Thonga Beach Lodge
Thonga Beach Lodge is set on the pristine shores of the Maputuland coast KwaZulu South Africa.
Thonga Beach Lodge is a 24-bed luxury lodge, 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.
Its crystal clear warm waters offer South Africa’s best snorkeling and fantastic off-shore scuba diving.
Thonga beach lodge details:
Location: set on the pristine shores of the Maputuland coast, KwaZulu-Natal.
Best time to visit: South Africa’s climate offers advantages in both seasons
meals, teas & coffees,
use of snorkelling equipment,
kayaking on Lake Sibaya,
sun downer trip to Lake Sibaya,
cultural tours to Tsonga community,
guided walks in coastal forest
Culinary, Cultural, History,Beach
Set above a 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 one of the best dive sites in the South Africa.
Thonga Beach Lodge is situated only metres from the beach and 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.
Set above a private, sandy beach and nestled into magnificent coastal dune forest, Thonga Beach Lodge captures the essence of a luxury Robinson Crusoe hideaway. Traditional Thonga fishing villages provided the inspiration for this unique retreat that celebrates the true spirit of Mother Nature.
Large coastal Milkwood trees set the scene for the ultimate beach experience. Carefully constructed into the coastal dune forest, Thonga Beach 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. Most meals will be served al fresco, or, guests can head for the beach and dine by candlelight on the shores of the Indian Ocean.
The lounge, with its comfortable couches and a cosy fireplace, is the perfect place to unwind after a day at the beach. Located upstairs from the diningroom, it offers spectacular 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 center where guests can revitalize body, mind and soul.
The 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.
Inspired by Thonga architecture, the rooms have been carefully positioned to guarantee guest privacy. Some rooms offer sea views (see rates), whilst others are set within the dune forest.
All have private balconies. Luxuriously decorated, the rooms exude a romantic ambiance. Bleached wood, glass and natural materials have been wisely 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.
*** 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, we are not permitted to cut down any of these trees and as a result, over the years this forest has grown and now some Seaview rooms do not have a full 180 degree seaview.
Thonga Beach Lodge – Activities
Mabibi offers superb snorkelling 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, parrot fish and blue surgeons.
The warm waters of the Indian Ocean make this the ideal spot to snorkel or guests can simply soak up the sun and savour the tranquility of this pristine, sandy beach.
Lake Sibaya has 100km of untouched shoreline and at 70km2 is South Africa’s largest freshwater lake. The lake falls within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, now a World Heritage Site, and the Ramsar Convention assures its international conservation status.
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.
Our professional lodge diving team accommodates all enthusiasts; from the beginner to the veteran, wanting a tour of the very best our reefs have to offer. 1,250 fish species (Great Barrier Reef has 1500) occur on the reefs in this area. Dives are from a semi-rigid dive boat which accommodates a maximum of 8 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. We regret no children under 12 years or adults over 65 years.
Open Ocean Experience
This adventure activity 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, takes you beyond the breakers to a world of dolphins, whales, whale sharks and snorkelling.
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. We regret no children under 12 years or adults over 65 years.
Maximum number of guests is 10. Weather and tide dependent.
The lake is 6km from the lodge, a 25-minute drive.
- Sundowners are offered on the shores Southern Africa’s largest fresh water lake – Lake Sibaya (70 square km). The Ramsar Convention assures its international conservation status. The lake has 125km of untouched shoreline, good bird watching and a great diversity of fauna and flora.
- Guests can also explore parts of the lake by guided kayak with the chance of seeing hippo and crocodile en route. A reasonable level of fitness is required.
- The lake’s diverse flora provides a variety of habitats for birds, mammals and aquatic life. Research reveals that hundreds of years ago the lake was once connected to the sea and with the natural closure of the estuary, numerous fish and aquatic creatures were trapped in a fresh water environment.
Lake Sibaya contains the second largest population of hippopotamus and crocodile in KwaZulu-Natal and is an important breeding, feeding and roosting area for a host of bird species. Surface water in the surrounding coastal plain often disappears completely during dry spells, making the lake the only source of permanent water for birds and mammals.
The wetland also supports many of the rural people of this region, who in many cases are totally dependent on the water resource and its associated flora and fauna. Good management, careful conservation and controlled use of resources make Lake Sibaya an example of the concept ‘wise use in action’.
Birding at Mabibi and its surrounds is excellent and the variety of habitats attracts a great diversity of species. Typical coastal species include Livingstone’s and Purplecrested Lourie, Green Twinspot, Grey Waxbill and Green Coucal.
Waders are common along the shoreline, and Pinkthroated Longclaw and Rufousbellied Heron frequent the marshy areas. Lake Sibaya has recorded 279 bird species including the Palmnut Vulture, the only fruit-eating vulture in the world. Pel’s fishing owl and pygmy goose.
Guests can head out on foot and explore this natural wonderland through coastal dune forests, unspoiled sandy beaches and grasslands. The wild beauty of Maputuland will enthrall naturalists and photographers alike.
In summer, nocturnal walks and drives along the beach in search of egg-laying turtles can be arranged. Guests can witness the culmination of an incredible journey as Giant Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in carefully prepared nests.
Turtle tracking is offered in the evening from November to end February. Every precaution is taken to ensure these magnificent creatures are not disturbed during the laying process.
The Maputuland coastline is renowned as one of South Africa’s most popular fishing destinations. Guests can try their hand at surf fishing or fly-fishing. Hully Point at Mabibi, is a well-known fly-fishing spot.
The enthusiastic angler can experience the thrill of bagging the catch of a lifetime from these brilliant waters. Thonga Beach Lodge encourages guests to “catch & release”.
Tsonga Cultural Experience
Visit a Tsonga homestead and learn about their unique heritage and culture. Spend some time with community members discussing their rural lifestyle and their vision for South Africa
You also have an opportunity to see one of the local schools and see how these young South Africans are striving for a better future under trying conditions.
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