Thonga Beach Lodge is a luxurious lodge set on the pristine shores of the Maputuland coast in northern KwaZulu-Natal, on South Africa's east coast. Private, exclusive and remote, with only 12 spacious thatched suites, the lodge is metres from the unspoilt wilderness beaches of Mabibi, with easy access to some of the best snorkelling and scuba diving in southern Africa.
- Set only metres away from an unspoilt beach
- On the edge of a magnificent coastal dune forest
- Luxurious accommodation and superb cuisine
- Air-conditioned throughout
- Easy access to the best dive sites in South Africa
- Short drive to South Africa's largest fresh-water lake
- Part of the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park (previously known as St Lucia) - World Heritage Site
Thonga Beach Lodge is a luxurious lodge set in the secluded Mabibi Bay on northern KwaZulu-Natal's Elephant Coast, in the heart of Isimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A few paces from pristine beaches and the warm Indian Ocean, Thonga offers superb snorkelling and outstanding offshore scuba diving experiences.
Intimate, island-style accommodation
Thonga consists of only 12 thatched en-suite rooms, sensitively built to merge into the coastal vegetation so as to impact as little as possible on its surrounds. There are two double deluxe suites (one of which is a family unit) with panoramic sea views and private plunge pools; three twin rooms with sea views; and seven twin rooms (two of which are family suites) with forest views. All suites are air-conditioned and have a ceiling fan, mosquito net and private balcony. Bathrooms have double vanities, stone baths and separate showers. In some sections, the vegetation is overgrown and may not be cut back so this may hinder your sea views, but there is a nice wooden deck right on the edge of the beach with loungers and chairs where you can sit and soak up the view, uninterrupted.
Main lodge activities and dive centre
Thonga Beach Lodge is set above a secluded bay and offers wonderful views of the beach below. Meals are enjoyed on the expansive wooden decks or alfresco on the beach. There is an inviting swimming pool and a spa offering pampering treatments. There are various activities on offer to keep even the most active on the go. Refresher and full scuba diving courses are offered (additional charge) at the dedicated dive centre with professional instructors, and scuba gear is available for hire. At no extra charge, you can enjoy the use of snorkelling equipment, kayaking on Lake Sibaya, a sundowner trip to Lake Sibaya, cultural tours to the local Tsonga community and guided walks in the coastal forest. Other optional activities include open water excursions, fishing (own gear required), birding and turtle tracking (in season). Surfing, kitesurfing and paddle-ski lessons are also offered.
Isimangaliso Wetland Park
Thonga Beach Lodge is a 25-minute drive from Lake Sibaya, Southern Africa's largest freshwater lake in Isimangaliso (formerly Greater St Lucia) Wetland Park. In recent years, this park has been successfully rehabilitated and restocked with game such as rhino, cheetah, elephant and wild dog. The 70 km St Lucia Estuary adds to this natural beauty with its mangroves, crocodiles, hippos and myriad bird species including the goliath heron and the fish eagle. Nearby Sodwana Bay is rated as one of the five best coral reef diving spots in the world.
By car - It's approximately an 8-hour drive from Johannesburg (650 km), 3 hours from Richards Bay and 5 hours from King Shaka International Airport, north of Durban.
By air - There are regular flights from Kruger National Park and surrounds, Johannesburg and Richards Bay. Private charters are available to the Manzengwenya airstrip, 9 km away from the lodge. Helicopters may also land here. Transfers from the airstrip to the lodge are complimentary.
Our take on Thonga Beach Lodge
One of the few lodges in this wild, pristine and very beautiful part of our eastern coastline, Thonga Beach Lodge is the perfect destination to get away from it all, yet with loads to do on your doorstep. Superb service, excellent cuisine and unbeatable scenery make this a very popular recommendation.
- Accommodation and all meals
- Teas and coffees
- Use of snorkelling equipment
- Guided walks, kayaking and sundowners at Lake Sibaya
- Cultural tours to Mabibi Community.
- Transfers to lodge from non 4x4 parking
- Park fees
- Scuba diving and equipment hire
- Items of a personal nature
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This 332,000-hectare park has three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems, 700-year-old fishing traditions, the majority of South Africa's remaining swamp forests, Africa's largest estuarine system, 526 bird species and 25,000-year-old coastal dunes – among the highest in the world. The name iSimangaliso means miracle and wonder, which aptly describes this special and scenic place.