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Thonga Beach Lodge
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Reviews (402)
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All reviewsthonga beachlake sibayalocal communityocean experienceremote locationsea viewscuba divingexcellent foodindian oceanforest walkour honeymoonsouth africaturtle watchingnearby lakelocal staffcultural tourpiece of paradise
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Reviewed October 17, 2009

Our bugalow was amazing, right down to the rainforest shower. After early starts in the game parks it was great to relax and sleep in. I spent time at the spa with Penny while my fiancee` went scuba diving (and he was very impressed with what he saw).

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Flashpacker68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 9, 2009

This place is a secluded gem. You have to survive a 45 minute bumby ride with a 4x4 to get there... but it is more than worth it! Already passing through the little town of Mabibi and seeing the dunes by the ocean takes your breath away. The first view of the beach going down the steep hill to the lodge is breathtaking, and meeting Kev, Bev and the rest of the staff just makes you feel so welcome. The rooms are really nice, the food outstanding but the real treat is of course the surrounding. Snorkling in the rock pool, diving, turtle tours (we saw a couple of newborn Leatherbacks), spa treatments and even visiting Mabibi... this place is in our hearts forever. Please PM me, if you need more info! I am so glad I choose this place to ask my girlfriend to marry me.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Thagaard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2009

While we were unlucky with the weather, we had a great time here. The rooms are large, self-contained and comfortable, with a small deck. The beach is perfect and totally private, with miles to walk. Great inshore snorkeling. The spa was a popular choice on the grey days (and as such was heavily booked). The sundowner trips to nearby Lake Sibaya were also a treat. Kevin and Bev are extremely hospitable and keen to please. The cooking is above average but not great. A word of warning - leave your car at the Cashew Nut Factory and pay for the Lodge to transfer you. It's an hour's drive on very sandy and bumpy roads - not only do you need a serious 4x4 to tackle this, you also need a lot of skill as a 4x4 driver. We were glad to be transferred, and you don't need your car once you reach the Lodge anyway.
Go there and just relax.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Julieanna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 20, 2009

We spent 3 nights here as part of our honeymoon before moving on to sister lodge Kosi Forest. The accommodation in the Afro-minimalist cement, wood and thatch units was great – air-conditioning, mosquito nets, huge bathtub (big enough for 2), twin basins, an indoor/outdoor shower and the massive bed with top quality linen made our stay very comfortable.

The food is superb – too tempting in fact as we were overfull the entire time! Breakfast is a massive spread with everything you could want, and is followed a few hours later by the buffet lunch with a fantastic selection of salads, cold meats, cheeses and quiche. Dinner is a choice of 2 starters and mains off the board with a set desert. Wine list is also good and cocktails excellent – but if you indulge expect a hefty bar tab when you depart!

You can choose from a list of activities on the activities board to keep you entertained – but put your name down early as numbers are limited and they get booked out quickly if the lodge is full. We did the Open Ocean experience – going out on the boat to snorkel on the reef and then a ride up and down the coast to look for Whale sharks – which unfortunately we did not spot (the following day they were around). We especially loved snorkeling in the “rock pool” – we saw hundreds of colourful tropical fish, including moray eels – and the water was wonderfully warm. Both morning kayaking and sundowners on Lake Sibaya were stunning – this really is a beautiful, relaxing place.

As mentioned by other reviewers, the ocean current can be quite strong so swimming isn’t always possible. And launching the boat and snorkeling in the rock pool is tide and weather dependent. We were lucky with the weather but I can imagine that if the weather turned bad one would get bored quite quickly (but isn’t always so on beach holidays?)

Staff were helpful and friendly, if perhaps a little over eager – I was asked 10 times a day if I needed anything or if I enjoyed my massage/snorkeling etc. The managers and chef run a tight ship so you are unlikely to get bad customer service.

Highlights for us were the excellent activities, the candlelit dinners on the deck and the sound of the crashing waves at night. I recommend this place as a romantic and relaxing getaway for those who want a remote bush and beach holiday with the luxury of a hotel. We felt like 3 days was sufficient to soak up the atmosphere and do an activity or two per day. You could stay longer if you enjoy sitting on the beach.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank hatter08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2009

What's good:
-it really is in the middle of nowhere and very wild and beautiful
-staff were excellent -friendly, helpful etc. Check that Kevin and Bev are still running it before booking
-room was great and well equipped
-food was first class (NB chef is leaving in 6 months and cooking in this remote location where the food arrives once a week from Durban is not for your average chef!)

What's not good:
-getting there. It takes hours by car from anywhere but the worst bit is the last hour plus being bumped around in the back of an old pick up truck (200,000 km on the clock!) from the car drop off

-the sea is often quite rough (with a dangerous undertow and rip tide). We could neither swim or snorkel (or dive if we wanted to) and it had been like this for at least 8 days! And there is not much else to do! Rough seas are particularly common at equinoxes.

-contrary to the website there is no proper swimming pool only a plunge pool (the photo is misleading). So for us no swimming in either ocean or pool!

-unless you have a seaview room, you have no view! Literally you look straight into a dense forest a couple of metres from the balcony

So the key question is, given the possibility of rough seas and its remoteness (you need at least 3 nights there for it to be worthwhile), is it worth the risk? Do your homework before booking as this place could go downhill very easily.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank elfandsafety
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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