“Paradise is not merely a place, it is the friends that you make while there and the memories that you take home with you”.
We at Thonga Beach Lodge are committed in every way to ensure that our guests’ experience creates happy memories for them to take back home leaving only their footprints behind in our pristine world heritage site.
Yolande comes from a long line of hoteliers in the Drakensberg where she was raised. She has two children, Caitlin and Ash (26 and 24 respectively). Her passion and interests are horseriding, her two dogs and hiking in the Drakensberg. Yolande is a very knowledgeable indigenous gardener and is fiercely committed to maintaining an indigenous environment wherever possible.
Ashley who is our Skipper & Events Co-Ordinator has been with the company for four years originating from the fairest Cape. He played first team rugby at school and then started his career restaurant and bar management. He obtained his FGASA (Field Guide Association of South Africa) guiding qualifications through Bhejane Nature Training in Kwazulu Natal. However, a passion for ocean and nature brought him to Thonga Beach Lodge to complete his practicals after which his vibrant and joyous personality secured him a permanent position at Thonga. Ashley is the designated Turtle Guide and introduced the highly popular Spider and Scorpion walks. He is also offers basic astronomy talks as well as early morning birding trips to the Lake Sibaya.
Lee has been our dive instructor since April 2015. She started working as an auctioneer (hence her fast speech!) and then went into tender administration. She started getting intrigued with diving due to looking after her mother, who was struggling with her diving, so she began diving as a hobby but then decided she would like to start instructing. Her first 70 dives were in a dam with visibility of less than one foot, so when she came down to the ocean she was spoilt. Lee completed her instructor course at Sodwana. She always gets very, very excited when she finds a species that she has never seen before, and is passionate about teaching people.
Carl was born in Addington Hospital in Durban, and went to school in Hillcrest. He was passionate about food from an early age and did his training straight after leaving school at Chantecler School of Chefs. After graduating he worked at various restaurants in both Durban and Johannesburg, including Durban's well-known Café 99. He ran his own catering company for a while and then saw the opportunity at Thonga in 2009. He has been wowing our guests ever since. He is passionate about healthy food. Carl loves fishing, trail running and diving. He is a keen swimmer and has competed in both Midmar Mile and Dolphin Mile. He loves being outdoors all day – but hates camping!!!
Bheki is one of Thonga’s longest serving staff members, having started work 10 years ago in the maintenance department. Bheki who loves interacting with guests moved into the position of Barman where he was very popular with his large smile and stories of growing up as a member of the Thonga tribe in the nearby village of Mabibi. Bheki who is passionate about the magnificent area in which he grew up swimming and fishing in nearby Lake Sibaya, now works as a Guide at Thonga sharing his local knowledge with guests from all over the world.