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“Not a luxury lodge” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Thonga Beach Lodge

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Thonga Beach Lodge
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   in Isimangaliso World Heritage Wetland Park | Mabibi, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
London England
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
88 helpful votes 88 helpful votes
“Not a luxury lodge”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 16, 2007

We, like most of the people staying at thonga were refugees from mozambique and without us the lodge would have been virtually emptly. Unfortunately despite the glossy images etc. this lodge does not match up. The sea is generally always quite rough and we were not able to swim the whole stay as the waves and undercurrents were so rough let alone snorkel which you can only do at low tide which was at 600 a.m to 7.30 a.m during our time there. You can't go sea fishing as its a heritage site and if you want to fish off the shore you have to get a license and your own gear as they don't supply any.The safari's were a joke and the birding was virtually non-existant. The rooms and lodge were ok but not luxurious and if you don't get a sea view room, your view is just scrub. They have a new chef, so the food was good and new managers, who were very nice but not exactly inspiring. The local people were very friendly.

  • Liked — Good getaway location
  • Disliked — Bit too basic
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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190 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (43)
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English first
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2007

If they cut the rate for this by a massive amount it would be great. But it is so completely over priced it is insane. Imagine spending about £300 per night per room - what would you expect? Something pretty amazing right? Well this place feels like an backpacker resort
in thailand (admittedly a very nice one) but all the same if you didn't know how much it cost in advance and you were just shown round you would think maybe £50 - £80 a night for a room. What they do offer is a great beach, and a real sense of getting away from everything.

However they have a massive insect problem. We even had bugs in our bed - (the mosquito netting was never tucked in properly by staff and
had holes) and we heard others complain about the same problem. After
a terribly nights sleep, when we complained about this the room was re-cleaned but we were not offered any comphensation.

The rooms are thatched huts so you have to expect bugs and you can't really do much, however this just should not be marketed as a luxury resort. It is totally misleading. The food was fine - but nothing special. We really liked the staff for their friendliness, but even they would admit (after a few drinks in the bar) that the place was over-priced and mis-leadingly marketed. I would not go back and I would not recommend this to anyone unless they drastically lowered prices.

  • Liked — Beach
  • Disliked — Price and insects
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Restlesssoles, Marketing Manager at Thonga Beach Lodge, responded to this review, July 10, 2009
Thonga underwent Management changes in May 2007 and many comments posted around this time regarding service and food were not so positive. Since then we have made a concerted effort to improve both. Our Managers have now been with us for over 2 years and from the recent reviews we have been receiving, these problems now seem to be behind us. Regarding our water supply, we do use a borehole and unfortunately this does contain elements of iron and we advised guests not to drink straight from the tap. Every room is given a canister of bottled water which is filled up several times a day and also the rooms contain a mini bar with more bottled water and other drinks. Several years ago the water for the baths also contained a lot of iron and therefore appeared 'redish' when coming out of the tap. This has also now been rectified. During some Summer months there are also more insects around, as you would expect in a remote bush environment. However Thonga now regularly gets sprayed to keep this to a minimum and every room has a large mosquito net over the beds.
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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, South Africa
Location: South Africa > KwaZulu-Natal > iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Specialty Lodging in iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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 KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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