Conservation-focused luxury travel company andBeyond has announced that Phinda Forest Lodge, located within andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, will undergo an extensive rebuild. The property will be refreshed within the context of the contemporary luxury safari, while retaining subtle references to its original “Zulu-zen” décor with a new and minimalist interior design. The project is slated for completion by December 1.
andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge was originally built in the early 1990s, whenm according to Kevin Pretorius, andBeyond managing director for South Africa Lodges, its innovative and progressive design made a huge statement on sustainability. Phinda itself started as an amalgamation of denuded farmlands in 1991 and has grown into an extensive conservancy. "What was only our second owned and operated lodge following the birth of the company at andBeyond Phinda will now be reborn," added Pretorius.
Interior designers Fox Browne Creative, who have previously worked on the refurbishments of the other five lodges on the reserve, are partnering with architectural designer Jack Alexander for the project. Set inside 2,471 acres of Africa’s last remaining dry sand forest in the north of andBeyond Phinda, the lodge embodies a commitment to minimize the impact on the environment. According to Pretorius, many of the plant species encountered in this habitat are not found anywhere else on earth. In addition, shy mammals, such as the red duiker, suni and Tonga red squirrel, are often encountered in sand forest.
Throughout the rooms and main guest areas, the interiors will be refreshed with new fixtures and finishes, blending aspects of Japanese minimalism with an ode to local culture. Elements of the forest and Zulu culture will be brought into the room through the use of tactile textures and natural materials such as woven matting, textured grass cloth wallpaper, and hardwood floors, with natural stone tiling in the bathrooms.
Phinda Forest Lodge provides guests with an exclusive, private experience, and this will be enhanced through the redirection and reduction of pathways to and from the rooms. In order to assist with the rehabilitation of the old pathways, a nursery has been established to cultivate sand forest tree species that can be planted along the trails.
In keeping with the other lodges in andBeyond’s portfolio, the family suite will comprise a standard suite linked to a newly built second bedroom, which can be accessed privately or through an additional linked passageway.
A new building will contain the library and sitting room, centered around a reading table and double-sided fireplace with surrounding areas for guests to relax. Timber sliding doors will lead to an outdoor deck with its own shaded spaces among the trees, offering views of patches of forest and the wetland areas. A wooden walkway will connect the library to a new pool area, which will include a reshaped and tiered swimming pool. An all-new massage sala will also be constructed next to the pool. Other additions will include a central fire pit located between the library and main area, offering guests the opportunity to indulge in a fireside chat before and after dinner.
Guests can also enjoy diving or ocean safaris at nearby Sodwana Bay. Depending on the season, they may also be able to enjoy expeditions to admire turtles nesting along the Indian Ocean coastline.