Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Thonga Beach Lodge, Mabibi

Robinson-Crusoe Style:

Robinson-Crusoe-goes-percale in these chic beach huts – think thatched roofs, mosquito nets and King-size white beds. Situated as close as it gets to the beach in Mabibi, Northern KwaZulu-Natal, Thonga Beach Lodge is the ideal escape from everyday worries. Here barefoot luxury literally means walking casually between the beach, bed and gourmet meals. The only stress you will experience is choosing amongst the many exciting activities on offer at Thonga – including snorkeling, deep sea diving, open ocean whale excursions, sunset cruises at Sibaya Lake, bird watching and guided walks, turtle tracking and being pampered at the local spa. 

Island style architecture, using organic materials, is perfectly blended with modern conveniences. Our thatched hut has indigenous forest and sea views through wrap-around windows and double doors and a private deck. The wooden walls are covered in grass mats, giving a plush-but-rustic feel. The bed is sublime, with cool white linen and a wide, square, suspended mosquito net. A palm mat is on the floor and ocean-blue painted wooden furniture complement the maritime theme. Behind the bed is a double basin with large mirrors and next to that a deep, curved bath. A separately enclosed toilet and a spacious shower with windows completes the room.

The sounds of the sea call to one’s soul from every part of the open lodge. The huts are connected with a raised wooden walkway, which leads to the spa hut, a beautiful lounge (shown above) with free wifi, an open bar area and the open-air deck dining space. There is a swimming pool with upholstered cushioned loungers. There are two walkways down to the beach, and one has a deck with views to open the heart.

The warm North Coast means that even in winter one can feel like one is cheating the seasons to enjoy a sunny beach escape. Thonga Beach Lodge is part of the wonderful Isibindi Africa collection, which celebrates the best of what South Africa has to offer. Bookings may be made through   

Accommodation Experience:
My partner is rather … discerning when it comes to accommodation. We live in a beautiful part of the country and we both travel a lot for work, so if it is to be tempting enough to leave home, a holiday location must be spectacular. The stay should preferably be in a natural setting, organic and yet not too rustic – or the alternative is me being dragged kicking and screaming to a campsite. So I am highly motivated to find the perfect spot, which of course I do, at Thonga Beach Lodge.

We enjoy a short and not at all harrowing 4 X 4 drive, which instantly takes our minds off work. We arrive to a healthy and delicious lunch and have fun exploring the lodge and surrounds. With so much to choose from, we declare our pleasure majors (as Elizabeth Gilbert calls them) - snorkeling, reading and beach walking. 

Walking on the beach later that same day, my heart skips a beat as I see the most carefree and relaxed version of my partner walking towards me from a distance, happily bringing back only 3 sea-weathered pieces of litter after several miles of walking, giving the rare approval “You can just walk and walk and it’s still natural. I am so glad that places like this still exist in the world.” 

You know the cliches - it takes all types to make the world go round, and opposites really do often attract. And so it is very inspiring to find a place which pleases both Robinson Crusoe and Little Miss Muppet - where each of us can appreciate our own passionate interests and take delight in one another's pleasure.

That all said, despite my valiant effort, I still finally receive one complaint about the holiday – “You should have booked for longer.” We are already planning our return next winter.

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