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“Best SA Beach Resort”
Review of Thonga Beach Lodge

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Thonga Beach Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 January 2014

This place is like Mozambique with waves, and amazing food. The beach is great with a nice little rock pool which they call Hulley point. You can snorkel at Hulley point at low tide and the fish there are pretty good but not amazing. We saw octopus, and one of the other guys saw a turtle in the rock pool, which was pretty cool. The water is just so blue that I could have floated there the whole day. Apparently the rock pool is sanded up so the snorkeling is not as good as a few years ago. There is no other place like this in SA.

The highlight for us was the turtle tour. The turtles start laying eggs at the start of November and seems like they continue to the end of Jan. The eggs start hatching towards the end of Jan so if you go between November and Mid March you will see either laying or hatching. It is one of the best acts of nature I have witnessed and the guide (Ash) was so very knowledgeable. It made the whole experience enjoyable and felt professional.

When we were there we went out on the boat and swam with a couple of turtles. It was pretty cool. The water is very clear and warm. Some of the other guests managed to swim with dolphins on their trip and they saw ragged tooth sharks. From chatting to the crew at the dive/marine centre, it seems like sometimes they can't launch and they look for different things at different times, so don't expect to see turtles dolphins sharks whales sharks and all the other things in the other reviews in one trip. The turtles seem to be a guarantee Nov to Feb.

The food is amazing, it is the highlight of the lodging and accom. Each day they do high tea and the chef bakes a cake. These cakes are pretty awesome. Lunch is salads and cold meats, dinner is a choice of two starters and two mains and dessert. The service for me was average, but the food was so good that it did not matter.

There is a wireless room where you can get internet, but otherwise there is no TV and no cellphone reception. It really is relaxing. We heard that lake sibaya was 25 minutes drive away so we were thinking of taking a 4x4 but it is not needed. Once you get to the resort you won't need a car. Even if you had one, you would not be able to use it, the roads are more like paths and there was no where worth driving.

The rooms are lovely and big, with massive beds. considering the close proximity to the sea (150m), everything is excellently maintained. Don't expect a sea view , the forest is very thick, and although you can see the sea through the trees, it's unlikely that you will get a good sea view like the picture .

In summary this resort is a great place to get away from it all and relax totally. No car no cellphone no TV and plenty to keep you busy. The turtle experience made it totally unique.

Room Tip: I would ask for a full sea view like the picture, apparently there are three rooms like this. That...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Grennie47
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
IsibindiAfrica, General Manager at Thonga Beach Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 31 January 2014

Dear Grennie47

Thank you very much for the compliment! I am very pleased to hear that you had such a great experience at Thonga.

Just to clear up what you mentioned about the ocean views: there are a few rooms that have an ocean view. They are situated a bit higher than the other rooms and look over the forest onto the ocean. They do not have a 100% sea view though as we are situated in a protected forest.

I hope you returned home recharged after escaping from "civilization" for a while.

Kind Regards

Gerard

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199 - 205 of 377 reviews

Reviewed 21 January 2014

We were there over Xmas and enjoyed our stay VERY much. Of course, the room was great, the location unique, nature overwhelming etc. But, the whole thing came together for us, because of the people of the lodge. The whole team was fantastic. The lodge manager Donavan, the chef and the water activities team deserve a special mention. But, really. It was a team effort. So, thanks to all.

Room Tip: We were in Room 2. Very comfortable bed, with a sea view. Difficult to top.
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank Christo V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 January 2014

What an exclusive gem! This lodge is truly amazing! The rooms are beautiful and the views of the ocean and the forest are stunning! The food was just too delicious and the service outstanding, the staff is a pleasure, nothing is impossible for them, really! The beautifully clear sandy beach stretches on forever, no wonder the Loggerhead and Leather back turtles nest in it... what a treat it was to go on a turtle drive at midnight with only the sky covered with bright stars as witnesses... we got back at 03:00 in the morning after seeing both species of turtles and after enjoying some hot chocolate listening to the sound of the waves... Awesome! The sun downer by lake Sibaya was a truly relaxing way to start the evening, as was kayaking in the lake early the following morning. Snorkeling was not possible due to mother nature's force, the sea was just too rough... but we will be back and weather permitting will snorkel and do the open sea adventure!!! Can't wait to go back and absolutely recommend it! Well done Thonga and thank you South Africa for your beauty!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
2  Thank Claudia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2014

We spent 4 nights at Thonga for our honeymoon and could not have asked for more. The staff, management, room maids, waiters and guides, are all very warm and friendly. The place is just beautiful and we loved the combination of leisure time and activities they offer. Add to that the amaIng food and generally happy atmosphere and you have yourself everything you could wish for in a honeymoon.

