Thonga Beach Lodge is set on the pristine shores of the Maputuland coast, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This 24-bed luxury lodge is the ideal place to discover one of the most unspoilt 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 snorkelling and fantastic off-shore scuba diving.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 traditional Tsonga homestead and learn about their unique heritage and culture.