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Thonga Beach Lodge

Our rating

9/10

Price guide

Price rating 5

Highlights

- Stunning Remote Beach Lodge
- Protected Snorkelling from the beach
- Diving & Marine Safaris
- Big Beachs & Warm Seas

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Overview

Thonga Beach Lodge is in the heart of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, the very north coast of KwaZulu Natal, almost on the border with Mozambique. A pristine section of the Maputuland coast with coastal forests, grasslands, bush, lakes and long stretches of beach. This Indian Ocean coast line offers snorkelling and off shore scuba diving.

We feel that Thonga is easily the best beach lodge in South Africa and highly recommend it. It is however much in demand and you will need to book early to get space here.

Set in the coastal dune forest, this low impact lodge is just metres from the beach. The dining area has spectacular ocean views which can be enjoyed from the expansive decks where most meals are served al-fresco or evening meals on the beach. The lounge area is upstairs with comfy sitting areas and fireplace to retreat to in the evenings. There is a central swimming pool with ‘ocean’ cocktail bar.

The bedrooms are spacious, thatched suites on raised wooden stilts, dotted around the coastal dunes, some with sea views and some hidden in the dune forest. The light woods, glass and natural materials used give the rooms a light and airy feel. All are air-conditioned with en-suite bathroom, shower and double hand basins.

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park has eight eco-systems, three lake systems, swamp forests, coastal dunes, sustainable fishing traditions and large diversity of bird life. Mabibi offers excellent snorkelling and all equipment will be provided by the lodge to enjoy the array for subtropical fish on the shallow reef. Lake Sibaya is only 25 minutes from the lodge and is Southern Africa’s largest fresh water lake, explore the lake by guided kayak excursion, requiring a reasonable level of fitness. There is a Tsonga homestead nearby and guided, interactive visits area available. Guided walks are suggested through the coastal dune forests, grasslands and sandy beaches.

Optional activities include scuba diving, the reefs are only short distance from the lodge and offer all from beginner to experienced divers to enjoy the 1250 fish species. Due to the nature of the ocean in the area, this will all be subject to sea conditions. Open ocean boat trip launched from the lodge, which can be strenuous but once out you may spot dolphins, whales, whale sharks and a variety of other fish and marine life. In the summer months November to February, careful, evening turtle tracking is offered, in search of Giant Leatherback and Loggerhead turtle nests.

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Suggested Itineraries for Thonga Beach Lodge

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

Combine superb big five safari at Rhino Ridge Lodge then relax amidst the luxury of Thonga Beach Lodge.

Tailor-made Luxury 9 days

Adults from $3,281 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,067 per person economy class from London

Families from $2,694 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,067 per person economy class from London

Tailor-made Luxury 7 - 14 days

Adults from $2,280 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,152 per person economy class from London

Combine the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains, Safari and remote beaches in this perfect three centre family holiday in South Africa's KwuZulu Natal.

Tailor-made 12 days

Adults from $3,629 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,031 per person economy class from London

Families from $2,563 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,031 per person economy class from London

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 508 reviews

(5.00/5)

  • Hi, just back home now as stayed in London last night. It was fab! We loved it! Amazing all round- Thankyou. Best holiday ever!!!

    Accommodation great at both places, guides lovely, staff great. We saw more animals than ever expected: giraffes, lion, elephants, water hog, wilder beast, impala, white rhino, crocodiles, hippos in lake Sybia, monkeys in trees at Tonga.

    Beach beautiful, but a bit windy, waves v rough but didn’t deter my boys. We snorkeled which was fab but too rough on day we booked to do ocean experience.

    My boys swam in all pools!!!

    Weather better than we expected!

    Must go and do some laundry, but hope that helps?

    Best Nicola

    MissingNicola B reviewing South Africa Luxury Safari & Beach Holiday on 24 July 2019

  • Hi Lisa

    We had an amazing holiday.

    Everything was fantastic.

    The transport wa spot on, great drivers, all on time, vans really comfortable and water supplied, a really nice way to travel, and you also get to hear all about the local area. Both companies were excellent.

    Virgin - was a brilliant airline, not sure why I haven't used them before, SO much better than BA.

    Rhino ridge was amazing from start to finish. We has a great female safari guide, who we got very fond of. The wildlife is more sparse but as its more challenging to find we enjoyed this, the surrounding are spectacular. Our guide had great knowledge of the birds. walking safari was excellent and highly recommend. The rooms were superb, very comfortable.

    Thonga beach lodge staff were brilliant, the whole place was amazing, the range of activities excellent and again out guides excellent. The food was wonderful. Again the bird guiding and general guiding was brilliant. We really enjoyed the cultural side of our visit, seeing the local communities and church etc. My only comment on thonga for future guests would be if they can afford it maybe to go for a lodge with a ocean view, our lodge was great , the childrens was quite cramped and low down with a very damp musty smell - not that they noticed it, but I think if people were expecting luxury they might not get what they wanted... saying that it was fantastic for us. The lodge staff were amazing and went out of their way for us.

    Oyster box was a phenomenal hotel and quite a shock to be back in the world after Thonga - but really worth the stay - we loved it, they Kindly gave us a room for the next day as we had a late flight.

    The whole experience was brilliant and really well organised- thank you. We ALL loved everything!

    On reflection:

    we loved having transport rather than driving, it meant we could relax , sleep and find out about the country from the driver.

