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The Elephant Coast is a 200km stretch of beautiful unspoilt coastline stretching from the South African – Mozambique border down south towards Durban. This narrow strip of land is home to 21 different ecosystems, and includes Isimangaliso Wetland Area, which is a World Heritage Site. The Elephant Coast has something to offer everyone, with dozens of game reserves, beautiful beaches, fishing and scuba diving on beautiful reefs, mountain trails, cultural activities and a number of historical sites.
Where to Stay
Thonga Beach Lodge
Thonga Beach Lodge is set on the shores of the Maputuland coast, in the northern reaches of the Elephant Coast, in an area known as Mabibi. This 24 bed luxury lodge is the ideal place to discover one of the most unspoilt beaches on the east African coastline. Set above a secluded bay, Thonga Beach Lodge is nestled into a beautiful coastal dune forest and offers guests views of stunning beach below. The thatched bush suites provide guest privacy and were constructed to ensure minimal impact on the environment.
More about Thonga Beach Lodge here.
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Things to Do
For the Diving Adventurers
Thonga Beach Lodge lies adjacent to Africa’s southern most coral reefs making it the only tropical dive site in South Africa. The region offers some of the best diving conditions in the world, but has gone largely unnoticed because of its remoteness. This stretch of coastline falls into the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, which is a protected marine reserve. Because of this protected status, divers are guaranteed pristine reefs, huge schools of fish and an amazing variety of fauna and flora. The reefs offer a diversity of underwater topography including amazing branching table and plate corals, beautiful overhangs and swim-throughs, and amazing drop-offs. More than 1200 species of fish can be found on the reefs, including a wide variety of reef and pelagic species, manta rays, whalesharks, dolphins, sharks and turtles. Conditions are good all year round, with visibility ranging from 10 – 40 metres, and water temperature ranging from 20°C to 29°C.
For the Colourful Mixtures
The shoreline offers great opportunities for guests to snorkel in the rock pools, or try their hand at fishing. 6 km from the Lodge, lies Lake Sibaya, Southern Africa’s largest fresh water lake. The lake has 125 km of untouched shoreline and offers fantastic bird watching. Guests can also explore the lake by guided kayak with the chance of seeing hippo and crocodile. Guests can head out on foot and explore this natural wonderland through coastal dune forests, unspoiled sandy beaches and grasslands. Guests can also witness the culmination of an incredible journey as Giant Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles come ashore to lay their eggs in carefully prepared nests. Turtle tracking is offered in the evening from November to end February.
Did you Know?
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park was listed as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in December 1999 in recognition of its natural beauty and unique global values. The Park contains three lake systems, eight ecosystems, 700 year old fishing traditions, swamp forests, Africa’s largest estuarine system, 526 bird species and 25 000 year-old coastal dunes.