Skip to Content

AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge – The Best Luxury Safari Resort

AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge – The Best Luxury Safari Resort

If you are looking for the perfect luxury safari lodge for your partner or family, you have found it. AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge is one of the best safari lodges in South Africa.

We often say that though the places we visit are amazing, we remember the people and interactions the most. This was definitely the case throughout our stay at the luxurious AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge.

Trust me when I say that you will arrive at AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge as guests, but you will leave as a part of their family.

A couple standing in the Phinda Game Reserve bush enjoying the views.

I cannot wait to share my AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge review and experience. It is easily one of our favorite trips.

My AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge review will include everything you need to know to inspire you to book this safari lodge. I have no doubt that when you stay here, you will feel the magic and beauty of Phinda Game Reserve in South Africa!

Why You Should Choose AndBeyond

A couple standing with their ranger and tracker in front of a green jeep from AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge.

When travelers choose their safari lodge, they typically consider several things, but the main concerns are location, service, budget, and activities. These are all essential considerations, but what makes AndBeyond go “and beyond” is its loyalty to the guests, land, wildlife, and community.

AndBeyond’s loyalty and commitment are the reasons why they are consistently listed as one of the “50 Best Resorts in the World” by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel and Leisure.

AndBeyond abides by a simple principle called “The Three C’s:” CARE for the LAND, CARE for the WILDLIFE, and CARE for the PEOPLE. AndBeyond’s priority is ethical conservation and community work.

AndBeyond strives to make its guests feel like a part of their family. We have stayed at some of the best resorts in the world, but none have made us feel more like family than AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge. We literally cried when we had to leave because of the connections and relationships we created with the staff.

Lastly, you should choose AndBeyond because they take their luxury service to a personal level. From private meals to surprise dinners in the bush, candlelit hot baths waiting for you after a game drive, and more. AndBeyond will surpass all your expectations.

How to Get to AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge

South Africa Airline plane to get to AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge.

Yes, you can drive to AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge, but the best way is to fly there. Whether you are coming from Johannesburg, Cape Town, or Kruger National Park, you can charter a daily flight to the Phinda Game Reserve private airstrip.

Alas, you cannot control the weather. If the weather is bad, the plane cannot land in Phinda due to the high risks of a small airstrip. So, although a plane is the best option, it might only sometimes be the case due to unforeseen weather.

Our flight from Johannesburg to Phinda (with a stop in Kruger) was supposed to take three hours, but it ended up taking eight hours. Due to bad weather, our pilot had to land in Durban. Then, a three-hour bus ride was arranged for us to go from Durban to Phinda.

If flying on a small, 12-passenger plane and the uncertainty of weather makes you nervous, driving to AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge may be the better option. The driving distance from Johannesburg to Phinda is five hours.

You can also fly to Richards Bay and drive for only 50 minutes. Speak to your travel agent or AndBeyond representative and they can help you make these arrangements.

A Day at AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge

A couple in neutral safari clothes posing for the camera at Phinda Game Reserve.

Here is a sample of what a typical day at AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge looks like:

5:30 am – wake-up call
6:00 am – 6:30 am – morning coffee and tea with fresh fruit and coffee cake
6:30 am – 9:30 am – morning game drive
9:30 am – 11:00 am – breakfast
11:00 am – 1:00 pm – downtime
1:00 pm – 3:00 pm – lunch
3:30 pm – 4:00 pm – afternoon coffee and tea with snacks
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm – afternoon game drive
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm – dinner

AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge Amenities

A pano view of AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge lounge and open deck.

AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge is perched upon a hilltop, providing guests unparalleled views of the Lebombo Mountains and the reserve below.

The lodge has everything a guest needs to enjoy a luxurious stay, including:

  • Dining Room
  • Outdoor BBQ dining space
  • Lounge with bar access
  • Safari Shop
  • WILDchild Program
  • Conference Room
  • Business Center
  • Infinity Pool
  • Massage Sala
  • Equipped Gym

The Lounge

AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge Lounge with African decor, comfy chairs, and an open bar.

