6 days from £1430pp plus international flights.
This is a real gem - your chance to spend time in a luxury lodge on a pristine, unspoilt white sand beach on the KwaZulu Natal coast in iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
This is a stunningly beautiful setting, with the beach backed by dense dune forests and grasslands, and your photos will inspire admiration and maybe a tinge of envy! Thonga Beach Lodge combines the rustic charm of thatch and wood with mod cons like air conditioning. Your suite is on stilts and as you sit on the balcony you can enjoy fine views over the lush forest.
Your main decision each day as you enjoy a delicious breakfast, will be how to spend your time. You can be as idle or active as you wish. Spend a day lazing on the private beach or sunbathing on the deck, punctuated with refreshing swims in the sea or pool and maybe a visit to the spa. On another day you can take go kayaking on Lake Sibaya and take strolls along the deserted lakeshore, or take the motorlaunch out into the ocean and swim with dolphins. On dry land you can follow a guide through the forests and dunes, bird watching as you go and you will have the chance to visit a Tsonga homestead and spend time with local people.
You will enjoy fine food eaten al freso on the large deck, though look out for the cheeky monkeys who also appreciate the fare and may try and steal some! Savour sundowners in the upstairs lounge, chatting and swapping stories with other guests. The staff are charming and will look after you well. This is your chance to holiday in tranquil, remote coastline - a small piece of paradise!
When your flight lands at Richards Bay airport you will be met by a local representative and driven to Thonga Beach Lodge. This drive will take about 2½ hours, the last 30 minutes being in a 4x4 vehicle. Settle in to your luxury thatched suite and take in the views of the coastal forest. It's time to relax after the journey. Later you will enjoy a delicious meal on the open deck. Dinner
Your lodge is on Mabibi beach, a real picture postcard white sand beach backed by coastal dune forest. With just 12 suites, this is a small and intimate hideaway, ideal for downtime away from everyday stresses and strains. Today you can explore your surroundings, swimming in the warm ocean waters, strolling along the beach and taking a guided walk through the forests, grasslands and beaches. Back at the lodge you will chat with fellow guests over drinks and meals on the terrace and in the cosy upper floor lounge looking out over the beach and forest. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Today you might like to take an excursion to Lake Sibaya, a 25 minute drive from the lodge. This is the largest freshwater lake in Southern Africa at 70 square kms. There are 125kms of untouched shoreline waiting to be explored and you can also get out on the water in a kayak accompanied by a guide. You are sure to spot many species of birds and may also see hippos and crocodiles. Nearer the lodge there are opportunities for snorkelling and scuba diving, both great ways to witness the fascinating underwater world of reefs and tropical fish. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
After breakfast you can ponder your options for the day. You may opt to stay put and have a day in and around the lodge. Top up your tan as you doze on the sundeck, lulled by the sound of the breeze in the trees, then cool off with a swim in the pool and indulge in a colourful cocktail at the bar. Later you can treat yourself to a visit to the rejuvenation centre for a therapeutic massage. If you are lucky enough to be here between December and February you can take a nocturnal walk along the beach looking for egg-laying turtles. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Today you may want to try the special open ocean experience offered by the lodge. You will take an exhilarating ride in a launch out past the breaking waves, where you can hope to see dolphins, whales, whale sharks, manta rays and giant turtles. You can leave the boat to swim and snorkel alongside these creatures, a magical experience. This excursion is weather dependent and is payable locally. Another possibility is a visit to a Tsonga homestead, spending time with members of the community for an insight into their lifestyle and culture. Tonight you can enjoy a candle-lit dinner on the beach. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Enjoy your final breakfast at Thonga Beach Lodge. Afterwards you'll be transferred back to Richards Bay in time to check in for your onward flight. Breakfast.
Guide price from (pp sharing): £1430 (ex. international flights)
Price notes: 2018 guide price pp sharing: January-April £1610. May-July £1430. August 2018 to April 2019 £1740
5 nights accommodation on a twin share basis in a forest view room; return transfers from Richards Bay to Thonga Beach Lodge; meals as specified; tea and coffee; use of snorkelling equipment and kayaks; guided walks; sundowners at Lake Sibaya; cultural tours to the Tsonga community.
International flights and departure taxes; visas; travel insurance; meals not specified; drinks; park fees; open ocean experience; spa treatments; tips; items of a personal nature.
Getting there: This holiday starts and ends at Richards Bay airport. Return international flights from the UK via Johannesburg will cost from £1,100 per person, depending on season and availability. We will be happy to book flights for you.
Departure dates: This is a private tailor made South Africa holiday. We can arrange this for you at any time you like, and you can tweak this in any way you like.
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Find the best time to visit South Africa
Time: GMT +2 hours
Flight time: There are daily flights from Europe to Johannesburg (about 10 ½ hours direct) and Cape Town (about 11 hours). There is also a good network of domestic flights connecting all main towns.
Language: English is South Africa's main administrative language and is widely spoken. There are also 11 official tribal languages.
Visas: Visas are not required for British passport holders.
Health: No vaccinations are compulsory. Malaria is found in certain areas (mainly Kruger and the east coast towards Mozambique), but not throughout the country.