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Review: Thonga Beach Lodge

Accommodation - Hotel

iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Elephant Coast, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

The good and the bad

  • By SilverTraveller Footsore

    19 reviews


  • August 2015
  • Wife

89 people found this review helpful

We spent 3 nights at this lodge. Some elements were good, while others were poor, so on average, and comparing it with other South African lodges we stayed in, we give it 2 stars.

The lodge has a spectacular location with magnificent views of the ocean and miles of deserted beaches, and is certainly quiet and secluded. We had informed the lodge in advance that I have mobility problems and cannot climb stairs, so they thoughtfully put as in the suite nearest the dining room, which unfortunately did not benefit from any view, but at least we did not have far to walk.

However although the management knew I had mobility problems, on the first night, we were offered a table in the dining room on the first floor, as it was too cold and wet generally to eat outside. The object appeared to be to seat the larger parties downstairs, with all the couples upstairs. Unfortunately this was up 15 steep steps without a handrail. We explained I couldn’t do the stairs and were given a table by ourselves outside. Fortunately we just finished eating before it rained. However, we were assured we would have a table on the ground floor the next night. The second night there was a different manager on duty, and exactly the same thing happened. This time as it was raining we stuck our heels in and they made space for us downstairs. On the third night, I think the Zulu staff had taken over and everything was fine.

Although it had been warm and sunny everywhere else on our trip, unfortunately it was wet and cool when we were at Thonga. Obviously the lodge cannot be blamed for this. It has a really lovely setting, but it is principally a water sports place, and if the sea is too rough for these to take place, there isn’t a lot to do. Also it is probably a younger persons place and there wasn’t really enough to do for older travellers, although the Cultural tour was particularly good. I’m sure this is a wonderful place during the South African summer, but I would question whether this is truly an all seasons resort. I appreciate it is sunny a lot of the time, but when we were there (August) it was cool and wet. The rooms do not have any heating, and one night we were given blankets to wear while we were eating dinner. In addition the Lodge was also struggling with the rain, and for one meal we had damp napkins as they couldn’t dry them.

The food was excellent, and although my wife is a vegetarian, which can be tricky, there were no problems here. In addition, the stars of the lodge are the local staff. Their attention to detail was outstanding, and several of them spent ages trying to teach my wife to speak Zulu. Maybe if the local staff had been managing the lodge there would have been fewer problems.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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