Things to do and see on the way to Thonga Beach Lodge:


Many of our guests choose to fly into and drive from Durban, the third-largest city in South Africa. With a warm sub-tropical climate, Durban is South Africa’s favourite holiday resort city, and its modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere and vibrant mix of cultures make it a worthwhile stop along your way.

Top tourist attractions include the Golden Mile beachfront promenade, the Durban Botanic Gardens, Umgeni River Bird Park, the cultural Indian Quarter, uShaka Marine World, Moses Mabhida Stadium, and many more.

St Lucia
St Lucia is two-and-a-half hours’ drive from King Shaka International Airport and is a good location for an overnight stay on the way to Thonga Beach Lodge. St Lucia is the perfect gateway to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which was proclaimed as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in 1999 by UNESCO. St Lucia boasts the largest free-roaming hippo population in South Africa and, to this day, hippos can still be seen wandering down the streets at night.

Taking a boat safari on the St Lucia Estuary is an absolute must where you will see an astonishing number of hippos, birdlife and crocodiles.

Houseboat safari on Lake Jozini
Experience the first houseboats in South Africa on Lake Jozini - still the only ones of their kind. Onboard Shayamanzi Houseboats, soak up the stunning scenery of the Lebombo Mountains and the magnificent wildlife of the Pongola Game Reserve on the shores of Lake Jozini (also known as Pongolapoort Dam). Enjoy the calm serenity of the Lake Jozini waters, the thrill of tiger fishing or the adventure of mountain biking in the heart of the Zululand bushveld.

Western shores of the iSimangaliso Park
If you are travelling from St Lucia to Thonga Beach Lodge, consider driving through the iSimangaliso Park via Dukuduku Gate before rejoining the N2 highway at Charters Creek. This is a Big 5 game area where you’ll have the opportunity to spot a wide array of wildlife. Please note that you will be required to pay park fees at the gate and that trailers are not allowed on this route.

Ilala Weavers & Fig Tree Café at Hluhluwe
Ilala Weavers is a family-owned business and is a great place to stop for a good coffee, light meal and excellent local curios.
Ilala Weavers is the largest wholesaler of handwoven crafts in South Africa. Baskets are made from indigenous raw materials and wire are their speciality. The area is synonymous with the Zulu women handweaving Zulu baskets, laughing and talking to each other as they go about their craft.

Ilala Weavers also offers:

  • Zulu Cultural Museum - fascinating to see the old Zulu antiques and artefacts
  • African Art Gallery - displaying art from different African cultures
  • Fig Tree Café and Deli - open seven days a week, the cafe serves breakfast and light lunches and has a full bar facility.
  • A children’s play area
  • Hand-beaded Angels that have become a symbol of hope. The sale of these Angels supports various local charities and initiatives


Guests travelling by car from the Kruger National Park exit the park via Crocodile Bridge and then travel through the charming mountain kingdom of Swaziland, winding through hills and valleys on their way to the vibrant province of KwaZulu-Natal. An overnight stop either in Swaziland or just south of the Golela border post in KwaZulu-Natal is advised to break the journey.

Recommended accommodation stops:

  • Mkhaya Game Reserve - Swaziland
  • Ghost Mountain Inn