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 border, to Cape St Lucia in the south collectively form the first of eight South African UNESCO World Heritage sites.
There is a wealth of diversity of bird and animal life that ranges from whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and incredible waterfowl - such as storks, pelicans, terns and herons; well over 500 South African bird species including the Madagascar fish eagle, the Nile crocodile, South Africa’s largest hippo population, elephant, black and white rhino, giraffe, buffalo and a range of antelope that includes waterbuck, impala and kudu.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park includes Lake St Lucia, the St Lucia and Maputaland Marine Reserves, the Coastal Forest Reserve, the Kosi Bay Natural Reserve and Mkuze Game Reserve – no fewer than 328 000 hectares of pristine natural ecosystems, and the country’s third largest protected land mass.
A considerable part of the park centres on the huge estuary, Lake St Lucia – part of the largest estuarine system in Africa - that runs parallel to the coast line with the world’s highest forested sand dunes sandwiched between the estuary and the sea.
The park is one of South Africa’s most popular destinations, and, aside from the numerous hiking trails, offers fishing, rock and surf fishing, estuary fishing and deep sea fishing, as well as diving, horse riding, game viewing and whale and bird watching.
For additional information please see Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park and iSimangaliso Wetland Park, WHS.
Popular Attractions in and near iSimangaliso Wetland Park
iSimangaliso Marine Protected Area
Where? St Lucia
iSimangaliso Wetland Park is the largest marine protected area (MPA) in South Africa. Up until February 2016 the country conserved roughly 21 Marine Protected Areas, when an announcement by the government outlined its intention to add a further...
More info and contact details: iSimangaliso Marine Protected Area
Charters Creek and Western Shores
Where? St Lucia
Charters Creek lies on the Western Shores of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park on KwaZulu Natal's Elephant Coast. This section is a recent addition to the St Lucia collection, opening to the general public only in December 2013. Over eight years...
More info and contact details: Charters Creek and Western Shores
Turtle Tracking at Thonga
Research has shown that the mother returns to the same beach and that eggs are laid within metres of where the mother emerged as a hatchling years previously. Guests at Thonga Beach Lodge can view the turtles as they are laying and every...
More info and contact details: Turtle Tracking at Thonga Beach Lodge
Turtle Tracking in Kosi Bay
Where? Kosi Bay
Turtle tracking is offered every night from 15 November to 15 January at Kosi Forest Lodge in Kosi Bay. These excursions (including transfers to and from the beach) can last up to 3 to 4hrs and may return very late. Giant Leatherback and Loggerhead...
More info and contact details: Turtle Tracking in Kosi Bay
Whale Watching in St Lucia
Where? St Lucia
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 boat-based whale watching trips...
More info and contact details: Whale Watching in St Lucia
Did you know?
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is so biodiverse, it supports more species of animal than Kruger despite being only the third largest park in the country.
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