Phinda Zuka Lodge

African hospitality means treating each guest as though your house were his own. At the sole-use Phinda Zuka Lodge they have taken this concept a step further, giving you your own private holiday home in Africa! With four bush cottages and a team of welcoming staff completely at your disposal, feel free to create your own African experience.

Everything you need is right within reach - your personal game ranger and game drive vehicle, an interactive kitchen with a dedicated chef, a butler to see to your daily needs, a comfortable library with Internet access and TV for the children, a sitting room with a fireplace for evening chats, your own swimming pool and even a private watering hole for your own exclusive wildlife encounters. With no set timetable or routine, savour the wonders of the bush at your own pace and leisure.

With a dedicated ranger and vehicle on standby, game drives are tailored just for you. Your personal chef awaits in the interactive kitchen, so choose your own menu or opt to be surprised. Join in the cooking or give instructions and watch your favourite recipes take shape! Indulge in banter at the large dining table or enjoy an al fresco meal in the garden.

The cropped garden lawn ends in a popular watering hole that entices many a four-legged visitor. When the temptation of the water gets too much simply take a dip in the sparkling lodge pool or follow the example of the resident water monitor lizard and bask immobile in the sun on the extended pool deck.

Should you want a little privacy, each bush cottage has its own private sitting area and ensuite bathroom. At the end of the day, revel in the relaxation of an oversized bathtub set in a circular stone bath chamber. Round off the evening with a nightcap in the generous sitting room overlooking the watering hole, where herds of antelope may be settling in for the night or an opportunistic owl may be making a meal of the insects attracted to the light shining on the water.

If you have booked Phinda Zuka Lodge for the sole use of your party, you will have a dedicated team of staff at your disposal, including a ranger and tracker, as well as 4x4 safari vehicle, and you can choose to spend the day as you wish instead of following the programme set out below.



As dawn breaks over the African bush, a gentle tap on your door will wake you to the delights of a new day. Your ranger will discuss what you hope to see that day over fragrant tea or coffee and morning biscuits or rusks. &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve is renowned for its exceptional sightings of the elusive cheetah and the rare black rhino, as well as the Big Five. There is also a number of resident lion prides and rangers will do their best to provide you with an exceptional sighting of all of these animals.



Return to your lodge for a delicious breakfast, with platters of fruit and cheese followed by a selection of hot breakfast dishes. Choose from eggs, oats, waffles or a number of other options.



If you wish, you can walk off your breakfast near your lodge, accompanied by your ranger, who will share his insight into the smaller animals and vegetation in the area, before returning in time for lunch.



Cool off with a refreshing dip in the pool, indulge in an afternoon siesta or simply watch the wildlife from your private veranda. Over a late afternoon tea, your ranger will discuss what you hope to see during the afternoon game drive.



This game drive begins in the late afternoon and lasts until after dark, when spotlights are used for a glimpse into the nocturnal bush life. Listen to lions roar in the dark or admire the small nocturnal animals. Enjoy sundowners in a scenic location as the sun slowly sinks beneath the horizon.



A mouthwatering dinner is waiting for you at your lodge's boma or in a surprising bush location.


Enjoy early morning and late afternoon game drives that continue after nightfall. &Beyond's professionally trained guides will ask you about your favorite wildlife and will do their best to ensure that your preferences are met, whether it is tracking a particular species or spending more time enjoying each sighting and getting to know the habits of the animals. They will also tell you about the vegetation of the region and will explain the behavior of the animals that you come across.

In some cases, the guides will be able to identify individual animals and let you know about their history and habits. &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve is renowned for its exceptional sightings of the elusive cheetah and the rare black rhino, as well as the Big Five. There is also a number of resident lion prides and rangers will do their best to provide you with an exceptional sighting of all of these animals.

Beyond twice-daily game drives, there are bush walks; Zulu village tours; night turtle drives (seasonal); scuba and ocean safaris; black rhino tracking on foot; participative conservation experiences; Cheetah, black and white rhino, lion, nyala! Additional costs apply to the following experiences:


Spend the night sleeping directly beneath the stars in the heart of the bush on this thrilling overnight adventure. As the sun sets at the end of your afternoon game drive, you will arrive at a beautiful clearing in the midst of the bush, where comfortable beds with warm duvets and blankets, as well as billowing mosquito nets, are set up for you. Pull your chair up to the blazing campfire and toast the sunset as darkness deepens. Enjoy a delicious meal prepared on the open fire and fall asleep in utter tranquility, surrounded by Africa’s night sounds and kept safe by an armed guard.
Additional costs apply.

