Mtubatuba, Elephant Coast
Once you've booked your accommodation in Mtubatuba, explore our pages for info on attractions and what to do in Mtubatuba.
Mtubatuba, which means ‘he who was pummelled out’, is a small town north of Richards Bay and close to the entrance of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park.
Initially established as a railway siding in 1903 in a swampland of reeds and papyrus, the town Mtubatuba was almost swept away in 1918 in one of the worst floods the area had seen in over 100 years. It was only in the late 1920s that efforts to drain the swamp began and Mtubatuba became an official village in 1950.
Responsible for much of the town’s battle with water, the Mfolozi River meanders across swampy plains before reaching the sea within metres of the St Lucia Estuary. However, it joins with the White and Black Mfolozi rivers on the boundary of the Umfolozi Game Reserve, potentially more than doubling its strength and explaining its capacity for flooding. The flip side of this same coin is the fertility of the Mfolozi Flats, giving rise to sugar farms and a mill.
Mtubatuba has made its way onto the map of South Africa largely because of its proximity to Lake St Lucia and the Hluhluwe and Umfolozi Game Reserves. Mtubatuba provides a key stopover for tourists and travellers heading inland or to the coast.
This is the land of sugar cane and forests and, further north, a mountainous ridge along the coast that culminates in a series of giant forested dunes. The highest of their kind in the world, they provide the backdrop to the medley of rivers, lakes, freshwater pans and swamp forest that is Lake St Lucia.
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"Mtubatuba is so lush and fertile, it really feels like you've escaped to a different place and time. The beach is awesome. This is a nice spot for families ..." - Tania Steyn, Hogsback
Featured Attractions in (or near) Mtubatuba
The aim of the Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation Centre is to care for wild Cheetahs, Serval Cats, African Wildcats and Caracal (Lynx), which have been orphaned or injured in the wild and are in need of care and rehabilitation. Join us for an up close and personal tour and learn more about South Africa's endangered wild cat species ... more information
Birders regard False Bay Park as one of the better places to spot African broadbills. Use the designated trails to find an area of forest that has an open understorey but closed canopy for best opportunity. And you can also see one of the country's few remaining pink backed pelican colonies ... more information
The Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park was declared South Africa's first Natural World Heritage Site on 1 December 1999. It is considered South Africa's third largest park and extends from Mapelane (Cape St. Lucia) in the South, to Kozi Bay in the North. The Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park incorporates ... more information
The Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is the only park under formal conservation in KwaZulu Natal where the Big Five occur. Established in 1895, this is the oldest game park in South Africa along with nearby St Lucia Reserve. Set in the heart of Zululand this is the oldest game reserve in Africa, where Zulu kings ... more information
Now known as the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, St Lucia Wetland Park lies on the north eastern edge of KwaZulu-Natal. The incredibly beautiful series of beaches, coral reefs, lakes, swamps, wetlands, woodlands, coastal forests and grasslands that stretch all the way from Kosi Bay, virtually on the Mozambican ... more information
Mapelane Nature Reserve is the southernmost reserve within the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park. The Mapelane Nature Reserve is situated on the south bank of the Umfolozi River where it enters the sea, opposite the little village of St Lucia. The reserve is an enchanting one offering splendid walks through tropical ... more information
The Reserve has remnant stands of swamp forest, the Thulazihleka Bird viewing hide in small swamp and the Tidal Mudflats and shallows south of the Mhlatuzi river. 300 species of birds have been recorded in these habitats including several rare migrant species new to the list of KwaZulu Natal birds ... more information
St Lucia – and the chance of seeing humpback whales - When you think of whale song, you think of the sound that the humpback whale makes. Their collection of moans, cries and howls can continue for hours and have made them rather famous. St Lucia, on the elephant coast, has... more information
Things To Do in Mtubatuba