Make your journey all the more memorable when you enjoy close encounters with nature at its best. We offer our guests an authentic array of exciting experiences, with something for every adventurer, nature-lover and max-relaxer.

Turtle Tracking

Our guests have the privilege of experiencing the miracle of life. Under the cover of darkness, follow mother turtles as they return to the same beach where they were born to begin the cycle all over again. Watch mesmerised as the mother turtle digs a hole and goes into a trance-like state while laying her eggs before returning to the depths of the sea.

Malachite Kingfisher

Bird Watching

Thonga’s abundant coastline and shady forests provide a haven for both birds and birdwatching alike. The diversity of flora attracts a wide variety of species, which include Livingstone’s and purple-crested touraco, green twinspot, grey waxbill and green coucal. A variety of waders and the palm-nut vulture are also regulars. Guided birding is available at no additional cost.

Bird List


Mabibi is regarded as one of the best snorkeling sites in South Africa. The coral reefs along this protected stretch of coastline are home to thousands of species of tropical fish. Our rockpool snorkeling area is home to mostly juvenile fish, but you can see octopus, fire fish, moray eels and electric rays too. The snorkeling is in the bay, about 400 metres south of the lodge. Snorkeling is tide dependent and is best at low tide. Guests can also experience the thrill of snorkeling in the open ocean on shallow reefs. Age restrictions do not apply to rock pool snorkeling, however our fin sizes start at 36/37 and you must be a competent swimmer. Children under 8 need to be accompanied by an adult.

Marine List


You’ll get hooked on the amazing fishing at Thonga! The Maputaland coastline is renowned as one of South Africa’s most popular fishing destinations, with a wide variety of game and reef fish. Please note: Permits and tackle are required at own cost. The lodge does not keep any tackle, so don’t forget to bring your lucky rod.

SCUBA Diving

Become a local on the reef! SCUBA diving at Thonga Beach is phenomenal, with reefs located only a short distance from the lodge. Shoals of game fish, sharks and schools of bottlenose dolphins are often encountered. All enthusiasts are welcome, from the beginner to the veteran. SCUBA training is also available at our PADI dive centre.


Sundowners On Lake Sibaya

Say cheers to the sun after another perfect day in Africa. Lake Sibaya is a perfect spot to watch an iconic sunset over southern Africa’s largest freshwater lake, just 6km and a 25 minute drive away. Enjoy your favourite drink and some tasty snacks as dusk welcomes the wild’s nightshift. No additional charge.

The lake’s diverse flora provides a variety of habitats for birds, mammals and aquatic life. Research reveals that hundreds of years ago, the lake was connected to the sea. When the estuary closed naturally, numerous fish and aquatic creatures were trapped in a freshwater environment, creating a biological treasure chest.

Lake Sibaya contains the second largest population of hippopotamus and crocodile in KwaZulu-Natal and is an important breeding, feeding and roosting area for a host of bird species. Surface water in the surrounding coastal plain often disappears completely during dry spells, making the lake the only source of permanent water for birds and mammals.

Kayaking at Thonga Beach Lodge

Kayaking On Lake Sibaya

Early morning guided kayaking is offered on Lake Sibaya, southern Africa’s largest freshwater lake. Guests are driven up to the lake (20 minute) drive where they can enjoy an early morning paddle when the waters are calm and the possibility of seeing hippos and crocs is fair. This is also an excellent birding opportunity. Regret no children under 12 years may partake of this activity. There is no additional charge for this activity.

The untouched shoreline of Lake Sibaya stretches for 100km; at 70 square kilometres, it is South Africa’s largest freshwater lake. Lake Sibaya falls within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and the Ramsar Convention assures its international conservation status.

Open Ocean Experience

We like to think of our Open Ocean Experience as an “ocean safari” or “game drive on the sea”. This adventure activity offers guests a rare opportunity to experience the variety of marine life that lives along the Elephant Coast. An exciting launch through the surf, in front of the lodge, takes you beyond the breakers where you spend approximately an hour experiencing the beauty of the ocean and enjoying the scenery of our beautiful coastline, where dolphins, whales and whale sharks swim freely. Depending on sea conditions guests may have the opportunity of snorkeling off one of our shallow reefs. If mother nature decides to give you a special treat you may see bottlenose or spinner dolphins, manta rays and giant sea turtles.
What makes the trip so special, is that we are the only operator launching this far north, so our reefs are in pristine condition and it is just our boat out at sea.

No experience is required for this activity, but the launch through the surf can be strenuous. We regret no children under 12 years or adults over 65 years can take part in the Open Ocean Experience. The trip is limited to a maximum number of 10 guests. This activity is weather and tide dependent and lasts approximately one hour.  There is an additional charge for this activity.

Marine List

Spa at Thonga

Put the sparkle back into your soul with a wide selection of rejuvenating treatments, facials, massages, manicures, pedicures, hot stone therapy and reflexology. Considering the pristine surroundings, it’s only natural your body wants to return to its natural and biological best.


Tsonga Cultural Tours

The iSimangaliso area is home to the wonderfully hospitable Tsonga people, who have made this land their home for more than 1000 years. As part of the Thonga Beach Lodge experience, we believe in creating a human bridge between our wilderness areas and the local communities so that the flow of benefits to these communities motivates them to protect these precious resources. Our local Tsonga guides will proudly take you to a local homestead, school and clinic so that you can experience how the Tsonga people go about their day-to-day lives. There’s no additional charge for this activity.

Guided Forest Walks

Take a walk on the wild side and head out on foot to explore this natural wonderland through coastal forests, unspoiled sandy beaches and grasslands. There are over 296 bird species in the area, 2,200 flowering plants, 282 butterfly and 228 spider species. The forest is home to localised arboreal mammals such as the tonga red squirrel, the thick tailed bush baby, the rare samango monkey and setaros dwarf chameleon. The walks normally take about 1-1,5 hours. Longer walks can be arranged. There is no charge for these walks.