Slip on a pair of walking shoes and spend the morning with an expert ranger and tracker to find the rare and endangered black rhino on foot. Follow rhino tracks, recognise rhino middens and scratching posts, and read the signs of the bush in search of your quarry.
Additional costs apply

Designed for families with children who are wanting to experience the wonders of the African bush together, each safari is planned with the guide taking into account the children’s ages, their interests, the family’s preferences and fun seasonal activities available.
Additional costs apply.

Recognised as one of the top ten dive sites in the world, Sodwana Bay offers an abundance of fish and marine life throughout the year. The gullies, ledges and pinnacles of the coral reef are home to more than 1 200 fascinating fish species. 
Additional costs apply


For those looking for an active thrill beyond the excitement of Big Five sightings on a game drive vehicle, &Beyond’s Luxury Walking Safaris offer an opportunity to connect with the African bush, interacting with all its inhabitants, from largest to smallest. Embark on an adventure where your feet tread in the tracks of zebra and buffalo, your nostrils fill with the scent of crushed wild grasses as you push through the bush and all six senses re-awaken as Africa touches you and you touch Africa.
Additional costs apply


The vast sandy beaches of the Maputaland coastline provide a beautiful setting for a half-day beach outing. Soak up the sun, splash in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, relax with a good book, play beach games, take leisurely walks along the shoreline or snorkel alongside Jesser Point, a protected marine reserve.
Additional costs apply


Photographic enthusiasts, from beginners to advanced, can now capture the wondrous landscapes and magical creatures of &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, by taking advantage of a fully-equipped photographic safari vehicle. Fitted with state-of-the-art camera mounts, and catering for a maximum of four guests, you have the option of only booking the vehicle or choosing to have an expert photographic guide accompany you (subject to availability).
Additional costs apply


Planned especially for you, this exclusive safari allows you to explore the bushveld with your very own dedicated ranger, tracker and vehicle. Game drives can be as long or as short as you wish. Meals can be enjoyed at the lodge, picnic-style outdoors or enjoyed under the shade of the trees. Your specific areas of interest can be covered, from the insect kingdom to great herds of buffalo or prides of lion.  Additional costs apply


Accompanied by a specialist birding ranger, set out in search of nearly 415 bird species that inhabit Phinda’s seven diverse habitats. Leaving the lodge in the pre-dawn dusk, you will have the best chance of seeing as many of Phinda’s most well-known species, from the Rudd’s Apalis to Neergard’s Sunbird or Narina Trogon.
Additional costs apply


Whilst enjoying the exceptional Big Five at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, why not treat yourself to an Ocean Safari that offers a wonderful opportunity to encounter some of South Africa’s beautiful marine life. This exciting adventure, aboard an inflatable vessel and in the company of a certified dive master, offers the prospect of encountering and swimming with wild dolphins, snorkelling amidst flourishing reefs and the chance to view humpback and southern right whales (seasonal).
Additional costs apply


Experience the thrill of tracking animals on foot, accompanied by an armed specialist ranger and tracker team. Engage all your sense as you discover a world where each sound, scent and bent blade of grass has a meaning.

Additional costs apply


(Available November to February)
For four months during the southern hemisphere summer, the enormous leatherback and loggerhead turtles emerge from the Indian Ocean at Sodwana Bay to lay their precious eggs in the sand. As the moon rises over the ocean, excitement grows as you drive along the deserted coastline in search of fresh turtle tracks that emerge from the ocean and travel along the beach in search of a suitable nesting site. Watch as the female turtle digs her nest and lays her clutch of up to a hundred eggs.
Additional costs apply


Be invited into an authentic Zulu homestead, visit the training school of a local sangoma, or traditional healer, and shop for exquisite handicrafts in the community surrounding &Beyond Phinda. Get a glimpse into the rituals of daily life and see how tribal culture and traditional affect rural Zulu villagers in the modern world.
Additional costs apply




Yes; no children under 16 on Walking Safaris; children 5 years and younger cannot participate in game drives; children aged 6 to 11 permitted on game drives at the lodge manager’s discretion

Available at an additional cost

One (only for children 16 years or younger and only when lodge is booked for sole use)

All convertible to doubles












Yes, with assistance

15m / 50ft

12h00 – 14h00 / 11h00

Available with prior notice and at extra cost

220v AC

Yes, in guest area and suites


Visa, Diners, Amex, MasterCard


Gym in a bag available on request

Subtropical climate with hot, humid and wet summers from September to April and warm to cool and dry winters from May to August

