Thonga Beach Lodge is a romantic hideaway - just twelve luxury round chalets nestling beside the pristine wilderness beach of Maputaland, about 20 km south of Rocktail Bay. You can take advantage of the unparalleled diving, or simply walk for hours along the soft white sand without meeting a soul.
The lodge is set in the coastal dune forest that lines Thonga’s sandy beach. The buildings are constructed to blend into the natural forest environment, typified by magnificent Milkwood trees. Thonga is made for relaxation. The lodge may be exclusive, but you are invited to leave formalities at the door. Although it only opened in 2004, Thonga is firmly rooted in the area’s community, celebrating Zulu culture through its architecture and design, and also by staging amazing Zulu dance performances.
The 12 circular wooden chalets are inspired by traditional Thonga village huts. The surrounding forest provides privacy. Six of the chalets are right next to the beach so that, in these rooms, you can lie in bed and look out through a wall of windows onto the aquamarine ocean. They are very generously proportioned, certainly large enough to accommodate an additional child, and have a light, airy feel.
To those in the know, northern Maputaland coast is the place to dive – 1250 marine species occur in this reef system. While the reefs further down the coast at Sodwana Bay have been over-dived, those close to Thonga, at M’bibi, are virtually untouched and are considered to be some of the best in the world. Thonga has a professional diving team and its semi-rigid boat accommodates up to 6 divers at a time. Snorkelling is also offered, along with seasonal turtle tracking, excellent guided coastline walks, and dune forest wildlife walks. The lodge organises boat cruises, canoeing and kayaking on nearby Lake Sibaya, South Africa’s largest freshwater lake. Surf, deep-sea and fly-fishing are also available.
This is a very peaceful spot. There is no noise pollution from motorised watersports, and there is excellent swimming in the sea.
Thonga also offers trips to the three local villages behind the lodge, where you can learn about Zulu culture and mix with the locals.
Thonga has a small spa, and a swimming pool.
Thonga prides itself on its food, which is served either in a thatched ‘rondavel’ or al fresco on the large wooden deck. Breakfast and lunch are gourmet buffets; dinner is served. If you are feeling romantic, you can dine at a table on the beach.
Take the new road from either Jozini or Hluhluwe and leave the car at the Coastal Cashews – a trading station and processing plant for cashew nuts. The next 30 km are on sand roads, so unless you have a 4WD, you will be collected (either at either midday or at 15h00) and transferred to the lodge. Driving time from Richards Bay is 3½ hours; from Durban, 5 hours.