Fully serviced and staffed, air-conditioned and pet friendly, Crafters Lodge is designed for privacy and comfort. This small secure complex offers simple living ideally suited to the climate, with a large deck, expansive windows and charming rural surroundings.
Where we are
Crafters Lodge lies in Sodwana Bay village adjoining Isimangaliso World Heritage Site and within 40 km of four of Kwazulu Natal's major Game Reserves, 80 km from Hluhluwe and 1700 metres from the beach at Sodwana Bay by line of sight, 7 minutes by road. The world’s highest forested dune and a dense mangrove water system separate the village from the sea.
What we offer
Offering individual chalets each nestling in the natural bush, Crafters’ Lodge is securely fenced and safe for pets and with a salt water swimming pool. Our well- trained staff will take care of you while you and your family enjoy an exciting and adventurous holiday. Chalets offer 2 bedrooms, 1 bath/shower room, and an additional out- door rustic shower, hanging and washing facilities for dive gear, air-conditioning and fans throughout, open plan lounge/dining room/kitchen, wooden balustrade deck with Weber braai, comfortable outdoor hardwood furniture and charming local craft contributions in the form of curtains, place mats, floor mats, waste-paper baskets, bedside tables, kiddies chairs and occasional tables.
The architectural language at Crafters Lodge is ideally suited to the climate, with screed floors, and rush mats. Furnishing is simple, incorporating items made locally and sold in the rural market at the beach. An exterior colour palette of rich earth tones unites the chalets with the African soil.
Beach access is through the main Parks Board Gates, controlled by Isimangaliso Wetland Parks. A fee of R 50 per adult is levied to access the beach. A Golden Rhino Card can be bought which gives unlimited access to all of the KZN Game Reserves and Parks.
There is a secure parking area behind the world's highest forested dune, and there is unique 4 x 4 access onto the inter-tidal zone, so people wanting privacy can travel for 4 km up the beach to deserted private areas to swim or fish.
Things to do
Sodwana Bay diving is unique in the world. Abundant corals, well-balanced fish-life and breath-taking natural beauty make Sodwana Bay reefs some of the most spectacular and fascinating in the world. Diving is on reefs where the reef population balance is complete with huge shoals of barracuda, eagle rays and an abundance of reef fish. In summer the pregnant female ragged tooth sharks lie in the warm waters, fasting while they gestate.
Laze on the extensive swimming beaches, or drift into the warm tropical waters to snorkel off Jesser Point and enjoy a beach breakfast at the Beach Cafe, then dine at night at Lighthouse restaurant on their mouth-watering pizza.
Try a quad bike trail through the pine plantations, try surf fishing, book a kite surfing lesson. You can dive the reefs in the morning, book a Game Viewing Safari to Tembe Elephant Park in the afternoon and take a Turtle Tour to watch turtles laying their eggs at night
Big Game and Deep Sea fishing made Sodwana Bay famous, and many Prestigious International competitions are held there. Fisherman can book day trips or bring their own boats.
View the bay from a microlight aircraft, or try body surfing or boogie boarding.
Buy a sarong or handwoven beach- bag from the local market, or take a set of handwoven table mats home as a memento. Sodwana Bay has it all. You just have to be there.
Shopping and Dining
There are a few restaurants in Sodwana Bay Village including the Lighthouse restaurant and Nguni's inside the Ramble Ramble complex. Inside the Controlled access area and on the beach is a Beach Cafe . There is also a Beach Shop on the beach, and a SPAR general dealer inside the park. The small town of Mbazwana’ 9km from the Lodge sells everything, from petrol to cheap clothing to groceries.
Rustic Ramble Main Road Sodwana Bay
Evolving gently over the past 30 years Rustic Ramble, Sodwana Bay’s rural shopping centre offers a soothing old world experience not to be missed. Combining business services, hand built clothing, local artifacts and art work, an anglers den, a dive Museum an excellent restaurant and pub, Rustic Ramble is the place to stop for breakfast or lunch and enjoy some rural retail therapy.