Rainfall averages 1 000mm / 39” per annum. Much of the rainfall comes in the form of short, intense afternoon thundershowers. Rain can be expected throughout the year

Summer: daytime temperatures above 35˚C / 95˚F Winter: night-time temperature rarely drops below 10˚C / 50˚F

All year round; best game viewing from March to end of September

The reserve is situated in a lowrisk malaria area

The Phinda airstrip is not registered; coordinates are S27˚.51.36’ and E32˚.18.48’

Open year round

Airlink operates daily scheduled flights directly from Johannesburg or Cape Town to Phinda Private Game Reserve‘s private airstrip. This convenient network of flights connects Phinda to many of Southern Africa’s iconic destinations including the Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sand, Victoria Falls, Mozambique, Vilanculos and Livingstone.

&Beyond guests flying via Airlink on this route have complimentary access to the VIP lounge at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit during their layovers to and from Phinda. This allows our guests all the creature comforts of home including a place to refresh and revitalize using the Executive Lounge shower facility. It also includes complimentary snacks and select beverages, VIP concierge service, complimentary newspapers, magazines, Wi-Fi, as well as access to premium beers wines and spirits, hot meals to orders and even private meeting rooms.

Scheduled domestic flights are available from Johannesburg to Durban International Airport or Richards Bay Airport. A seven-hour drive from Johannesburg on good roads in a two-wheel drive vehicle Three and a half-hour drive from Durban on good roads in a two-wheel drive vehicle.

Private charters from anywhere in South Africa can be arranged to &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve’s airstrip.

For more information on Phinda Zuka Lodge click HERE

Phinda Impact Journey
Embark on a journey of discovery with this privately guided, 7-day small group set departure journey that aims to highlight conservation and community development activities, which underpin the &Beyond ethos of “leaving the world a better place than we found it”. While traditional game drives are integral to this safari experience, this trip incorporates elements of our ranger training curriculum as well as selected conservation activities. You will also be introduced to the community surrounding &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and experience a day in the life of a school pupil.

Perfect for those who wish to travel with purpose, this small group journey offers a fantastic opportunity for growth and learning, in an exciting and stimulating environment. The exposure to authentic and exclusive community and conservation experiences, as well as gaining insight into Zulu culture, is a rare and priceless gift.

You will stay at the breath-taking &Beyond Phinda Zuka Lodge, a sole-use lodge in the southern reaches of &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, which offers its own private vehicle and guide, butler and chef. Departure dates have been carefully selected around the best climates of the year, to ensure that you are able to make the most of your adventure.

6 nights Phinda Private Game Reserve
What we love about this journey:
A small group of maximum 8 guests, which means plenty of flexibility and exclusivity.
Guided throughout by and &Beyond specialist ranger, with access to renowned conservationists.
Experience incredible opportunities to get involved with a host of signature experiences including conservation activities, learning what it takes to be a qualified &Beyond guide, and spending a day in the local community.
Unparalleled wildlife experience at &Beyond Phinda , which is host to the big five as well as excellent viewing opportunities of cheetah and the rare black rhino.
Exclusive accommodation at &Beyond Phinda Zuka Lodge, complete with private chef and butler.
Photographic Guide will guide each guest on their photographic journey and a canvas of the best photograph will be sent to you after your safari.
Includes a ZAR 15 000 donation to Phinda’s Africa Foundation Star Project.

May 12-18, 2019
Nov 24-30, 2019

Rates: from $8795 per person/double occupancy – contact us for inclusions, availability & details.

Day 1: Welcome
On arrival at &Beyond Phinda Zuka Lodge, you will have the opportunity to settle in before enjoying your first game drive in the reserve.

Afterwards, unwind with pre-dinner drinks and an orientation of your upcoming adventures, hosted by Les Carlisle, &Beyond’s Group Conservation Manager. His discussion will reveal what is planned for the week and aims to provide an explanation for this safari experience, what you will be discovering and learning, and why specific activities were chosen.

Day 2: Game drives, photography and exploring ranger training and ethics
It’s an early start today, as you wake for a day that is focused on photography and exploring ranger training and ethics.

Start your day with a game drive, followed by breakfast at the lodge. Your morning’s adventure will offer insight into the role of a ranger, what their job entails and what needs to be accomplished in order to successfully meet our &Beyond requirements.

