Thonga lodge and Phinda mountain lodges were exceptional.
The warmth and service level from all the south africans we came across whatever their colour was outstanding. The zulu population we came across were very proud to share their culture, food and experiences with us. The Rand to GBP/EUR exchange rate makes SA a very favourable and attractive holiday destination.
The raods were all in great condition making the self drive very do-able. However we had terrible problems with google maps Africa which was not accurate and we were directed to completely the wrong destination for each of our hotels!! BEWARE and study the destination addresses and routes very carefully before you leave.
The rooms were too small. Would have preferred a family suite and more space. 3 in a room was a squeeze and not ideal. The public areas in the hotel itself were fantastic. Great service, wonderful food and lots of options where to eat. The gym was well equipped and the shop had everything we needed. The car was whisked away and parked up without us needing to worry.
An incredible location for a small but well thought out hotel complex. Depite the incredibly long and difficult access to the lodge, once settled it all seemed well worth while. The family adjoining rooms were amazing. Lots of space in each room and lots of privacy for the parents. Loved the enormous parents bed with the mosquito net. The lodges were tucked away in the foliage and totally hidden from the beach which was only metres away. The sound of the waves at night was magical. All activities were great and we participated in everything even the ocean safari at extra cost and the spa which were superb using local products.
The highlight of the trip. The rooms were beautiful and very well styled. The family adjoining wall was not well insulated and you could hear everything so not too much privacy for the parents. The 2xday safaris were incredible and the staff bent over backwards to surprise us at every turn. They even adapted the rules to accommodate our 4 year old on the game drives which was a thrill for us all. Our tracker Sefiso (local zulu) and our ranger Darryn made our experience at Phinda unforgettable. Their knowledge and talent at spotting animals from smells, tracks and dung were impressive. It is unusual to have young children on drives but all the staff did all they could to keep them entertained and throw in some activities to keep them busy (cooking, jeep painting, scorpion hunting). I would go back to this lodge in a flash especially as it is without an easy drive from Durban airport (2.5 hours).
Nikki was amazing. She was slick, professional and she totally understood our needs coming up with itineraries which were well suited to our family at the budget we set.