The iSimangaliso Wetland Park, formerly known as the St Lucia Wetland Park, is located on KwaZulu-northeastern Natal’s border in the breathtakingly picturesque area known as the Elephant Coast.
The first of eight South African UNESCO World Heritage sites is made up of a stunning collection of beaches, coral reefs, lakes, swamps, wetlands, woodlands, coastal forests, and grasslands that stretches all the way from Kosi Bay, practically on the Mozambican border, to Cape St. Lucia in the south.
Whales, dolphins, sea turtles, incredible waterfowl like storks, pelicans, terns, and herons, over 500 different bird species native to South Africa, including the Madagascar fish eagle, the Nile crocodile, the country’s largest population of hippos, elephants, black and white rhinos, giraffes, and buffalo, as well as a variety of antelope like waterbuck, impala, and kudu.
A total of 328 000 hectares of pristine natural ecosystems make up the third largest protected land mass in the country, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which is also home to Lake St. Lucia, the St. Lucia and Maputaland Marine Reserves, the Coastal Forest Reserve, the Kosi Bay Natural Reserve, and the Mkuze Game Reserve.
The park is largely centred on the enormous Lake St. Lucia estuary, which is part of the largest estuarine system in Africa. The estuary and the sea are separated by the highest wooded sand dunes in the world.
In addition to its many hiking paths, the park is one of South Africa’s most visited tourist sites. Activities available there include diving, horseback riding, animal viewing, whale and bird watching, rock and surf fishing, estuary fishing, and deep sea fishing.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority, The Dredger Harbour, Private Bag X05, St Lucia, 3936
When To Visit
Best during daylight hours.
Tel: +27 82 797 7944