If the idea of an African safari appeals — minus the camping — Phinda Homestead, an andBeyond villa in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, will offer a seamless blend of luxury and family-friendly adventure when it reopens in the fall of 2018. Best of all, the four-bedroom, air-conditioned property is a member of andBeyond’s WILDchild program, bursting with fun, educational safari adventures for young travelers. The idea is to experience nature in comfort and to expose children to wildlife in one of South Africa’s most pristine settings.
The Phinda Homestead, a sole-use villa, is in the process of being rebuilt following a fire in December 2016, with updates designed to make the already popular property even more appealing. Interior designers Fox Browne Creative decorate the new lodge in the style of a contemporary bush home, using raw, indigenous materials and unusual accents that pay homage to the reserve’s past as a pineapple farm. Other design touches include such traditional motifs as Nguni hides, Zulu craftwork and images of wildlife. Zulu basketwork and weaving will be featured throughout the villa, with the signature woven latticework appearing in unexpected places, and the furniture will offer touches of 1980s retro design. Overall, the look is that of a private home, offering both privacy and elegance.
The bedrooms are laid out to encourage the use of the villa’s shared guest spaces, while oversized bathrooms boast marble basins shaped like traditional Zulu pots.
The villa will also feature a gym and massage room, and the library will include pineapple motifs, again referencing the reserve’s history. Other features include a spacious deck with an island bar, a decorative herb garden just outside the kitchen, WiFi throughout and complimentary laundry services. In addition, a bedroom for a nanny is available.
Other amenities include a dedicated butler and chef, as well as a full rim-flow swimming pool.
The villa comes with its own dedicated Jeep, which guests can use for the duration of their stay, as well as the services of a safari ranger. Twice-daily safari excursions can include bush walk, Zulu village tours, seasonal night turtle drives, Scuba and ocean safaris, black rhino tracking on foot and participation in conservation experiences. Activities are customized according to guests’ wishes, and children can accompany outings.
Meanwhile, the WILDchild program offers children andBeyond backpacks on their first safari day, along with a scrapbook and trinket, such as a beaded bracelet, animal key ring or small wooden carving.
Rangers help kids fill up their scrapbooks while guiding them on fun and educational safari adventures, such as Maasai obstacle courses, building a fire and roasting marshmallows, identifying butterflies on forest walks and making necklaces from the Okavango Delta’s water lilies.
andBeyond Phinda Homestead will reopen Sept. 1, 2018, and reservations are now open. The private game reserve encompasses more than 70,000 acres of protected wildlife land in KwaZulu-Natal and is accessible via daily scheduled flights from Johannesburg to Phinda’s private airstrip.
andBeyond is a luxury experiential travel company specializing in personalized high-end tours in 15 countries in Africa, five in Asia and four in South America. Additionally, the company owns and operates 29 lodges and camps in Africa’s safari and island destinations and offers small-group, set-departure journeys throughout Africa, Asia and South America.
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