastic food but were among the nicest people I have met in ages. I will never dance the Cha-cha again without thinking of Happiness who picked it up in a flash and put me to shame!

The accommodation was wonderful, comfortable and with great views. The elephant drinking out of our splash pool is a slight that I will never forget and it was a privilege to see it

However, my hat really comes off to Sarah – undoubtedly the Hostess with the Mostess! No only did Sarah manage everything with care, thoughtfulness and efficiency, she is a delightful person. Whatever she is being paid – its not enough! Here is a girl who will go far – and deservedly so

Well done all of you. We remember you all with affection. Thank you for making it so much more than a great holiday

Room Tip: They are all fantastic - you really cant go wrong. Number 6 has its own elephant!
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank no1kat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, UK
Level Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 July 2014

Phinda Vlei was the first stop during our safari honeymoon in June 2014. After a short flight in a tiny 6-seater plane from Richard's Bay and a 30 minute drive from the airstrip we arrived at the lodge and immediately entered a world of luxury and adventure. We stayed in room 4 for four nights and savoured every minute of our stay. I will not go into detail on the safari experience as anyone planning such a trip is probably well aware of the magic of the wildlife and the bush.

The lodge is very intimate and with only 6 rooms caters mostly to couples and small groups. Each room has its own plunge pool and wooden deck terrace overlooking the vlei with frequent animal sightings at close range. The rooms are beautifully decorated without being extravagant, designed to enhance the feeling of openness and giving you a sense of proximity to nature at all times. Our room had a shower with glass outside walls allowing you a spectacular view while you shower. Other features include a four poster king size bed, outside dining area, lounge chairs on the terrace, a fully stocked minibar and walk-in closet. You can feel the attention to detail in the work of the people who designed and decorated this lodge.

Everything is clean and well maintained as one would expect from this level of accommodation. Service is impeccable and the staff are friendly and add a personal touch in everything they do. Aside from relaxed lunches and dinners on the main terrace of the lodge, be prepared for surprises during your stay... A special mention to our ranger Warrick and our tracker Josiah for making our game viewing experience special!

This lodge offers an ideal combination of time spent with other guests and staff around the common areas between the game drives and private intimate time for couples to enjoy on their own. As for any other South African safari destination, I would recommend the winter months as the best time to visit. I have no hesitation to recommend this to couples for a truly amazing and luxurious safari experience. It was so hard for us to leave!

Room Tip: All rooms are incredible but room 4 is raised from the ground and has a large terrace with spectacul...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Michos01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Keller, Texas
Level Contributor
59 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 April 2014

Our first stop...
Phinda Vlei Lodge is in the Eastern African region of KwaZulu-Natal.

We flew from JoBurg to Richard’s Bay. Our flight from Richard’s Bay to the airstrip at Phinda was in a tiny plane. It had 6 seats – pilot, co-pilot (none), me, my husband, his bag, my bag. ☺ It was tiny!

When we arrived at the airstrip and got into the Land Rover, the first Game Drive began. It took about 30 minutes to get to the Lodge (remembering that the airstrip serves several Phinda Lodges.) That was a nice touch.

Upon arrival at the Lodge, the Lodge Manager, Jarryd, met us. We were taken to our suite and returned for coffee and wine to talk about what our stay would look like. Looking out from the lobby over the Vlei, there were zebra and antelope grazing and drinking.

We stayed in one of only six suites in the Sand Forest. Our room opened onto the *Vlei*, which we were told is somewhat synonymous with marshy meadow. Our suite had a plunge pool on the deck and the occasional vervet monkey keeping us company.

The walk to the room was literally a narrow dirt path, no arrows. I can admit I am directionally challenged and was often confused as to the way during the day. The path usually had antelopes or other animals grazing around the trees. As at any exotic animal Reserve, after dark we had to be accompanied to and from our suite.

On drives, Elephants, White Rhinos, Cape Buffalo and Lions - we saw four of the Big Five - Leopards eluded us here.
We were fortunate to see several animals we had not seen before: the Black Rhinos, genets, cheetahs and jackals.

The hospitality at Phinda was wonderful. The workers, most of whom were Zulu tribe, were wonderful people who worked overtime to try and meet every one of our needs.

The best meals for us were the BOMA and breakfast in the bush, which were ones that were out of the ordinary.

Room Tip: There are only 6 suites. The deck overlooks the Vlei - a marshy meadow where animals graze. But real...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank kalitaylor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shreveport, Louisiana
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 April 2014

Hats off to &Beyond for creating the Phinda reserve! The concept is working...slowly but surely animal populations are increasing and poaching is slowing, the standard of living is improving in nearby villages, and lucky folks from all over the world are getting a rare glimpse of Eden. Every creature comfort is provided in 6 private lodges and personal preferences and needs are met cheerfully by staff from local communities. There is incredible diversity and variety in ecosystems and wildlife, knowledgeably and passionately presented by expert guides/rangers/trackers (Martin & Muzi were incredible!). Locally sourced cuisine was imaginative, delicious and abundant. Words are inadequate...you just MUST GO!

Room Tip: All are private, quiet, and have oversized K beds and lavish baths/showers. Huge decks with plunge p...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Wilburtess
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

Property: 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 #3 of 6 Speciality Lodging in Phinda Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
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 
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Also Known As:
Phinda Vlei Hotel Phinda Private Game Reserve

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