The Elephant Coast Region, KwaZulu Natal

KwaZulu Natal’s Elephant Coast stretches from the world heritage site of Lake St Lucia in the south to Kosi Bay, virtually on the Mozambique border.

Did you know? Although the Elephant Coast is a great all year round holiday spot due to its wonderfully warm climate, the best times to visit the Elephant Coast are arguably between November and January if you are wanting to track the turtles, and whale watching is at its best from June to November.

The Elephant Coast is an extraordinary, untamed area fast growing in popularity for its incredible variety of habitats and eco-systems that combine into an unforgettable blend of adventure, unspoilt scenery and unique experiences.

Called the Elephant Coast after the country’s largest herd of indigenous African elephants that have lived in sand forests in this region for centuries, the Elephant Coast extends inland across to the Lubombo Mountains in the west, and includes the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Reserve, the oldest game park in Africa - home to the big five.

It is not hard to understand why the Elephant Coast is regarded as the ecotourism mecca of the Zulu Kingdom. Sand dunes blend with swamps, coastal forests, rocky shores, coral reefs, mangrove swamps, woodlands, savanna grassland, and the largest protected wetland in southern Africa, iSimangaliso Wetland Park (the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park).

Did you know? Once you've booked your hotel or Elephant Coast accommodation, explore the destination pages below for info on attractions, activities and things to do when you visit the Elephant Coast of KwaZulu Natal.

Getaways to this coastline are rich in adventure, and if you’re not game viewing, birding, paddling, snorkelling, hiking, on a horse trail, or diving then you’re surely out on a boat to see dolphins and humpback whales, or watching turtles lay eggs on the beach.

Highlights of the Elephant Coast include Cape Vidal (wonderful beaches for deep-sea fishing and famous for whale watching); Sodwana Bay Nature Reserve (the mainstay of scuba diving); Kosi Bay (one of the most unspoilt regions with numerous lakes where you can watch local fishermen); and of course both the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve and the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park are highlights of the Elephant Coast, for obvious reasons.

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South Africa Accommodation / KwaZulu Natal Accommodation / Elephant Coast Accommodation

Destinations in the Elephant Coast Region


Overnight? Hluhluwe accommodation
The village of Hluhluwe is in the heart of Zululand on South Africa’s east coast, home to the Zulu kings Dingiswayo and Shaka, who allegedly prompted the very first conservation laws and the oldest game reserve in the country - the Hluhluwe and Umfolozi G...


Overnight? Ingwavuma accommodation
Ingwavuma is a small rural town, nestled deep in the countryside of the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. Part of the Umkhanyakude District Municipality, Ingwavuma enjoys the hot, humid conditions typical of this part of South Africa for some of the...


Overnight? Jozini accommodation
Jozini, a small town in North Eastern KwaZulu Natal on the main route to Mozambique, is synonymous with the dam of the same name - the Jozini or Pongolapoort Dam. This huge dam, on the Pongola River, provides a rather dramatic doorway into Maputaland ...

Kosi Bay

Overnight? Kosi Bay accommodation
In the northern reaches of KwaZulu Natal, the final stretch of South African coastline is a wilderness wonderland that is still largely unexplored and unexploited. Kosi Bay is a rich network of lakes that stretches from Lake Zilonde, on the Mozambique...

Kuleni Game Park

Overnight? Kuleni Game Park accommodation
Kuleni Game Park is wonderfully situated in the heart of Southern Maputaland. Within a 1/2 hours drive you can be anywhere you choose. On the beautiful beaches of Sodwana Bay or the famous Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big "5" Game Reserve. The Greater St Lucia Wetla...

Lake Sibaya

Overnight? Lake Sibaya accommodation
Lake Sibaya is the largest fresh water lake in South Africa with a surface area of 77 km² and an average depth of 13 m. The lake was previously connected to the sea and with the closure of the estuary, numerous invertebrates and vertebrates were trapped i...


Overnight? Mabibi accommodation
Set in the remote region of the Maputuland coast in KwaZulu Natal, Mabibi lies between Lake Sibaya and Sodwana Bay, forming part of the Kosi Bay coastal forest reserve. It’s one of Natal’s most spectacular coastlines. But what makes it even more entic...


Overnight? Manguzi accommodation
In the rural heartlands of KwaZulu-Natal, bordered by Mozambique and Swaziland is the Umkhanyakude District Municipality. This district is home to Manguzi, which is also known as kwaNgwanase, and was formerly the town of Kosi Bay. This part of South Afric...


Overnight? Mbazwana accommodation
The small town of Mbazwana is a settlement that covers just over 10 square kilometres in the uMkhanyakude District. It falls under the uMhlabuyalingana Municipality in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. It is home to fewer than 5 000 people, of ...


Overnight? Mkuze accommodation
The little village of Mkuze lies in the shadow of the Ubombo Mountains just 18 km west from the entrance gate of the Mkhuze Game Reserve on the N2 north of Lake St Lucia. In this remote north eastern wilderness of Southern Africa, human presence is fe...

Mkuze Game Reserve

Overnight? Mkuze Game Reserve accommodation
A place of great beauty and high contrasts, Mkuze Game Reserve is renowned as a mecca for bird lovers with more than 420 bird species on record. The Mkuze River curves along the reserve's northern and eastern borders with a fine stretch of fig forest alon...


Overnight? Mtubatuba accommodation
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 Mt...


Overnight? Ndumo accommodation
Right on the northern-most border of the South African province of KwaZulu Natal lies the little settlement of Ndumo. It is bordered by both Swaziland and Mozambique, enjoying the subtropical climate of this exquisite part of the country. It is situat...

Rocktail Bay

This is one of those remote beach experiences that reminds one rather of a film set for a desert island, complete with perfectly warm waters, miles and miles of endless sandy beaches and forested sand dunes. A more consummate scenario one cannot even drea...

Sodwana Bay

Overnight? Sodwana Bay accommodation
Sodwana Bay, meaning ‘little one on its own’ in Zulu, lies within the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park, a World Heritage Site, and forms part of a continuous protected area stretching 150 km from the Mozambique border south to Cape Vidal and 3 nautical mile...

St Lucia

Overnight? St Lucia accommodation
Finding accommodation in St Lucia is perfect for travellers to South Africa that want to see the world-renowned iSimangaliso Wetland Park (formerly known as the St Lucia Estuary and Wetlands Park). iSimangaliso is a World Heritage Site that stretches all ...

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