KwaZulu Natal Tourist AttractionsIsiphaphalazi Butterfly Dome
Where? St Lucia, Elephant Coast, KwaZulu Natal
How? Call +27 (0)35 550-4445
South Africa is one of the world’s most beautiful tourist destinations. What must undoubtedly be the chief reason for this is that it is so varied. Its natural splendour is offered freely and abundantly in a gorgeous array – ranging from dense indigenous forests to scrublands, coastlines, valleys, mountain ranges and even deserts. It is so perfectly balanced, ensuring that, no matter what visitors prefer, there is bound to be just the thing in South Africa.
However, this abundance and variety comes with a certain amount of responsibility. Protecting the fauna and flora at many different levels is the key to maintaining biodiversity and keeping this country so special. The Isiphaphalazi Butterfly House has this preservation as their goal. This is the first butterfly exhibit that is run by the local community in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, giving visitors the opportunity to meet and interact with these ones in a very personal, memorable way.
The concept behind Isiphaphalazi was born in 1998, when four men that loved the earth and its fellow residents started their own rustic nursery. However, when their plants were being destroyed by caterpillars, they called in the help of a butterfly expert. After learning the importance of caterpillars and butterflies and how reliant they are on very specific plant species, these four advocates for all things natural started building the butterfly house.
It took almost a decade of financial challenges before the African Conservation Trust heard of their efforts and contributed much-needed funds to their efforts. This helped them to build the butterfly house, as well as an earthworm farm, nursery and permaculture unit (which simulates the systems and processes that occur naturally). These add so much to Isiphaphalazi, making it a really interesting little find.
In the butterfly dome, live indigenous butterfly species are shown within their natural environment, inviting tourists and locals to see and be a part of this habitat in an up-close way. The plants on which they thrive and those that they need to survive are all available to them, without the threat of pesticides, harvesting or pollution. Tours are conducted by guides that are invested in this initiative and their passion and interest shines through as they impart loads of remarkable facts, while pointing out fascinating species along the way.
Because of the hands-on involvement of the local community, visiting the Isiphaphalazi Butterfly Dome means that you are able to contribute directly to the conservation efforts and quality of life of the people and animals that call this home.
The Isiphaphalazi Butterfly Dome is situated inside the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which is hailed as the first World Heritage Site in the country. Many of these butterflies come from the nearby Dukuduku Coastal Forest, which is a lovely site to explore too (particularly the Butterfly Trail). In addition to the butterflies, those visiting Isiphaphalazi can also venture further afield and go on a guided trail through the countryside and park, which is the ideal opportunity to take stunning holiday photographs and get a very special perspective of South Africa and its unrivalled beauty.