Carol Schick, talented and creative, provides endless gorgeous clothes to try and buy at amazingly low prices, while divers can browse through the Dive museum, and fishing afficiandos can buy their gear from Anglers Cove. At Revive, the quaint boutique belonging to Ronel you can enjoy a massage or reiki treatment.
Nguni’s makes the best plate of tomato and bacon I have ever eaten with a selection of tiny tomatoes and herbs home grown in the nursery, with delicious crispy bacon and toast.
Well worth a look is the Dive Museum. Legends from all over the world have donated gear, and this is arguably one of the most comprehensive collections of historic dive gear outside the Museum. From the massive video camera that shot The Greatest Shoal on Earth to a lethal looking antique diver’s suit with copper and brass helmet, the museum is well worth a visit.
The Lighthouse Restaurant and Smoothie Bar at Sodwana Bay
Open from Thursday to Sunday, the Lighthouse fine dining restaurant serves the Sodwana Bay diving community with delicious designer pizzas, delectable desserts and succulent steaks. Operating a fine dining restaurant 198 km from the nearest up-market supply source is not always easy, but Tarry and Jenny Smart have solved some of their supply problems by growing their own salads and herbs. This allows them to make delicious fresh designer salads, using cleverly structured recipes and presentation.
They also take advantage of the fact that in a tribal area the prime cuts are not prized by the local population, and their prices for fillet T Bones and rump are extremely reasonable.
Staffing too has taken a lot of investment in training, and their staff have all been professionally trained in service to the food industry, resulting in an unexpectedly pleasing level of service.
The environment is lovely, with fairy lights, tall trees with the deck fitted around their trunks, and beautifully polished marine varnished hand crafted furniture.
The Lighthouse is a great place to meet friends after diving, to enjoy beautiful natural surroundings, and to eat delicious food, while the little shop in the corner offers a wide variety of branded clothing lines for ladies and children.
Well worth a visit.
Northern Kwa Zulu Natal has a warm tropical climate with summer rains from October to April and dry warm winters from May to September. Temperatures range from 21 degrees to 34 degrees in mid-summer. Sunscreen is a must here year-round. Northern KZN is listed as a malarial area, and visitors are advised to use insect repellent after dusk.
Game reserves abound, are easily accessible and offer 4 hour safaris, day trips or over-night accommodation. The closest game reserve to Sodwana Bay is Mkuze, 30km from Sodwana and Phinda Private Game Reserve, 40km from Sodwana, both offering the Big Five, but the most unique is Tembe Elephant Park, 40 km from Sodwana, where the giant black elephants breed. A Safari through this Park is a must.
The Rural People
Northern KZN is underdeveloped and has a large rural population. The rural families living here build their homes and invest their incomes earned in the major towns in family-owned plots. Each plot is generally 50m by 50m, and all the spare family cash goes into construction and upgrading of houses in the area. Half-built houses are the norm in Northern rural KZN. Life here is simple, and many families rely on DSTV for entertainment, and cellular phones for communication. Crime is low, and tourists are welcomed.
Bookings are only confirmed after receipt of the deposit, and only electronic payments can be processed. Your maid will hand you your keys, and your security guard will be on hand to help with any problems or queries.
Please sign in with security, and complete the visitors book on your departure.
Fly in to Durban International Airport. Make sure you have your International Driving License with you, and be careful to obey the speeding laws. KZN has a Zero Tolerance policy towards speedsters.
Europe car will offer you a budget car, but book before you travel.
AVIS can provide a 4 x 4, but book before you travel.
From the airport follow signs to North Coast N2, by-passing Durban.
With a full petrol tank travel North for 4 hours. Then take the off-ramp to HLUHLUWE. Follow sign boards to SODWANA BAY.
Fill up with petrol at the small town of Mbazwana. Take signs towards Sodwana Bay. After 9 km you will have reached the Sodwana Bay Village. Follow Crafters Lodge yellow and Black signs to Crafters Lodge.