  • Stayed: January 2014
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1  Thank Markus H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2014

This is a review I'm hesitant to write because we don't want the place to be fully booked when we go back there! Only kidding - but really can't say enough good things about this place.
To say it's remote is an understatement - almost an hour's 4WD transfer from where we parked our car. It's also virtually invisible, built into the sand dunes to minimise its impact on this beautiful coastline. Miles of almost-deserted sandy beach, lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, are the main attraction, but this is supported by a wide range of activities included in the price. Everything about the place is great - the food, the friendly staff, the comfortable accomodation and facilities.
And if this wasn't enough, the lodge is majority-owned by the local community, who also provide most of the staff. So you're making a direct contribution to the local economy by staying there, rather than topping up profits for an absentee landlord. A great place.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank UK_Traveller019
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
IsibindiAfrica, General Manager at Thonga Beach Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 15 January 2014

Dear UK_Traveller019

We hope that we will have a room available for you when next you want to visit as we would love you to become one of our many repeat guests!

Thanks for the excellant review, Thonga really is a "little piece of heaven" that I am proud to be associated with.

Kind Regards

Gerard

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Reviewed 9 January 2014

Like the previous reviewer - we too would prefer not to advertise our experience at Thonga Beach, because we want to come back time and time again and don't want it to be permanently booked! This place is truly beautiful - a peaceful haven to enjoy the nature in this part of South Africa. We travelled as a family of four - and were lucky enough to stay in the newly built Family unit (with a plunge pool and two bedrooms) which we would definitely recommend. Our kids (8 and 11) had their own space, as did we - and yet we still felt that we were together as a family. Food - amazing (and the kitchen were 100% flexible with the kids). Staff - superb, literally couldn't do enough for us - and you could see the team running around in the background trying to make sure that every guest had what they wanted. Activities - well, I don't think I will ever feel as humbled as I did on our turtle drive. Truly incredible. And location - I am not sure it can be beaten. Thonga is a definite "go-back-to" place. Thank you to Bjorn from 'Imagine Africa' for recommending...

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank Ahtrm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
IsibindiAfrica, General Manager at Thonga Beach Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 15 January 2014

Dear Ahtrm

Thank you very much for your review. I am really glad to hear that you had such a great experience and enjoyed the turtle tracking at Thonga. It truly is a humbling experience to witness these amazing creatures lay their eggs on this deserted stretch of beach. We are really priviledged to be able to experience this.

We look forward to hosting you again soon.

Kind Regards

Gerard

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Reviewed 8 January 2014

We are concerned writing this review as we don't want too many people to know about this place.!

I develop luxury hotels and resorts and was simply "blown away" by this place, not fussy but simply where eco really meets sustainable tourism, the lodge is partly owned by the local community and most employees are from the local african villages, but well trained and very friendly, they really "blew away the customer"

The place was so safe we left our room open and iPhones out, The beach is virgin indian ocean with amazing snorkelling and night turtle walks, seeing turtles lay eggs. The dive centre and watersports facility was laid back but very professional and Donna and Clive were great Padi instructors and the diving on the reef was superb, reef was in great natural condition

We were 3 families with kids from 8 to 23 (kid adults!) 10 in all and will be booking again for next year

The management couple Donovan and Bernice were simply true boutique hotel hosts for us and every party that arrived, they attended in advance to any request. We could not have wanted for more and they went out of their way to give very personal attention to every guest in house.

The food was very fresh, local and very health with every meal car dully planned and presented, as good as any Five Star Boutique resort, the Chef is outstanding, the barmen great, housekeeping superb and attentive and service staff superb

The spa headed by Gugu was kept very busy by our party and was superb, again laid back barefoot luxury

This is a true gem and worth linking to a land safari nearby

Room Tip: ask for the honey moon suite, has its own plunge pool, but all rooms are good and good size and amaz...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank James W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
IsibindiAfrica, General Manager at Thonga Beach Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 15 January 2014

Dear James W

Thanks very much for the great review and your compliments to the different members of the Thonga team. I know they all go out of their way to ensure that every guest has an amazing stay with us and will really appreciate your kind comments.

We hope to host you again someday.

Kind Regards

Gerard

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Thonga Beach Lodge

Address: In Isimangaliso World Heritage Wetland Park | Mabibi, iSimangaliso Wetland Park 4399, South Africa
Region: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Speciality Lodging in iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Price Range: £405 - £614 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Thonga Beach Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This intimate, luxury lodge is nestled on the pristine coast of Northern KwaZulu-Natal, within the Isimangaliso World Heritage Park. Its clear, warm waters offer superb snorkeling and unspoiled off-shore scuba diving, arguably the best in South Africa. Air conditioned suites, mouth-watering cuisine, romantic candlelight dinners on the beach and relaxing Sea Spa treatments. Guided forest walks, kayaking, sundowners and seasonal turtle tracking. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Thonga Beach Hotel Mabibi
Thonga Beach Lodge South Africa/KwaZulu-Natal

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