Phinda Resource Reserve – KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
A Surf-and-Turf Safari
This relatively new private reserve in northern Zululand is a winner not only for the seven different African ecosystems that meet within its 35,000 acres, but for its novel approach to safaris. Days are full, with a medley of boat and canoe trips for close-up looks at the bird life, crocs, and hippos of ancient waterways, or tracking the elusive black rhino by foot.
Then there is big-game fishing, diving the world’s southernmost reefs off the deserted coast of Maputaland, game drives delivering elephants, leopards, and rhinos, or visiting the highest vegetated sand dunes in the world.
While there’s no doubt that such rare biodiversity is central to your safari experience, your attention will be riveted by the accommodations as well. The Mountain Lodge is set atop a hill with endless views of the Lebombo Mountains and Maputaland coastal range.
Or you can opt for the contemporary Forest Lodge, a masterpiece of glass-walled units built around twisted trees and set on stilts within a rare sand forest. The Zen-like design is deliberately spare and vaguely Oriental, allowing the great outdoors in. You can relax in bed while birds sing and butterflies flutter outside your window.