The lounge is gorgeous, with intricate pieces of African art and decor. The layout flows into an open deck that faces the Lebombo Mountains.

We felt like part of the AndBeyond Phinda family every time we were in the lounge. It is the meeting point every day for game drives. All of the guests would mingle with their ranger and tracker while they served lattes, teas, and juice and discussed our game drive plan ahead.

The lounge is also a place where guests can socialize and share stories of their game drives, enjoy afternoon snacks, drink a cocktail, play a board game, or soak in the views. Overall, it’s a wonderful place to relax.

It is also an excellent place for animal sightings. Cheeky monkeys hang around the lounge every morning, looking to snag cookies. You can also have the opportunity to watch giraffes grazing the reserve for leaves. We a few just a few hundred yards away from the lounge!

WILDchild Program

Two cheetahs laying on a mound looking out into the Phinda Private Game Reserve.

As a premier family-friendly safari lodge in South Africa, AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge offers an adventure-filled program for families with children 3-12 years old. The WILDchild program includes fun and engaging activities such as bug collecting, frog safaris, ‘poo walks’, baking with the chef, and more.

Children 3-12 years old are also allowed to join parents on game drives for an experience everyone will never forget! If your child opts out of game drives or is under 3 years old, they can stay at the lodge with a sitter for an additional cost.

Massage Sala and Gym

If you want the ultimate afternoon relaxation between game drives, head to the fabulous Massage Sala. The lodge has some of the best masseuses who use different techniques, such as wooden African massage tools, to help release the tightest knots.

You can also incorporate a variety of natural massage oils, which all serve a different purpose, such as detoxing, de-stressing, hydrating, and more. And finish a massage with a wonderful bath aromatherapy.

If you are eager to maintain your workout regime, you can do so at the well-equipped gym. Break a sweat on the treadmill while you enjoy sweeping views of the reserve.

Safari Shop

The safari shop sells authentic souvenirs that support locals and artists from the nearby Zulu village. You can find beautiful handwoven baskets, colorful beaded jewelry, and hand-painted ceramics.

If you forgot to pack something, the safari shop also has all the essentials. To complete your safari outfitter look, you can also purchase a new wardrobe and high-end binoculars for the game drives.

AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge Suites

Inside a suite at AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge. The bed faces the window to look out into the reserve, a gorgeous beaded chandelier hangs from the ceiling, and sitting area.

AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge is known as a fabulous, child-friendly safari lodge in South Africa, just as much as a luxurious destination for couples. Thus, there are 16 suites, one family suite, and three family cottages.

The suites will take your breath away! Personally, we felt more at home in the suite than in our actual home. It has the perfect balance of comfort and luxury, with intricate African art decor like the beaded chandelier and ceramic pottery.

The suites are spacious, thanks to the high ceilings. It has a comfortable bed that looks out into the reserve, an ensuite bathroom, a sitting area with a mini-bar, and a private verandah with a plunge pool and outdoor shower.

No matter where you sit in the suite, you are guaranteed a scenic view of the reserve. Whether you lay in bed, take an outdoor shower, or lounge on the deck, you will experience the magic of Africa all around you.

Dining at AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge

A table with a lunch spread next to a pool at AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge.

The dining options at AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge are marvelous! During our four-night stay, we enjoyed special meals around the lodge, including a private lunch at the pool, lunch on the deck with sweeping views, a traditional boma, and dinner in the bush!

Every meal was exquisitely prepared and delicious, featuring authentic South African cuisine. These were truly some of the best meals and dining experiences you will ever have.


It is true what they say: breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially at AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge! After every morning game drive, you will have worked up a big appetite.

Who knew game viewing could be so much “work”? Thankfully, a huge breakfast spread is waiting for you in the dining room.