You will also participate in an informative wildlife photography lesson to help you capture your sightings and adventures with us. These photographs will be used to create a wonderful photographic canvas that will be presented to you at the end of your stay. Afterwards, put your guiding hat on and embark on a bush walk, where you will be introduced to the art of tracking and tree and plant identification. Relish a delicious lunch back at the lodge and then enjoy an afternoon game drive with a frogging expedition (if frogs are active), which involves listening for distinct frog sounds, tracking them down, identifying and photographing them.

In the evening, gaze up at the sky and marvel at the celestial constellations of the Southern Hemisphere and revel in a stars presentation and identification session.

Day 3: An introduced to birding, ranger rifle training, and a sleep out in the wild…
Today, you will put what you learnt from the previous day into practice, on an early morning game drive. You will also be introduced to birding; learning about bird physiology, behaviour and breeding. Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to take part in a bird ringing exercise, which involves netting and recording measurements, and ringing the bird for monitoring purposes, before releasing it.

After a fun-filled morning, you will head back to the lodge to tuck into a hearty breakfast before setting off for another bush walk to focus on fine-tuning your awareness skills when walking through the wilderness.

Learn how to carry a rifle, followed by practical ranger rifle training, and then participate in a thrilling simulation of a lion charge and the drills that need to take place. Enjoy a delectable lunch back at the lodge, and the opportunity to unwind, before a late afternoon/evening game drive that focuses on tracking and viewing nocturnal wildlife.

The drive then culminates in a bush dinner and an exciting sleep out in the wild. You will be protected by guards throughout your night’s stay.

Day 4: Walking Safari and tracking, craft gin and tonic and food pairing
Wake up early and head into the bush for an exhilarating walking safari, where all the elements that you have learnt over the last two days are put into practice. From your sleep out camp, you will be given instructions on how to navigate back to the lodge, and as you make your way, your identification skills on birds and trees will be called upon.

You will be under the guidance of your ranger at all times, and should any fresh elephant, buffalo or rhino tracks be encountered along the way, your group will conduct a tracking exercise, using the skills learnt earlier in the week, so as to be able to view these animals on foot.

Enjoy an afternoon at leisure and look forward to an evening game drive, with a stop in the wilderness that focuses on hospitality. Enjoy a private, craft gin and tonic and food pairing, craft beer and biltong paring, or wine and cheese tasting.

Day 5: Community trip, a traditional craft market followed by enjoyable afternoon safari
Today, you will have the opportunity to explore a local community just outside of the reserve. Gain insight, and contribute towards, some of the projects that the Africa Foundation (&Beyond’s community development partner) is undertaking. Interact with members of the community and gain knowledge and perspective into their everyday life. You will also have the opportunity learn about the Zulu culture during your outing.

Spend the morning at Nkomo Primary School, where you can sit in on the children’s morning assembly.

Afterwards, assist in preparing lunch meals for children at the OVC Centre (Orphans and Vulnerable Children Centre), and help serve meals. Interact with a classroom of kids, and present a short presentation to the children, which is in line with their school curriculum. The outline will be provided to you and will cover elements that relate to geography, history and life orientation. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the community and visit a traditional craft market, and then a local clinic.

Head back to the lodge for tea and then an exciting evening game drive ahead.

Day 6: Conservation day – actively partake in some of the research projects and conservation experiences
This morning, you will gain insight into the activities of the conservation team based at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, and actively partake in some of the research projects, which are currently being conducted on the reserve.

Wake early and depart from the lodge with a reserve wildlife research technician. You will be introduced to the various monitoring programs that are being carried out and will have the opportunity to assist in the tracking of the various species being monitored. You will then assist in recording the necessary data required for the various research programs. After this, depending on the research requirement, you will be able to participate in either a Rhino notching exercise – the research teams to carry out an ear notching exercise (for monitoring purposes) OR Collaring of a rhino to better locate for monitoring purposes – if necessary, you may be able to participate in a dehorning exercise to protect the rhino from poachers

After an exhilarating morning, enjoy a picnic breakfast in the bush and learn how to use the researchers’ telemetry equipment, which is essential in helping to track wildlife.

Following breakfast, re-join the wildlife monitoring team and head out in search of elephant herds, to assist the team in collecting data, which is used to inform the numerous research projects that focus on elephant, about their behaviour and role in the greater ecosystem. After your time in the bush, have a late lunch at the lodge, and later an evening game drive.

Day 7: Departure
After tucking into a wholesome breakfast at the lodge, you will have a wrap-up and debrief session of the weeks’ activities with Les Carlisle and Andrew Schoeman. There will be a handover of a photography canvas from the pictures taken during your time on safari. You will then be collected for your homeward flight, via Airlink, to O.R Tambo International Airport.