We had a wonderful time! I would absolutely go back again.
South Africa was a beautiful country and experience. We could not have had a better time! Highly recommend to anyone looking for a unique vacation.
We had an amazing time at the Mountain Lodge for our stay of 3 nights. I can't say enough good things about how wonderful the service was. Upon arrival we were greeted by Tyler and our butler for our stay Dumi. They made us feel right at home as we settled into our accommodations. The rooms are spacious, private, and offer great amenities like your own private plunge pool, outdoor shower, beautiful views, and fully stocked mini bar (with fresh limes!) The lodge has comfortable open spaces for hanging out by the bar, a beautiful dining room with views of the mountains, and a large pool with lounge chairs and plenty of shade. We were even joined by some monkies and nyala at the pool. All of the staff was always incredibly friendly and helpful with anything you needed. They made a point to remember our names and ask about our personal experience during our stay and were very genuine. Dumi, our butler, was especially attentive and knew our habits (and favorite wines!) within a few hours of our stay. She always greeted us with a smile and sparkling water. She even brought a bucket of our favorite beer and a bottle of champagne to the pool without being asked! The food was delicious and at every meal there was always a large variety offered for all tastes.
The twice a day game drives were the star of this location. Our ranger Damen was very attentive, friendly, and knowledgable. He made a point to ask about what our interests were, what animals we wanted to see, and was very enthusiastic about his job. Damen was great at educating us about the park and animals, but balanced that well with just letting us observe the animals in silence as well. He was able to answer any question we had! John was our tracker and has been at Phinda for 24 years. He knew the ins and outs of the park so well and was able to spot a leopard over 100 yards away. He was able to track down any animal we had interest in seeing and had some great stories from his time at Phinda. His experience was invaluable. He also makes a great cocoa Amarula! Damen and John made an excellent team and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with them at every single drive, though we wish it could have been for longer! We saw all Big 5, had several sightings of leopard, lion, and rhino, and had an incredible encounter with a curious elephant. Damen and John have a great respect for these beautiful animals, conservation, and a true passion for what they do. It was an absolute pleasure being with them!
If I could give Mountain Lodge 10 stars, I absolutely would. We were truly sad to leave as our time came to an end and I would 100% recommend staying here. We had an excellent experience all around and would love to go back again some day! Thank you so much to everyone who helped make our stay so special and memorable!
Bjorn was very responsive and friendly! Great to work with. We wish there would have been a little more information provided ahead of the travel documents being sent so that we could prepare for the rest of our trip. The travel docs arrived pretty close to our departure so it did not give us a ton of time to review etc. We felt a little under-prepared even with the paperwork that was sent. For example there were vouchers included in the pre-travel paperwork, but no instructions on what to do with them. We did bring them with us, but did not need to present them at the lodge or anything. There was plenty of general travel information sent about what to pack, weather, emergency numbers, etc. which was appreciated. There was no check in time so we were not quite sure what to expect. Bjorn was great about getting us an awesome rate, it was the best we could find and he was very willing and helpful with presenting different transportation options to/from the park.