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“gorgeous setting, fabulous for a family”

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andBeyond Phinda Zuka Lodge
Pennington, South Africa
Level Contributor
82 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“gorgeous setting, fabulous for a family”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 January 2014

We spent 3 nights at Phinda Zuka, for a family celebration. The staff, spearheaded by the fabulous butler, Ndumiso, were amazing and kind and catered to our grandchildren, involving them in a myriad of lodge activities when they weren't out in the bush or on drive. Top class babysitters were laid on for the baby. The game viewing down south is very good, big 5 in one day which was, in huge measure, due to the extraordinary skill of our ranger, Dumi and tracker Simmy. And there is something fantastic about having a lodge for exclusive use. We dined under the stars and in the boma around a crackling fire and had a seven course candlelit formal anniversary dinner . Great fun, outstanding andBeyond hospitality and reaffirmation that any andBeyond lodge will deliver over and above a great experience. If you want to take a group or family for a bush holiday consider Zuka, is a worthy choice.
only negative the lunch menu selection leaves a lot to be desired...they could learn from the Forest chefs.

Room Tip: 1 closest to the lodge 4 farthest away...1 and 2 directly in front of waterhole...4 most remote...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sal R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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46 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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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 (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Level Contributor
68 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 January 2014

Zuka Lodge only has a few rooms so we had the entire place to just our friends and family.
It was set away from everywhere nestled in a valley and you truly felt a part of the bush.
The staff had the perfect blend to give one privacy yet attend to your every need.
The rooms were very different and yet had the right touch all around to make one feel at peace.
The food was incredible and with everything we asked for was provided. We had cold rainy weather yet the fire crackling in the lounge made the experience cosy and welcoming. Our guides were perfect and we travelled right across the reserve to get a specific viewing.
If you want a private, homely experience in the bush with healthy and tasty food then this is exactly right. We had very specific dietary requirements and these were met exactly.
It is not as sophisticated as Forest Lodge and is perfect for a group of friends or family. You have your own guide, ranger and vehicle so you can do what you want when you want.
We were made to feel genuinely welcome and all the staff were perfect.
I can highly recommend the & Beyond experience.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Anton N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco Bay Area
Level Contributor
75 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 December 2013

No surprise, this was the highest end accommodations of our trip and it felt like it. Pricey? Sure. But you are not going to get this kind of experience, and situation, for less. And many places charge much more.

Nicely situated and well appointed. Friendly host staff. The chef was quite good, and very agreeable to our dietary preferences, though it took several back and forth discussions to get it right. He was clearly trying and there is no question that both the chef and the baker had world class skills!

Because the usual ranger was on their week(s) off, we had two different rangers while there, preferring Richard for this balanced combination of knowledge and friendliness.

One day, one of the couples in the lodge wanted to stop at the large lodge (Mountain Lodge) to visit the shop. It was interesting to see this large facility in contrast to our small lodge. Unless one had a larger group or the cost was significantly less or one really needed some of its amenities, it’s hard to see the appeal of the Mountain Lodge. At the Zuka lodge, there are four rooms/huts... and apparently they will be reducing that to three, so that on any given game drive, you'll have at most six people in the vehicle.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank nathan_h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 November 2013

We wanted our first safari experience to be a good one. We were not disappointed. From the rangers and trackers on the drives (and the stop for a G&T at dusk or a coffee and Amarulla at dawn) through to the lodge itself, the food and hospitality. The animals were amazing, the lodge thoroughly professionally run, the food fantastic and service wonderful. Will be back to another & Beyond lodge!

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Tony M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 September 2013

Zuka Lodge is an extraordinary hideaway in the middle of Phinda private game reserve. First of all, it is the largest reserve we have been to, and for 8 days and 16 game drives, we did not repeat any territory. The ranger, Eduard and the tracker, Simi were 2 of the most wonderful people! They were most interested in OUR interests, and then pursed them without fail.
Food was wonderful, one of our family having a difficult allergy. She was given the same food as we were, made to her specifications, in terms of her needs. We have never experienced such skill and accommodation.
What an absolutely wonderful venue for a family holiday to remember always

Room Tip: There are 4 cabins and they are all the same. Each one is beautifully appointed with every amenity...
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Ruth H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Metro NYC
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 August 2013

Like many other reviews, this was our first safari experience- however, when we left Phinda we visited two other camps- and our initial impression of Phinda still stands- it blew us away. There is not one thing that stands out- the rooms are not overly luxurious, but they are comfortable, clean, with large bathrooms and a sitting area- but they seem to be exactly what you would want for an African Safari- not over the top, but in a sense, in touch with nature. The staff was fantastic- extremely attentive without being the least bit intrusive. We used 3 cabins for our group, and the 4th was empty, so it felt to us like a private family/friends compound. I would encourage any family or group of friends that need 4 accommodations to book here- you will literally "own the place." Our safari driver and guide, Ed and Simi, were also fantastic- very knowledgeable, willing to go the extra mile for us, and friendly with a sense of humor- they ceased feeling like guide and driver and felt more like a couple of knowledgeable friends we were visiting in that beautiful country by the second drive. The wildlife we saw was by far the best of our trip (we also visited North Sabi Sands and Zambia)- yes we saw the "Big 5"- but so much more- we were trailing two cheetah brothers that were hunting, which came upon a white rhino mother and calf- the curious calf would run up to the cheetah's, which would hiss and it would run back to its mother- this happened numerous times, and then some giraffe's (which we learned are very curious) came over to check things out- so we have photos of giraffe's, 2 cheetahs and the rhinos all checking each other out (it almost felt staged it was so amazing!). In addition, the scenery is beautiful, far more so than North Sabi Sands- so when we weren't seeing animals, which was rare we were enjoying the ride anyway.

Room Tip: The rooms...all 4, are all the same- it really doesn't matter.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Primoclass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 August 2013

10 of us arrived at Zuka Lodge from various parts of the world of a family holiday. Our grandsons were all under the age of 9, I do not think Zuka had so many little boys in one go!! but the staff were well prepared for them & catered to all their needs.The guides Edward & Nick kept the little fellows very interested in the wild life & by the time we left our youngest who is 4 + knew most of the animals by name.
The meals were also catered to the young ones need, but the 5 adults did not miss out on anything, as our meals were discussed before hand,Dudu fed us well & made sure there was "hot chocolate" on the game drives for the boys, who looked forward to it.
All 4 rooms were extremely comfortable & could not ask for more. Bath by candle light, wow!!
I do highly recommend this wonderful lodge to anyone wanting a relaxed family holiday.
A big thank you to all the staff, Kenny & the Zuka family for making this family holiday one never to be forgotten.

Room Tip: Room 4 has lots of Nyala's around. loved it. room 1 closest to the main area.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Annette680
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about andBeyond Phinda Zuka Lodge

Property: andBeyond Phinda Zuka Lodge
Address: Phinda Private Game Reserve, Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > Phinda Private Game Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 6 Speciality Lodging in Phinda Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
An intimate safari retreat, andBeyond Phinda Zuka Lodge is situated amongst densely wooded hills studded with aloes. Available as a sole-use private villa, everything guests need is right within reach - a dedicated game ranger and game drive vehicle, an interactive kitchen with a dedicated chef, a butler, a comfortable library with Internet access and TV, a sitting room with a fireplace for evening chats, their own swimming pool and even a private watering hole right in front of the lodge. ... more   less 

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