It doesn’t get better than Thonga Beach Lodge if you yearn to be a recluse for a week…
This intimate lodge is nestled on the pristine coast of Maputaland, Northern KwaZulu Natal, within the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s the ideal place to explore unspoilt wilderness beaches. Thonga Beach Lodge is a magical place set above a private, sandy beach and nestled into magnificent coastal dune forest. Thonga Beach Lodge captures the essence of a luxury Robinson Crusoe hideaway. Here you will get the chance to Snorkel with parrot fish, sunbathe on the silent private beach and feast on seafood spiced South African style in the open-air restaurant.
In the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s third largest protected area, turtles nest on the sand and fluorescent tropical fish glow in the turquoise waters. The warm Indian Ocean supports a myriad of fish and marine life where you may encounter dolphins, whales, whale sharks, manta rays and giant turtles. Close by the samango monkeys populate the tangled forest that lurks behind the resort and just ten minutes inland is Lake Sibaya, where hippos snort in the water and crocodiles slumber on the rocks.
World-class scuba diving is phenomenal here, with reefs located a short distance from the lodge. with over 1,000 species including shoals of game fish, lion fish, sharks, whales and schools of bottlenose dolphins are often seen. PADI courses are available.
Spectacular snorkelling in the ‘home reef’ a short walk away, with 1,250 fish species (Great Barrier Reef has 1500) occur on the reefs in this area including angelfish as well as turtles, shrimps, anemones and tiger cowries.
Non-divers can take an ocean safari on a semi-rigid 10-seat boat, looking out for bottlenose or spinner dolphins, manta rays, giant sea turtles and whales (June-Oct).
Why nor explore the coastal forests which teem with birds, plants, butterflies, exotic insects and animals and only 20 mins’ drive away is Lake Sibaya, southern Africa’s largest freshwater lake, where you can kayak among hippos, crocs and amazing birdlife, or enjoy it all with sundowners from the shore.
Loggerhead and leatherbacks nest during summer nights (Nov-Feb) and watching them beetle out to the sea is a deep pleasure
Thonga Beach Lodge takes full advantage of its incredible position while being in complete harmony with the environment. The private spacious, thatched suites are hidden in the coastal dune forest and raised on wooden stilts to ensure no harm comes to the sensitive dune soils. A series of Zulu thatched boma huts feature eco interiorsstrung together with rickety walkways that are a curious magnet for butterflies.
The eco interiors are cleverly done: Chandeliers are made from shark teeth found at the bottom of the sea bed; the bar has a neon-lit frontage fashioned from recycled glass bottles; the lounge is furnished with woven egg chairs and candles burn inside lanterns made of bamboo. All rooms at Thonga Beach Lodge have private balconies and two boast their own private plunge pools. Luxuriously decorated, the rooms exude a romantic ambiance. Bleached wood, glass and natural materials have been wisely used to create an open, airy feel. Every suite has air conditioning.
Although the resort is a reasonable size, everything seems cosy, from the small swimming pool hidden in a thicket of bushes to the fully stocked libatrary with books and board games
The lounge, with its comfortable couches and a cosy fireplace, is the perfect place to unwind after a day at the beach. Located upstairs from the dining room, is a mezzanine area which is the perfect place to celebrate with a private candle-lit dinner with spectacular views of the incredible forest surrounding the lodge.
The dining area – a large thatched ‘rondavel’ – opens on to an expansive wooden deck, where guests can enjoy Maputuland’s sultry weather and the lodge’s sumptuous meals. Most meals will be served al fresco, or, guests can head for the beach deck and dine by candlelight on the shores of the Indian Ocean.
All food is included, and what a spread it is. Your first mouthful of the day may be homemade crumpets with berry jam and crème fraîche, seed bread with black forest ham or an Afrikaaner-portioned ‘Full Thonga’ with eggs, bacon and sausages. Dinner or lunch brings the likes of camembert spring rolls and peppadew dipping jam; mussels in red coconut curry sauce; roast lamb with butterbean purée; and poached pears slopping in a pool of saffron and mint custard.
Please contact Wildlife Escapes for more information