& Beyond Phinda Mountain Lodge is still a firm favourite on the gourmet map
BEST KEPT SECRET? It’s an old favourite, launched when luxury game lodges in the bush were still a novelty. Phinda has always been the ultimate bush experience, and the private game reserve now has three accommodation options on offer – forest lodge, mountain lodge and rock lodge (which has recently been refurbished).
Mountain Lodge is one of the bigger camps, with 25 suites, while the others are smaller and more intimate. Attention to detail and exceptional service are still major drawcards – from the Amarula hot choc coffee on the morning game drive to the steamy bubble bath waiting for you after a famous bush dinner.
ROOMS ARE spacious, luxurious, cool and comfortable, offering scenic bush views. If outdoor showers and private plunge pools do it for you, then this is the place to go. Personalised welcome letters, loads of information about the area and bowls of chocolate malt puffs make it memorable.
WHERE IS IT? KwaZulu Natal
HOW TO GET THERE? No short cuts, it’s an eight-hour drive from Joburg (closer to six if the roadworks ever get done), and three-and-a-half hours from Durban.
WHO GOES THERE? Mostly an international market but discerning locals seem to keep going back. Prices are fully inclusive of game drives and walks, meals and local drinks.
TO BOOK? Rates from R3 995 pp, all inclusive. www.andbeyond.com or 011-809-4441.
THE EXPERIENCE? Everything you expect from a quality luxury game lodge. The game rangers are young and energetic, making game viewing a thrilling experience.