Phinda Vlei Lodge (KZN)

a cheetah sighting at phinda

 6 Suites  – 12 Guests

Phinda Vlei Lodge (KZN) boasts a unique location that offers ever-changing game viewing from the comfort of your suite. Set on the edge of a sand forest overlooking a vast grassy meadow, each of the six thatched suites offers 100% exclusivity plus incredible wildlife sightings. The air-conditioned suites each feature a beautiful, plantation-style bedroom, with a luxuriously spacious ensuite bathroom and dressing room that blends a sense of old-world luxury with quirky, contemporary features.

Phinda Vlei Lodge is located within Phinda Private Game Reserve. This reserve encompasses an impressive 28 555 hectares (70 560 acres) of protected wildlife land in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Showcasing one of the continent’s finest game viewing experiences, Phinda is home to Africa’s Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino) and 436 bird species. In addition, the reserve is famous for close-up sightings of the elegant yet elusive cheetah and the rare black rhino.


game viewing from the fire pit at phinda vlei lodge

Phinda Private Reserve is often described as ‘Seven Worlds of Wonder.’ Phinda Vlei Lodge (KZN) fits fantastically into this magnificent tapestry of woodland, grassland, wetland, and forest, interspersed with mountain ranges, rivers, marshes, and pans. Home to 1 000 hectares of Africa’s remaining rare dry sand forest, the reserve is near the unspoiled beaches and spectacular coral reefs of the Indian Ocean, providing guests with an opportunity to combine bush and beach adventures.

Guests at Phinda experience unforgettable interpretive game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles, led by professionally trained rangers and trackers, as well as a wide range of optional adventures.

Choose from a range of exciting Phinda Adventures such as specialist walking and tracking safaris, a sleep-out under the stars, an infrared Night Eye drive, and other participative conservation experiences such as rhino notching or pangolin tagging.

Game Drives

Hosted by expert guides and trackers in specially adapted 4×4 safari vehicles, you will have the opportunity to enjoy early morning game drives and spot-lit night drives. Set off in search of the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, and rhino) and an array of other fascinating creatures such as wild dog, hippo, cheetah, and many bird species.

Game drives accommodate a maximum of six guests and usually include refreshment stops along the way that allow you to stretch your legs and admire your breathtaking location. Your guide will share stores and anecdotes based on an intimate knowledge of the park and its surrounds.

Safari guides are trained in sensitive off-roading practices to allow close-up game sightings. This adventure offers the perfect introduction to South Africa’s wildlife and is a must for first-time safari-goers.

Phinda is home to a magnificent variety of wildlife, including the Big Five. However, it is best known for its large cheetah and black rhino population. In addition, the sand forest is home to the shy Suni and the rare red duiker; two tiny antelope seldom encountered elsewhere.

zwarofski binoculars for the duration of your stay


Morning Game Drives: The morning game drive leaves between 5:30 am, and 6 am. Your guide will select a spot to enjoy the stunning views while enjoying a morning refreshment.

Afternoon Game Drives: The afternoon game drive leaves between 4 and 5 pm. After sundowners and snacks, your guides will use the spotlight to find nocturnal animals before returning to the lodge for Dinner.

Reasons to love Phinda Vlei Lodge:

  • Personalized butler service

  • Variety of intimate dining settings

We can arrange at an additional charge:

  • Phinda Adventures include Zulu village tours, Maputaland beach adventures, night turtle drives (seasonal), scuba safaris, an ocean safari, black rhino tracking on foot, and participative conservation experiences (elephant, rhino, pangolin)

  • Specialist Safaris include birding, infrared night eye, photographic, specialist walking, family and private safaris

EXPLORE: Why not speak to us about customizing your tour to South Africa with experience combining Phinda & Ngala Tented Camp or Sabi Sands.


Phinda Vlei’s fresh new look is inspired by the elegant, turn-of-the-century, plantation-style homesteads of KwaZulu-Natal’s sugarcane and pineapple barons. As a result, it boasts a wonderfully diverse and rich identity that is, at the same time, homely and nostalgic.

Guests can also take advantage of a private lap pool and game viewing deck that overlooks a grassy meadow, where they can observe antelope grazing nearby, as well as a variety of birdlife.

Guests can look forward to interiors accented with antique tapestries, fine art, vintage cotton and linens, and elegant silver and crystal ware. Each air-conditioned suite features a spacious room, luxurious ensuite bathroom, and a dressing room. The ensuite bathroom provides a sense of old-world luxury, while the suite’s interiors showcase a mix of curated antiques and collectibles.

phinda vlei lodge at night

Unwind in the beautiful surrounds of the main guest area, which also includes a handsome library and a convivial fire pit setting – perfect for pre-dinner drinks! Mealtimes are a delightful affair, with various locations to indulge in the lodge’s delectable menus, one of which is a spacious, all-weather deck that allows for al fresco dining with spectacular views of the surrounding wetland.

Getting to Phinda Vlei Lodge (KZN)

  • Airlink offer daily scheduled flights from Johannesburg to Phinda Private Game Reserve.
  • Connect Phinda Private Game Reserve to Johannesburg, Cape Town,  Ngala Private Game Reserve,  Kirkman’s Kamp, northern Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Londolozi, Ulusaba, Vilanculos, and Livingstone. All flights route through either Nelspruit or Skukuza
  • Private charters from anywhere in South Africa can be arranged to &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve’s airstrip
  • It is a seven-hour drive from Johannesburg on good roads in a two-wheel-drive vehicle
  • It is a three and a half-hour drive from Durban on good roads in a two-wheel-drive vehicle


impala graze during dinner at phinda vlei lodge

A typical summer day at Phinda Vlei Lodge:
(Kindly note, times may vary slightly, and winter timings are different)

  • 05h30 Wake-up call at the room
  • 06h00 Light breakfast in the central area
  • 06h30 Depart for your morning activity: game drive, nature walk
  • 10h30 Return from the morning activity
  • 11h00 Brunch
  • Afternoon at leisure – possible activities: Swimming pool, curio shop, spa
  • 15h30 Afternoon Tea
  • 16h00 Depart on afternoon game drive
  • 19h30 Return from the game drive
  • 20h00 Dinner under the stars (weather permitting)

Image Gallery

Rates at Phinda Vlei Lodge

Luxury Suite
R12900.00 PPPN

Fully inclusive of:

  • Accommodation
  • Three meals daily
  • Soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits and beers, teas and coffees and refreshments on game drives
  • Laundry
  • Safari activities
  • One hour nature walks accompanied by experienced armed trackers (subject to availability)
  • Emergency medical evacuation insurance
  • VAT
  • Transfers to and from the lodge airstrip
  • A complimentary pair of Swarovski Optik binoculars per room for use during your stay

Rates exclude:

  • Administration fee
  • Telephone calls
  • Safari shop purchases
  • Gratuities
  • All items of a personal nature
  • Champagne, cognacs, fine wines, premium brand spirits and cigars
  • Government bed levy
  • Conservancy or park fees
  • Landing fees
  • Phinda Adventures

Extra Info

Guests must be vigilant at all times. The camp is not fenced and wild animals are free to roam. Security guards accompany guests at all times while walking around the camp at night.

Passports Everyone traveling to South Africa must have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the end of travel.

No inoculations are legally required for entry. However, you may want to check with your local immunization and inoculation clinic for their recommendations on health precautions for travel to South Africa.

Phinda is a low-risk malaria area and precautions should be taken

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