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Thonga Beach Lodge, The Elephant Coast

Thonga Beach Lodge

Thonga Beach Lodge is a beautiful beach retreat, discreetly hidden by coastal dunes from the expanse of sandy beach, which stretches for several kilometers in both directions. The small size of the lodge ensures a warm, personal service from the staff, as well as a laid-back, peaceful atmosphere. Backed by forest, the thatched rondavels fit in well with the natural landscape and some are raised up on stilts to offer lovely views of the sea and surrounding foliage. Wooden boardwalks lead from the spacious main lodge over the dunes to the beach, which is exclusive to guests, while the lodge’s location within the Isimangaliso Wetland Park makes for excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

Our rating: First Class

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Rooms

All en suite, the rondavels feature stone baths and separate showers, as well as private decking areas. Fans and air conditioning mean you can easily cool off, and each room has a hairdryer, mosquito nets and internet access. Suites are raised on stilts to minimize their environmental impact, offering a king sized bed or twin beds and both indoor and outdoor showers. Forest View rooms are spacious and look out over the dune forest, while Sea View rooms have views of the beach and surf. The Deluxe Sea View Suite is more secluded, set right in the forest, featuring a lounge area that can accommodate two children and a bedroom with a private plunge pool.

Location

The lodge sits on South Africa's northeast coast (The Elephant Coast), just south of the Mozambique border. It’s sandwiched between a coastal forest and the beach, and is situated in the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site. The property is only accessible by 4x4, and it’s a 25 minute drive to Lake Sibaya – South Africa’s largest freshwater lake.

Food and drink

The delicious food often includes fresh seafood options and is usually served on the decking, although there’s also an indoor dining area. A mezzanine is available for private dining, and meals can be requested on your veranda or the beach deck for a small premium. Breakfasts consist of a continental buffet and English breakfast, lunch is a buffet, and dinner is à la carte.

Families

Children are welcome at Thonga, and the resort puts on a variety of activities for younger guests, including beach volleyball, pètanque, board games, Frisbee and cricket. Buckets and spades are also available for building sandcastles. Guided activities such as bracelet making, nature walks, pizza making and coloring competitions also keep kids entertained. Babysitting is available for an additional charge.

Facilities and activities

Various activities are on offer, including diving, snorkeling, kayaking (including guided kayaking excursions on Lake Sibaya), guided walks through the forest and turtle tours, with turtles laying their eggs on the beach and hatching between November and March. There’s also a pool and a spa offering massages and other treatments - or you can simply relax on the loungers set up on the beach.

Our opinion

This attractive lodge has a relaxing and exclusive feel to it. The location is stunning, and we feel that its secluded, natural setting sets it apart from the larger resorts found in Mauritius and elsewhere.

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    Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favorite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.

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      Kosi Forest Lodge is located in the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve, a remote and unspoilt area of lakes, rivers and coastal forests that forms part of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, a recognized World Heritage Site.