In the center of the dining room is a large table filled with freshly baked loaf cakes, muffins, yogurt, cereal grains, smoked salmon, cold meats, cheese, fruit, and more. In addition to the buffet spread, you can also order a hot meal from the menu.

Of course, what is a luxurious breakfast without bloody marys and mimosas? There is an amazing bloody Mary and mimosa station with all the fixings and fresh juices you can dream of.

Lunch and Dinner

Lunch is typically served buffet-style inside the dining room. Every afternoon, there is a selection of cold salads, hot vegetable dishes, roasted beef, glazed ham, quiche and pie of the day, and more.

You can also enjoy private lunches by the pool, in your suite, or in other special lodge areas.

As for dinner, you probably will not eat dinner in the same place more than once. During our stay, we experienced four amazing dinners in four different areas.

We spent one evening in the dining room, a private dinner in our suite, a traditional boma, and a special bush dinner! AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge goes above and beyond when it comes to dinner. They provide guests with an authentic African dining experience that you will never forget—we certainly will not!

Boma Dinner

A Boma dinner is a traditional African outdoor dining experience in an enclosed area where guests dine under the stars. The dinner is typically a buffet, including barbecue meat and vegetables.

Several tables are set up for guests to enjoy dinner with their rangers and trackers as a family. The food is fantastic, but the entire experience of dining with your game drive team makes the dinner special.

Everyone shares stories of their favorite animal sightings, we learn more about the rangers and trackers, and we connect on a deeper level. To top it off, surprise guests from the Zulu village perform a traditional song and dance during dinner.

Bush Dinner

To our delight, AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge surprised all the guests with a bush dinner. The staff created a restaurant with a full bar, kitchen, washroom, and dining room in the middle of the bush. We were dining under the stars and possibly surrounded by wild animals—it was magical!

The only light in the bush comes from candles spread across the grass and on the dining tables. A fire pit is near the bar with lounge chairs where everyone enjoys a few glasses of wine before dinner. It is easily one of the best dining experiences ever.

Exceptional Hospitality at AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge

At least 85% of AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge staff are from the nearby Zulu village. The entire team, from the managers to the rangers, trackers, butler, culinary staff, and housekeeping, are some of the nicest people you will ever encounter.

The hospitality is world-class at AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge. Exceptional service from the moment you arrive.

A ranger and tracker preparing a snack break of coffee and cookies from AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge.

You will receive a personal butler for your stay. Outside of the game drives, the butler will be your best friend. If you need anything, they are there to help you. They are also your server for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The housekeeping team and our friendly butler surprised us daily with memorable moments. We were welcomed with a letter and a surprise anniversary platter of fresh fruit.

When we returned from one of our game drives, we had a candlelit hot bath with bubbles ready for us. On our last day, we received a handwritten thank you letter from the housekeepers.

Each time we returned to the lodge from our safari game drives, the staff greeted us with warm towels and refreshments. In the morning, they served fresh orange or kiwi juice, and in the evenings, they served hot chocolate or spiced hot wine.

Every detail made a difference to provide us with the best hospitality we could have imagined.

Luxury Game Drives in the Phinda Private Game Reserve

A tracker at the front of the jeep scanning for wildlife and a ranger driving the jeep.

Phinda Private Game Reserve is 74,000 acres situated in the protected wildlife lands of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is considered one of the best places for game viewing.

It is home to a diverse landscape of woodland, grasslands, savannah, wetlands, forests, and mountains. Of course, it also has Africa’s Big Five, cheetahs, elephants, zebras, giraffes, rhinos, warthogs, hyenas, more than 436 bird species, and many other animals.

The game drives at AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge are outstanding. They are more than you can imagine!

The rangers and trackers are not just taking you on a safari but an incredible journey. They are a wealth of knowledge that will teach you about the land and animals.

In addition to animal sightings, the game drives include five-star hospitality safari breaks. For morning drives, the rangers and trackers will set up a beautiful spread of hot cocoa, tea, coffee, cookies, and coffee bread. During the night drives, they provide every alcoholic beverage you can think of, along with delicious chips and dip, corn nuts, dried fruit, and biltong.

