andBeyond’s flagship lodge in South Africa, andBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge, has reopened in this month with a completely new look. The very first property of the conservation-led travel company back in 1991, the lodge’s top-to-bottom renovation has elevated the level of luxury within Phinda Private Game Reserve with touches like an interactive dining experience and an infinity edge swimming pool.
Set within KwaZulu-Natal, Phinda Mountain Lodge is the largest of the six lodges in andBeyond’s private reserve with 25 suites. Guest suites have been redesigned with vintage Zulu beadwork to create bright accents throughout the rooms, along with freshly installed parquet flooring and handmade herringbone shower tiles. Each suite features a sunken lounge with a built-in sofa that has been positioned as not to obstruct the views of the surrounding landscape. The Family Suite, which includes two rooms for adults and two for children, has a new covered patio, guest lounge, and new pathways connecting the suite to the main pool, gym, and guest areas.
To complement the lodge’s dramatic hilltop location, guest areas have been opened up with features such as a new bar with artisanal spirits and South African wines, a dining room with a pizza oven, and an interactive cooking area where guests can get involved in preparing the abundant produce of KwaZulu-Natal. Blue is a signature color in the design to reflect the lodge’s proximity to the Indian Ocean and nearby Sodwana Bay, one of the focus areas of andBeyond’s Oceans Without Boarders marine conservation initiative. The main deck has been extended to follow the contours of the land and offer 180° views of the landscape, with an elevated walkway linking it to a new infinity pool, gym and massage sala.
For guests who enjoy combining business with pleasure, a meeting room and private lounge have been added, as well as a new wine cellar for private dinners.
What Else Is New at Phinda?
Knowing that predators such as lion, leopard and hyena frequently hunt in the dark, andBeyond has launched a new Night Eye Experience at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, using infra-red technology to allow guests to see in the dark during game drives through the African bush. Equipped with three TV-like screens in each row of the safari vehicle, guests venture into the night with a guide, tracker, and cameraman to capture real-time footage of nocturnal wildlife. As an additional bonus, guests are provided with a short, high quality video including some of the highlights of their night safari experience. Think: Watching a hare daintily creep around a sleeping leopard or a pride of lions setting out for a hunt under the cover of night.
· The pangolin, the world’s most poached and trafficked mammal, is making a comeback at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve. andBeyond has released a number of pangolins retrieved from poachers or illegal wildlife traffickers into the reserve, carefully monitoring the animals to ensure the success of their adaptation to their new habitat. To help fund the costly and frequent exercise of replacing the VHF and satellite tags used to monitor the pangolins, andBeyond guests can now participate in a Pangolin Conservation Experience, setting out with the conservation team to locate the pangolin and replace the tag. During the procedure, the team will also do a general health check, offering guests the unique opportunity to get up close to this endangered creature, rarely seen by even the most seasoned safari-goers.