Mbotyi River Lodge has a spectacular setting, on the cliffs overlooking the Mbotyi River estuary and the Indian Ocean in Pondoland on South Africa’s Wild Coast.

The lodge is ideal for a South African family holiday, offering simply and inexpensive accommodation and a wide range of activities.


There are 36 wooden cabins and 12 thatched bungalows, all with en suite facilities. The thatched bungalows have air-conditioning and fridges. All rooms have a balcony or patio, looking out at the lagoon, the sea or the forest.


The emphasis here is on activities: water-based activities include canoeing and kayaking in the sea and along the river, surfing, and fishing – from heavy tackle shark fishing to light tackle estuary fishing. It’s a good spot for beginners. Fish include Rock Salmon, kob and grunter.

From June to December there is a good chance of spotting whales and dolphins from the shore; in particular, the Southern Right Whale calves in the shallow waters here.

On land, activities include horse-riding and horse trails suitable for all levels; the horses are owned by the local Pondo community and they will escort you. There are hiking trails which range from an hour to all day hikes. You can hike to one of several waterfalls that cascade over the cliffs into the sea. The paths take you along clifftops and beaches, through rivers and forests and into local homesteads where you will receive a warm welcome. The local Pondo people work at the lodge and are pleased to have the opportunity to show you their villages and explain aspects of their life and culture.

There is an extensive indigenous forest behind the lodge which teems with birdlife. You might see more than 100 species, including the rare Cape Parrot.


Children love this place. There are so many adventures to be had. There are some interleading rooms; otherwise, one child can be accommodated on a sleeper couch, two if they are very young. Reduced rates for the under 12s.

Getting there

There is easy access by car. Only the last 20kms are on a well-maintained gravel road. It is about a 5-hour drive from Durban, or from East London.

Want to know more?

Call our Travel Specialists for a chat with our experts. They'll share their first-hand insights so you can find your perfect holiday.

Shelley Phillips

Travel Specialist

I'm here to tailor-make your perfect holiday. Give me a call and I'll use my expertise to create your personalised experience.

Shelley Phillips

Travel Specialist

I'm here to tailor-make your perfect holiday. Give me a call and I'll use my expertise to create your personalised experience.

Why Choose Us?

Passionate travel experts

  • We've been leading wildlife travel since our first South Africa tours over 25 years ago
  • Our Travel Specialists have lived in their specialist area for years
  • We work with local guides to immerse you deeper in our diverse range of experiences

Personal & tailor-made

  • You'll speak to your own expert who'll share their first-hand knowledge
  • We'll make your itinerary seamless with 24/7 emergency contact available
  • Your Travel Specialist will listen to ensure you have the best chance of seeing the wildlife you love

Responsible by nature

  • We take care to actively contribute to the conservation of environments we visit
  • For select countries, we make a charitable donation on your behalf when you make your booking
  • We've partnered with conservation experts and NGOs to curate responsible tours
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