The start of the journey
Established in 1998 - iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Isibindi Africa Lodges was awarded a concession to open a luxury lodge at Mabibi beach on the Maputaland coast, and shortly after in 2004, Thonga Beach Lodge opened its doors. Situated in the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, the lodge resides in a World Heritage Site. The project is one of the country’s first pioneering community developments that successfully married local communities and the private sector. It was the third lodge Isibindi Africa Lodges opened, a company that focuses on the upliftment of rural communities residing near protected areas, through partnerships in wilderness developments located in prime conservation areas. The lodge offers exceptional marine and lake activities focusing on the conservation of these natural resources through a host of guided activities. We also encourage our guests to join our numerous community activities and learn about rural Africa and its abundant traditions and intricate resource uses.
Mabibi Primary School
Mabibi Primary School, situated in the heart of Mabibi, is the only source of education within this community. The Isibindi Foundation has invested extensively in this small school over the years by funding major infrastructure projects, supplementing the nutrition programme, providing curriculum support and training to staff, as well as paying the salary for a teacher’s assistant.
An iSimangaliso turtle concession allows our guides to assist in the monitoring of turtles on the protected coastline. Our well-resourced and trained guides are able to report any poaching or threat to the turtles to the iSimangaliso authorities. We have assisted ORI (Oceanographic Research Institute) with turtle release programs. We pay the iSimangaliso Park a significant concession fee which supports their conservation initiatives. In addition, we pay another concession fee to operate turtle tours for our guests. These concession fees go towards maintaining this world heritage site’s renowned ecosystem. Our Marine Centre guides, who conduct snorkelling, diving, whale and dolphin and turtle excursions, educate our guests from all corners of the globe on the conservation work being done on this coastline. Their resulting accrued interest in conservation (and the importance of funding it) would be hard to measure. Dr George Hughes, a world-famous turtle expert, author and current CEO OF KZN Conservation Trust attends an annual turtle weekend at Thonga Beach Lodge, which guests are encouraged to participate in.
The Isibindi Foundation employs a Marine Monitor to oversee the Mabibi rock pool area. The purpose of this initiative is to educate the local community members on the importance of conserving this highly sensitive environment, advise them on how to conduct sustainable harvesting, as well as reporting any illegal activities to the park authority. The Marine Monitor will also collect and research the amount of plastic that gets washed onto the beach, which is especially important to the turtle conservation efforts.
This is a vital role towards ensuring a sustainable balance between local communities, the environment and tourism.
Recycling and Plastic Awareness
The plastic scourge in our oceans is an environmental catastrophe, with plastic constantly washing onto out pristine coastlines all over the planet. To mitigate the effect of plastic on our beaches and marine environment, the Foundation conducts regular beach clean ups along the Mabibi coastline with members of the community, as well as community clean ups in the local communities.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not!”
-The Lorax | Dr Seuss
All donations are always received with great appreciation and will take us a step closer to achieving our vision of investing in our communities in a conservation-oriented manner. All donations received will be utilized in one or more of our above programs. All project speciﬁc donations received will be allocated to the donor’s project of choice!