The Lodges at Phinda: One of the World's Finest Unspoiled Havens
Nestled between the mountains of uKhahlamba-Drakensburg Park and the sunny beaches of the Indian Ocean, South Africa's Phinda Private Game Reserve is one the world's finest unspoiled havens---and a Luxist nominee in the best adventure getaway category.
The five lodges of Phinda are set less than ten miles apart from one another amid the KwaZulu-Natal province, which boasts two World Heritage sites. There's the Phinda Zuka Lodge, a set of luxuriously-appointed African bush bungalows where guests enjoy a personal chef, driver and butler; Phinda Mountain Lodge, a balcony-dotted collection of rooms perched on the crest of a mountain; Phinda Forest Lodge, a handful of glass-enclosed suites situated amid one of Southern Africa's rare sand forests; Phinda Rock Lodge, a cluster of six suites carved into a rocky hillside; and Phinda Vlei Lodge, a set of suites along the edge of a forest-backed meadow where you're likely see monkeys and herds zebra right outside your front door.
Gallery: The Lodges at Phinda, South Africa
All guests can choose from included activities such as tours of the South African bush, canoe rides on the Mzinene River, and daily game drives with an armed ranger and Zulu tracker. For an extra charge there's an hour-long airplane tour of the area ($245 per person), a flight to the beaches of nearby Maputaland for a day of snorkeling and swimming ($290), a visit to a nearby Zulu homestead ($130), and an excursion to watch as the legendary leatherhead and loggerback turtles trek along the beach to lay eggs ($275).
Rates start at about $460 per night for Phinda's Zuka Lodge, Mountain Lodge and Forest Lodge; for the Rock Lodge and Vlei Lodge, the starting range is closer to $560. A sixth establishment-the villa-only Homestead property-starts at about $5,000 per night for a grand sole-use compound. All rates can be much higher during peak season, but for those looking to find the greatest wealth of biodiversity in the smallest geographical area, Phinda is tough to top.
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