Thonga Beach Lodge is the only lodge for 50km’s either side of this untouched piece of coastline, so as you can imagine, it is secluded in every way. It is a fairly lengthy and tedious trip getting there, but it is worth every minute of the drive. We were collected at the “Cashew Factory” and drove for an hour in a ‘landy’ that was able to cope with the sandy terrain. After being inland for most of our honeymoon, the smell of the sea and the surrounding luscious bush was a refreshing change.
Thonga Beach Lodge is almost completely hidden as no trees were allowed to be cut down when it was built, ensuring minimal environmental impact on the area. The lodge is cleverly and tastefully decorated considering these challenges… the perfect combination of beach charm and lavish living. Our room didn’t have a sea view, although only 5 of the rooms do because of the density of the surrounding bush, making it slightly dark and perhaps a bit ‘cold’ in a way. Despite this, it was very comfortable and well equipped with all the essentials.
There are a number of places to relax and read a book or sip on a cold beverage – my favourite being the loungers situated on a deck right on the beach with an unhindered view of the sand and surf. You can also try the deck chairs placed around the pool, or the lounge area that has comfy couches to ease into.
The evenings are really lovely – everyone gathers at the bar to have a drink together and then you head off to your table (or the staff can set up a romantic private dinner for you, which they did for us on our last night). The food at Thonga Beach Lodge is worth making a fuss about. Every morsel we had throughout the day (and many a morsel was had!) was tantalizingly delicious. Each meal is home-made, locally sourced and as fresh as it gets – I would go back one day for their food alone!
We were encouraged by the amount of people from the local Mabibi community who are employed by the lodge… subsequently we were able to find out loads of interesting information about their culture and the area. When we drove through the village en-route to Lake Sibaya (the largest fresh water lake in South Africa) for sundowners, we were also delighted to see a small medical clinic and a school.
Apart from watching the sunset that night, we kayaked on the Lake one morning and paddled right up to a large group of Hippo’s who very casually carried on with their wallowing despite us being so close by. We also went on a ‘spider-walk’ one evening (a truly fascinating experience), and managed to snorkel on two occasions, although the visibility wasn’t great and the waves were quite rough, but one can not plan these things.
To top it off, we treated ourselves to a massage at the spa … apart from the cakes that were laid out every afternoon, a massage at Thonga is another thing I would highly recommend indulging in before you leave!
All in all, Thonga Beach Lodge is a wonderfully relaxing and luxurious spot that will suit both a honeymoon couple such as ourselves, and groups or families (the majority of the guests were actually families, some of whom keep coming back!).