our storya journey with purpose

A 29 year legacy of conservation and communities

Our Story

The founders and owners of Isibindi Africa Lodges, Brett and Paige Gehren, both come from a conservation background. This family owned and run luxury safari, island and beach collection of wilderness lodges is positioned in exceptional ecosystems in Southern Africa. Twenty-nine years of pioneering sustainable wildlife lodges, that is built on the bedrock that they include and empower our neighbouring communities.

“We aren’t just offering the safari of a lifetime, we’re offering a future”

The Isibindi Family

A family business, we don’t operate lodges that we don’t own, every one of our camps we have built and we run. It starts as an Isibindi vision, it evolves and unfolds into somewhere special, an exceptional location with considered spaces, which we would have chosen for our honeymoon or wanted to take our children to holiday. Having happy staff is an integral part of our business, we have a lot of fun at Isibindi doing what we do and we want to share that with you. We live by the motto courage & fun.

“Our natural responsibility,

The Isibindi Foundation

The Isibindi Foundation was established in 2019 to consolidate our 23 years of community and conservation projects, and to also create a purpose driven entity to assist these initiatives. The Foundation allows our guests to be philanthropic travellers and to journey with purpose.


Travel is powerful when it connects us to a purpose and a community.”

- Tom Brown Jr.

Connecting to our eco-conscious community

Our purpose drives us all at Isibindi Africa Lodges, and so we are committed to incorporating eco-conscious systems and initiatives wherever possible, this includes:

Removing single use plastics which includes replacing plastic water bottles with a reusable bottle for each guest

Investing in large solar energy farms

Creating micro-economies in neighbouring communities to supply our lodges

Recycling unused lodge food into feeding schemes for neighbouring creches

Refusing to serve seafood that is not ethically harvested

Some fun facts about Isibindi

escapeto a place of miracle and wonder

Thonga Beach Lodge is uniquely set on the pristine shores of the Maputaland Coast. Part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Parl - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - Thonga is the place to discover one of Africa's last unspoilt wilderness beaches. The name "iSimangaliso" means "miracle and wonder" - an apt name for an area that is home to such a diverse and spectacular array of unique ecosystems.

About the iSimangaliso Wetland Park

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park was listed as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in December 1999 in recognition of its status as a site of biological wealth and natural beauty.

No other place in South Africa can compete with the exceptional natural beauty and biodiversity of iSimangaliso. The 332,000-hectare park contains three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems, 700-year-old fishing traditions, most of South Africa’s remaining swamp forests, Africa’s largest estuarine system and 25,000-year-old vegetated coastal dunes which are among the highest in the world.

A sanctuary for species great and small

The World Heritage Committee granted the Park its status after noting its exceptional biodiversity– over 526 birds, 50 amphibia, 128 reptile species, lake systems, swamps, reed and papyrus wetlands, savannah, vegetated coastal dunes and sandy beaches. The marine ecosystem has 1 039 fish species, 100 species of coral, 812 marine molluscs and huge dolphin populations. The area also boasts a large migratory pod of humpback whales that congregate en-route between Mozambique and the Cape, usually taking residence for several months between June and November. A vast numbers of albatross visit in the winter months.

The Maputaland coastline has been shaped over millennia by the strong Agulhas current, which flows down the East Coast of Africa. Seasonal winds blowing across the Mozambique channel from Madagascar rotate this massive body of water, keeping it at a comfortable 26 degrees – the perfect temperature for a fun-filled adventure.

Lake Sibaya

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.

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.