The Lebombo mountains are perhaps some of the most wildlife-rich on the planet, yet are not well known outside local circles. They don’t feature snow-capped peaks or jagged ridges rising to unimaginable heights. They are in fact not the most impressive range. Yet probably along no other range of hills and mountains will you find more leopards, more lions, more elephants, and more amazing encounters than in the Lebombos.
Stretching from the north of the Kruger National park all the way down its eastern edge, down through Swaziland into South Africa, they start tapering out just as they reach one of this latter country’s finest safari destinations; Phinda Mountain Lodge.
Phinda Reserve is one of conservation’s greatest success stories. Formed from denuded pineapple farms and restocked with wildlife during the 90s, Phinda is now one of the most biodiverse reserves in Southern Africa, comprising over 70 000 acres of Big 5 country with an impressive bird list of 436.
Mountain Lodge was one of the original camps built here, and its three room types (suites, cottages – which can be turned into adjoining family style cottages – and family suite) mean there is something for every type of traveller.
If it’s romance you’re after, there will be more than enough solitude for you and your partner… why not book a private vehicle?
If you’re travelling with a family, great! The &Beyond WildChild program will keep your kids entertained with interactive adventures, perfect for mum and dad to enjoy some down-time.
Apart form world-class game viewing, it is the pioneering conservation experiences that Phinda now offers that are setting it apart from much of the rest of the industry. As a guest, it is now possible to accompany rangers and scientists in their careful monitoring programs of endangered species like Black Rhinos and Pangolins.
Participating in a rhino notching or dehorning, or laying your hands on a sleeping elephant while researchers attach a collar to it is an experience that will leave you truly moved.
Then of course there is the wildlife. Phinda is famed for its cheetahs in particular, with “the Marsh” – an open area in the north of the reserve – offering great hunting grounds for these fastest mammals on earth.
As you move through an amazing range of habitats (the unique Sand Forest is a must-visit!) you will encounter elephants, lions, black and white rhino, leopard, and an entire supporting cast of antelope and other small inhabitants of the bush.
Phinda is most definitely part of only a small group of lodges that continue to set the standard in both luxury wildlife experiences and conservation initiatives. At only a few hours drive from Durban or an easy flight in, it is also one of South Africa’s most accessible lodges for a quick weekend away…
With &Beyond offering special rates at the moment, get in touch if you fancy a trip to one of the country’s premier safari destinations…