&Beyond Phinda Forest Lodge has reopened with a fresh look in the heart of the sand forest in Northern Kwazulu Natal
Phinda Forest Lodge, managed by conservation-focused luxury travel company &Beyond, has recently reopened following a remodel. Located in the &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, the lodge underwent a reconfiguration guided by a design brief highlighting contemporary luxury safari aesthetics.
“&Beyond Phinda Forest Lodge was originally built in the early 1990s,” said Kevin Pretorius, &Beyond Managing Director for South Africa Lodges. “Back then, the lodge’s innovative and progressive design made a huge statement on sustainability, as it was sensitively constructed within the ancient sand forest with minimum impact at the heart of the project – and this rebuild has followed those same founding sustainable principles.”
The recent reconfiguration of Phinda Forest Lodge, situated within 1000 hectares of Africa’s last remaining dry sand forest in the northern region of &Beyond Phinda, embodies a commitment to mitigating environmental impact. Interior designer Fox Browne Creative, who has previously worked on the refurbishments of the other lodges on the reserve, worked with architectural designer Jack Alexander to reimagine the lodge. The existing floorplan has been reconfigured to redefine the lodge, optimise comfort and maximise the connection to the forest through framed open views.
The remodel pays homage to the surrounding environment and sand forest, through the inclusion of natural elements, using tactile textures and natural materials such as woven matting, textured grasscloth wallpaper and hardwood floors, with natural stone tiling in the bathrooms.
Additions to Phinda Forest Lodge include a family suite that comprises a contemporary designed standard suite linked to a newly built second bedroom, a wooden walkway that connects the library to the new pool area and a multi-functional building with a library and sitting room centred around a reading table and double-sided fireplace. The dining and bar areas have also been upgraded, while a nursery has been planted to rehabilitate old pathways with sand forest tree species.
The exclusive experiences at Phinda include a unique Zulu Village Tour, which allows guests to immerse themselves in traditional Zulu culture, and there is a strong focus on the conservation of species such as white and black rhinoceros, as well as Temminck’s ground pangolin. The lodge offers an array of adventure activities, including diving, ocean safaris at nearby Sodwana Bay and seasonal expeditions to admire turtles nesting along the Indian Ocean coastline.