Located on the Elephant Coast, in Maputuland, Kwazulu-Natal, in the Isimangaliso World Heritage Park, Thonga Beach Lodge is exactly as it sounds: a first class beach retreat.
Accessed by means of a steep sandy road, set on the edge of eucalyptus forest, among the protected dunes, Thonga Beach Lodge is constructed entirely of sustainable materials – thatch and wood – and is positioned in such a way as to have little or no impact on the host environment. Largely raised, and built into natural spaces, it consists of a main lodge and 12 suites.
The shared areas include a seating area, bar, spa, pool, shop, beach sala and dining room. Characterised by open sides and a cavernous ceiling, the main lodge’s architecture makes the most of local knowledge with regards to creating dwellings that are at once cool, spacious and welcoming.
Food & service
Set apart, the rondavel dining room (a traditional building with a circular, inverted cone roof) is a delight, and the standard of food is high. The beef and ostrich steaks, the homemade muffins, breads and cakes all are singled out for a deserved special mention.
The service is laid back, efficient and friendly – a perfect combination – and is the recipient unfailingly good feedback.
Situated at the edge or into the forest, each sleeping room includes a double bed, seating area, en suite bathroom and private veranda. Beautifully lit, simple, airy and marked by blonde woods, plenty of glass and reed walls, everything about the room is well planned, and the bathroom is just as fine.
Activities at Thonga Beach Lodge include diving, fishing, snorkelling, beach sports, turtle tracking, massages, guided walks, Lake Sibaya visits, bird watching and Tsonga cultural visits.
We recommend visiting between May and September, when it is dry and a touch cooler.
In keeping with the general ethos of the area, Thonga Beach Lodge recruits locally from Mabibi village, and the shop stocks fantastic Mabibi produced art and artefacts.