    If we changed anything, I might spend a little less time at the beach and maybe take in another safari region also. We were repeatedly recommended the Phinda private game reserve (andBeyond) so maybe we would have spent a couple of nights there, in addition, local guides and the tour people said it would give good variety to the Rhino ridge.

    However we were 100% happy with what we did, we really look forward to our next safari !!!

    Best wishes

    Ali

    MissingAlison D reviewing South Africa Luxury Safari & Beach Holiday on 23 July 2019

  • Really brilliant being met in the airport off the plane. It got the holiday off to the right start and driver really chatty and knowledgeable. Great transfers to and from the camps with drivers that were like guides - pointing out animals and full of interesting facts. All really friendly.

    4 Rosmead in Cape Town; We loved it here. Just the right side of plush and a lovely warm, friendly welcome. Breakfast were delicious. It was a real haven to come back to and even though it was small it didn’t feel intrusive. They were also really helpful with great places to eat.

    Tours in Cape Town; Our guide, Bevan, gave us an incredible insight into the history of South Africa whilst also being really knowledgeable on wild life and nature. No question was too hard and his answers honest. He had an intern with him from a township and this allowed us a different perspective. Bevan was brilliant with my daughter. The Cape Point trip was a full on day with lots packed in. Our highlight was the penguins but we also really enjoyed seeing Cape Point and getting our first taste of the wild life to come! Our stand out experience in Cape Town had to be the tour of Masiphumelele. We’re so pleased that we did this as it gave us an insight of the lives of so many people in SA. The visibility of such poverty was tough going at times and we learned much about the harsh realities of living in a township such as how dwellings regularly burn down, TB & HIV incidence but equally we saw the resilience, warmth and resourcefulness of the residents. We loved being shown around the nursery and the library and the chance to have a very different experience. Being in someone’s home for lunch was a real privilege. We got such a lovely welcome there and the food was really delicious. The tribal dance routine felt a little forced and I wasn’t convinced there was much pride in the display. I think being shown a little more of the craft workshop or the older people’s group might have worked better. Although I can see how this allowed us have a purpose to go into the unofficial part of the township. All in all a moving experience that will stay with us both for years to come.

    Getting around Cape Town; We quickly learnt from local people it’s not actually that safe walking around Cape Town except for in the Waterfront. Uber is the best way to travel - much safer and cheaper than the local cabs. The fares are ridiculously cheap.

    Food/Going Out; There are so many great places to eat in Cape Town. The indoor food market at the Waterfront is an absolute must. A huge variety of food that is great quality. Also a great place to hang out for a while as there is always bands playing. The Waterfront overall was a pleasant way to do a bit of shopping. We got some great township art there. We ate at the Cod Father in Camp Bay. It was night so we couldn’t benefit from the incredible views. The food was incredible and really fresh. Really warm service too. The Nelson Eye? was also gorgeous for meat eaters. A slightly retro steak house but with the best meat (nor for vegetarians!). We had great steak, ribs and a divine mint crisp local dessert. We also found a lovely place on Kloof Street called the Dark Horse (its sister restaurant the Black Sheep was closed). Really excellent small plates and great selection of wines.

    Moswari Game Reserve; This part of the holiday blew us away. The safari was spectacular. From our first game drive we saw and learnt so much about the incredible bush. We saw the Big Five within 24 hours (although we appreciate that must be unusual) but it wasn’t just that we saw them we saw them in amazingly dynamic situations - lion cubs suckling the lioness, rhino doing a strange greeting, a herd of 40 elephants at almost touching distance, a leopard eating its kill in a bush and then majestically descending. I could just go on. It wasn’t just these but also the wonderful giraffe sightings, all types of buck and antelope, a rainbow of different coloured birds. This was an unforgettable experience.

    Our guide and tracker, Weinond and Bricks, were perfect. Weinond was a lovely gentle and sensitive man with an encyclopaedic knowledge for wildlife and nature. Bricks was a skilled tracker and I am certain that without him we would not have seen half of what we did. You could feel their passion for the animals and they seemed to take as much joy from a spot as we did. Whilst driving Weinond filled us with information about life in the bush. This meant we learnt so much about the habits and habitats of the magnificent animals and birds we were seeing.

    The camp and rooms were top class. It was a small intimate camp with nicely spaced lodges for privacy. The view from our lodge was stunning. The room was large, beautifully furnished and with the best bathroom ever. If there was one thing that could be added it would be would be access to drinks in your room. Sometimes you want a beer or a nightcap without having to go all the way to the main camp.

    The food was luscious. There was something for everyone and it was all of a really high standard and cooked to perfection. It was definitely restaurant standard. My only complaint is how much weight I’ve put in because I couldn’t resist!

    The service throughout was warm, friendly and appropriate. Very professional.

    We stayed for a night in the Giraffes Nest. This was a special, magical experience. The setting was fabulous and ‘nest’ itself beautifully decorated. It was winter so it was a cold night but they gave you lots of blankets and a cosy robe to help with that. Once in the best you we’re in your own but with radio connection back to the camp. Whilst we only spotted 2 animals during the night it was a special experience sleeping under a blanket of stars. It was a bit overpriced I think for what it is and I think in the winter it should be possible might to stay a bit longer in the morning ( we were collected 6 am to join our drive group) as this might mean you would see animals in the light.

    Finally, I cannot recommend this camp enough to people. A truly spectacular holiday that we will never forget. I’ve definitely been bitten by the Africa bug!

    MissingDara d reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 02 July 2019

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