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Thonga Beach Lodge

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Set on the pristine shores of the Maputaland coast at Mabibi, Thonga Beach lodge is the ideal place to discover one of the last unspoilt and undeveloped wilderness beaches left on the African continent.


Mabibi is a magical place of tranquil swimming bays and snorkelling reefs, coastal forests, grasslands, bush, shimmering lakes and exquisite sandy beaches. Its crystal clear, warm waters offer unparalleled snorkelling and fantastic offshore scuba diving.

Set in the secluded Mabibi bay, on the Elephant Coast in northern KwaZulu-Natal, Thonga Beach Lodge is in the heart of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, an internationally recognised World Heritage Site.

The swimming pool and central lodge area is 25m from the beach. The accommodation rooms vary between 30m and 120m from the beach. Lake Sibiya, southern Africa's largest natural freshwater lake, is 6km from the lodge.

The Camp at a Glance

  • Double Vanity
  • Stone Bath
  • Indoor/ Outdoor glass shower
  • Bar Fridge
  • Air con
  • Ceiling Fan


Thonga Beach Lodge Accommodation

11 suites in Robinson Crusoe-chic! This Thonga Beach development is one of Africa's most exciting and refreshing wilderness accommodation destinations. The thatched en-suite rooms have been carefully constructed in the coastal dune forest to ensure minimum impact on the environment and guest privacy as well as offering views of the natural surroundings. Some of the units have limited views of the sea. All suites are air-conditioned. Our lounge, nestled high in the canopy of the dune forest, offers panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, alternatively enjoy sundowners in the bar lounge or the cool deck under the Coastal Milkwood trees.


Thonga Beach Lodge is situated in a World Heritage Site and offers the following guided activities. Canoeing on Lake Sibiya, sundowners at Lake Sibiya, snorkelling and forest walks are the only non-motorised activities included in the rate.

Turtle tracking: 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 mid-November to mid-March. Every precaution is taken to ensure these magnificent creatures are not disturbed during the laying process.

Snorkelling: 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, 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.

Scuba diving: This is an adventure activity with boats launching straight through the surf. Scuba diving at Mabibi is also 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.

Some 1 250 fish species (the 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 six divers at a time. The boats launch straight off the beach 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. No children under 12 or adults over 65.

Open ocean experience: This adventure activity offers guests rare opportunities 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 or adults over 65.

Lake Sibiya: The lake is 6km from the lodge, a 20-minute drive. Sundowners are offered on its shores. The Ramsar Convention assures thre lake's 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 canoe with the chance of seeing hippo and crocodile en route. A reasonable level of fitness is required.

Bird watching: 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 purple-crested lourie, green twinspot, grey waxbill and green coucal. Waders are common along the shoreline, and pinkthroated longclaw and rufous-bellied heron frequent the marshy areas. Lake Sibiya has recorded 279 bird species including the palmnut vulture, the only fruit-eating vulture in the world. Pel’s fishing owl and pygmy goose can also be spotted.

Fishing: 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 and release”.

Guided wilderness walks: 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.

Tsonga cultural experience: Visit a traditional Tsonga homestead and learn about their unique heritage and culture. Visits to a traditional healer (sangoma) or iLala Palm wine tasting can also be arranged (subject to availability).

Child policy

All children welcome. If 12 and under pay they 50% of the full tariff when sharing with parents. A maximum of one child per room (with parents) at this discounted rate.
Children between 12 and 18 years pay 75% of the full tariff if sharing with adults.
An extra person in the room is accommodated on a fold out "stretcher" type bed in the room. Please remember that the rooms are open plan.
Children under 6 are requested to have dinner half an hour earlier than adults.

Power supply

The lodge is powered by Eskom and power points are available in the rooms for chargers, electrical shavers and hairdryers.


Road: The lodge can be reached by two-wheel drive vehicle until the last 20 minutes, where we have a collection point. Guests are then transferred in 4x4 vehicles on the forested dune roads to the lodge. There are two collection times from the 2-wheel drive parking: 12h00 or 15h00.

Travelling times by vehicle:
Johannesburg to Thonga Beach Lodge: 7,5 hrs
Richards Bay to Thonga Beach Lodge: 3,5 hrs
Durban to Thonga Beach Lodge: 5,0 hrs

Air: Isibindi Africa has regular flights from Kruger National Park (and surrounds), Johannesburg and Richards Bay.

For private charters there is an 800m tar landing strip situated 9km from the lodge, known as Manzengwenya (GPS co-ordinates: S27 11.6 E32 39.7)

Please do contact us to arrange air charters from your previous destination to this strip.

The vehicle transfer to the lodge from the airstrip is free of charge and takes about 30 minutes. The nearest scheduled flights are to and from Richards Bay
(about 3 hrs by vehicle to the lodge and 40 minutes by air charter to the landing strip), or Durban (about 4.5 hrs by vehicle and 1hr 40 minutes by air charter). Helicopters can land at the Manzengwenya airstrip.

The charge for the transfer is R75.00 per person return. Please note that there will be an extra charge of R75.00 per person per transfer for all late/early arrivals and departures. If guests are running late/early it is of the utmost importance to contact the lodge and notify them of the change.

Once you turn off the tar road it is a poor condition sand road so guests must ensure they do not travel this road after 16h00 and exercise caution. Please phone the lodge as you leave Jozini (from the north) or Hluhluwe (from the south) so that we are aware of you whereabouts in time to make the necessary changes to our collection times.

Please note that check in time is 12h00 and the check out time is 10h00.

Please also exercise caution along this road and do not stop for strangers.

Please note that under no circumstances should guests use the Sibiya Lake road to access this area, there have been security issues along this road in the past.


Winter months: May to September. Temperatures range from 10C to 25C. Although the days are usually sunny, the evenings and early mornings can be cool. The sea temperature is between 18° and 21°C.

Summer months: October to April. Temperatures range from 20C to 38C. This is a summer rainfall area. The days are usually hot and humid with occasional afternoon thunderstorms. Sea temperatures vary between 21° and 26°C.


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