Thonga Beach Lodge – iSimangaliso Wetland Park
The first area in South Africa to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 332,000-hectare iSimangaliso Wetland Park is astoundingly diverse. Made up of eight interlinking ecosystems, it is home to 526 bird species and Africa’s largest estuarine system. Mabibi, where you’ll find Thonga Beach Lodge, offers up some of the best diving in the world, making it an ideal spot for a marine safari. More than 1200 species of fish are found on Mabibi’s coral reefs!
The four-star lodge accommodates guests in standalone treehouse-style cottages that look out over the ocean. If it’s a view you’re after, you should book one of the Deluxe Ocean View Suites; look carefully and you’ll probably spot of school of bottlenose dolphins swimming by. In addition to snorkeling and scuba diving, you can also explore parts of Lake Sibaya – the largest freshwater lake in SA – by guided kayak.
It’s worth planning your trip so that it falls between the months of November and February. This way, you can take part in the nightly turtle tracking activities. Two types of turtles lay their eggs on the Maputuland coast – Leatherbacks and Loggerheads – and the lodge facilitates the opportunity to witness the turtles coming out to lay their eggs or the hatchlings making a dash for the sea.