Safari at Phinda
Staying at Thonga Bay
The interconnecting rooms were perfect and the children loved the pool. It was a great place to start our holiday as we recovered from the flight, relaxed and ate at a number of good local restaurants. We knew we were in a different world when we saw Champagne on the breakfast buffet table!
The rooms were OK, the children's room much better than ours. The huts were clean and well constructed but it was very cold at night and dark in the rooms so there was nowhere to sit together and just 'hang out'. Had we been booked in for just one night it would have been a good experience but once we had done the 1 hour 'staged tour' and watched the dance show there really was nothing to do at all. We were expecting an interactive experience where we would be able to do things and communicate with the people there (e.g. making jewellry, spears etc). The experience was very passive and the walk about the village tour very 'set up'. Sitting in a hut watching a video about Shaka was wierd and it just felt very staged and unreal. We were very disappointed because Claire had really encouraged us to do 2 nights there and we expected something much better from what she had told us about it in advance. On the other hand the setting was amazingly beautiful and we loved watching the sunset.
We enjoyed it here in St Lucia. It was easy to get out and do things in the town and the rooms were fine. The hotel staff were very helpful with advice for trips out etc. We did an excellent bike tour around St Lucia too and had a good day driving ourselves around the Isimangaliso Park where we saw Black Rhino amongst other things.
This place is amazing! The lodge and the staff were fantastic in every respect. The food was superb, really some of the best restaurant food we've eaten - every meal was delicious and the children were also really pleased to have the option of having a kids menu too. All the activities on offer make it a really great place to both relax and to enjoy the unique environment and the guides are skilled and knowledgeable. I lost all sense of time being there, it was idyllic!
After Thonga, this was much more 'out in the bush' but very well organised and we had a really enjoyable stay (once we finally got there). The canoe trip was great and the kids loved swimming in a pool with hippos in the lake just beyond the pool. We also had a very good day doing the snorkelling trip. The children struggled more with the food here (as previously they'd had a choice each dinner) however we all had enough to eat and we enjoyed our stay here.
Phinda was top notch in every respect and we felt very fortunate to be there and have such an amazing safari. The accomodation was beautiful and the children loved being able to have soft drinks from the minibar in their room! Our rooms were next to each other and you could easily get from one to the other on the outdoor landing. I think we'd have been happy with less 'high end' accomodation & service but it was the game drives with Sibu and Tom that made our stay exceptional. We loved seeing all the animals and the Guide's experience, knowledge and tracking skills were superb, enabling the children to see all of the big 5 after only two game drives as well as a leopard in the dark! We absolutely loved it and three nights here was the perfect ending to our special trip. Thanks.
Service was personal, very responsive and helpful from Claire, particularly in organising the holiday itinary at the start and in helping us to move from Shakaland early whilst on holiday as it was not as described/expected there.
The Google maps pack was not very helpful as the roads were not main roads or it took us to an incorrect location (Phinda) - we got lost. We were glad we had hired a 4x4 and a sat nav (although that wasn't much use off the main roads).