On our first game drive, we found a pride of lions with two cubs and five female lions! That same day, during our night drive, we found a leopard. We also encountered two brother cheetahs and watched a pride of lions enjoy a carcass at night. In addition to the big cats, we saw plenty of elephants, rhinos, buffalo, giraffes, zebra, and more.

Extra Activities at AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge

A herd of rhino grazing the land at Phinda Private Game Reserve.

AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge offers a full day of activities included in the daily rate. Still, more activities can be added to your itinerary for those seeking more adventure. To name a few:

  • Sleeping under the African stars
  • Professional safari photography
  • Tracking black rhino on foot
  • Ocean safari in the Indian Ocean
  • Zulu village tour

What is Included in the Daily Rate?

You will love your stay at AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge. Everything exceeded our expectations, and the best part is that (almost) everything is included in your stay.

Included in the daily rate:

  • Accommodation
  • Two safari game drives
  • Three daily meals
  • Beverages – soft drinks, coffee, tea, house wine, local brand spirits and beers
  • Refreshments and meals on safari breaks
  • Laundry
  • One hour bush walks with a ranger
  • Transfers to and from Phinda airstrip
  • VAT
  • Emergency medical evacuation insurance

Outside of the daily rate, you can add extra activities and should consider tipping the ranger, tracker, butler, and housekeeping team as part of your budget. Of course, tipping is at your discretion, but they work hard to provide you with the best experience, and a generous tip shows appreciation.

A couple taking a selfie on their game drive at Phinda Private Game Reserve.

I hope my AndBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge review and overall experience have inspired you to stay here. We have traveled worldwide, and this remains one of our favorite trips ever!

For further information, we highly recommend that travelers contact AndBeyond to help plan and book your amazing trip.


Friday 6th of April 2018

Hi! Was googling about the Phinda Mountain Lodge and chanced upon your post. It was a lovely write up with great details on the lodge.. it made my job of shortlisting a safari lodge much easier : ) Just wanted to check, were there lizards in the suite? Sorry, but I have this huge fear of lizards, need to prep myself mentally! Thank you in advance!


Friday 6th of April 2018

Hey, we are so happy to hear you found our post helpful. We cannot express enough how amazing this lodge is - one of our absolute favorites! So I (Christina) am very scared of any reptile. There are lizards around the lodge, so when you walk from your suite to the lodge hangout areas and dining room you will come across the lizards. I always had Adam walk in front of me to scare them away so by the time I walked there were none on the path. They were NEVER inside our suite though. I hope his information helps. Let us know if you have anymore questions.


Monday 27th of November 2017

Wow, what an experience this must have been! I would love to experience an African safari!


Tuesday 9th of January 2018

You have to do a safari. It was truly an incredible experience we will never forget.

Carol G

Sunday 26th of November 2017

Holy smokes, that lodge looks amazing. Plus CHEETAHS!!!


Tuesday 9th of January 2018

Cheetahs were like our #1 reason for going. As soon as we arrived to the lodge we asked where was the best place while out on Safari to find Cheetahs. It was worth the rain and the cold that morning to see the two brothers on the hill.

Paula - Gone with the Wine

Sunday 26th of November 2017

Wow, that looks like a quite an adventure. I would love to do a trip like that. Beautiful room as well, and the food looks delicious. But the best part would absolutely seeing all those animals.


Tuesday 9th of January 2018

The animals were easily the top experience for us. To be able to see animals in their environment and interacting with each other was out of this world incredible.


Sunday 26th of November 2017

The resort realky looks amazing, though I always prefer to stay at Airbnbs or a budget hotel, but sometimes its great to treat yourself with a luxurious stay. I would definitely love to stay at this resort when I plan trip to South Africa


Tuesday 9th of January 2018

We love to spoil ourselves once and a while. When we traveled through europe we did Couchsurfing and that was very nice. This resort was worth every penny to book. You will not regret it.