Thonga Beach Lodge

Location: Kwa-Zulu Natal
No of rooms: 24 bed luxury lodge
One Stop Reason to Go: The diving is out of this world and offers a once in a lifetime opportunity.

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Thonga Beach Lodge set on the pristine shores of the Maputuland coast, KwaZulu-Natal is the ideal place to discover one of the most unspoiled wilderness beaches left on the African continent. Mabibi is a magical place of coastal forests, grasslands, bush, shimmering lakes and exquisite sandy beaches.

Set above a private, secluded bay, Thonga Beach Lodge is nestled into beautiful coastal dune forest with sweeping views of the stunning beach below. The thatched bush suites provide guest privacy and were carefully constructed to ensure minimal impact on the environment. The lodge offers luxurious accommodation, mouth-watering meals and, with the nearby crystal clear, warm waters of one of South Africa’s best dive sites, the most awe-inspiring snorkeling and off-shore scuba diving. Thonga Beach Lodge is also only a 25-minute drive from Lake Sibaya (Southern Africa’s largest freshwater lake), which is part of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, now internationally recognised as a World Heritage Site.

Large coastal Milkwood trees envelope the carefully constructed Thonga Beach Main Lodge takes full advantage of its incredible position while being in complete harmony with the environment. The dining area, a large thatched ‘rondavel’, opens on to an expansive wooden deck, where guests can enjoy Maputuland’s sultry weather and the lodge’s sumptuous meals – either served al fresco here on the decking or, guests can head for the beach and dine by candlelight on the shores of the Indian Ocean. The lounge is the perfect place to unwind after a day at the beach with sofas to sink into and warming fire with views of the beach as well as the incredible forest surrounding the lodge. It’s the ideal spot to relax with a sundowner or catch a breathtaking sunrise over a steaming mug of coffee. To beat the midday heat, guests can take it easy beside the lodge’s swimming pool or enjoy a delicious cocktail at the bar with its unique “ocean” bar counter. For those needing a little pampering, the lodge also has a rejuvenation centre where guests can revitalise body, mind and soul.

Thonga Beach Lodge’s spacious, thatched suites are hidden in the coastal dune forest and raised on wooden stilts to ensure no harm comes to the sensitive dune soils. Luxuriously decorated, the rooms exude a romantic ambiance with bleached wood, glass and natural materials wisely and creatively being used to create an open, airy feel. The en-suite rooms have a bathroom with bath, shower and twin vanity. Every suite has air conditioning. Inspired by Thonga architecture, the rooms have been carefully positioned to guarantee guest privacy with some rooms offering sea views whilst others are set within the dune forest and all including private balconies.

Please note that Thonga is an eco friendly lodge in a World Heritage site and is built into an extremely sensitive Milkwood Forest. In order to preserve the natural vegetation, the cutting down of trees is not permitted and as a result, over the years this forest has grown and now some Seaview rooms do not have a full 180-degree seaview.

Naturally with such a location, Thonga Beach Lodge has a superb array of water-based activities, from snorkeling to a boat tour along the Elephant Coast.

Mabibi offers superb snorkeling opportunities with a great diversity of underwater seascapes and marine flora and fauna. The shallow reefs along this protected stretch of coastline are home to an array of brilliant sub-tropical fish including Moorish idols, parrotfish and blue surgeons. For the more adventurous,

Scuba diving at Mabibi is phenomenal, with reefs located a short distance from the lodge. Shoals of game fish, sharks and schools of bottlenose dolphins are often seen. Thonga Beach Lodge’s professional diving team accommodates all enthusiasts; from the beginner to the veteran, wanting a tour of the very best the reefs have to offer – like the 1,250 fish species (Great Barrier Reef has 1500). Dives are from a semi-rigid dive boat, which accommodates a maximum of eight divers at a time. The boat launches from straight in front of the lodge directly through the surf. This can be exciting and strenuous so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Diving is limited by weather and the tides and cannot be guaranteed. Guests must have proof of their diving qualifications. The lodge regrets no children under 12 years or adults over 65 years.

The Ocean Experience is an adventure activity, which offers guests a rare opportunity to experience the variety of marine life that lives along the Elephant Coast. An exciting launch through the surf, in front of the lodge, leads beyond the breakers to a world of dolphins, whales, whale sharks and snorkeling.  The warm Indian Ocean supports a myriad of fish and marine life. Guests can sometimes swim with dolphins or whale sharks or snorkel with manta rays and giant turtles.  No experience is required for this activity, but the launch through the surf can be strenuous. The lodge regrets no children under 12 years or adults over 65 years.  Maximum number of guests is 10.  Weather and tide dependent.

Thonga Beach Lodge captures the essence of a luxury Robinson Crusoe hideaway.

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