About Lake Sibaya

Lake Sibaya in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is the largest fresh water lake in South Africa with a surface area of 77 km² and an average depth of 13 metres.

Did you know? Lake Sibaya is also known as Lake Sibhayi or Sibayi.

Lake Sibaya was previously connected to the sea and with the closure of the estuary, numerous invertebrates and vertebrates were trapped in a fresh water enviroment.

Lake Sibaya is a drowned river valley lake with a maximum depth of over 40m. Many smaller pans typical of those elsewhere in the area surround the lake. In years of poor rainfall many of these smaller pans dry up leaving Lake Sibaya as the only permanent water in the area where flocks of up to 20 000 waterfowl can congregate. The eastern shores of the lake have very rich dune forest habitat which harbours many of the Zululand east coast species.

The Reserve is a protected area along the northern KwaZulu Natal Coastline. Each beach has limited access so the experience is exclusive and special with miles and miles of white sand. Scuba-diving, snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing are the main activities.

Accompanied by a guide or solo, there is no better way to explore the many tiny inlets around the lake edge, the closest experience one will get outside the Okavango Swamps. Walks are conducted in the Community Conservation Area, in the forest and along the lake edge.

One will have the opportunity to see small game such as Zebra, Nyala, Reedbuck and Impala and of course plenty of crocodiles and hippos. You can join one of the specialist guides and learn about the medicinal uses of the Trees and Plants in the area or the prolific birdlife.

During summer months commencing in November and through to February, the great Leatherback turtles return year after year to the Marine Reserve between St Lucia and the Mozambique border. Here they make their nests in the sand dunes, deposit their eggs and slip back into the sea.

A definate highlight of a visit to Lake Sibaya is the birdlife. By all accounts you are able to spot 279 species of birds, including the rare vegetarian bird of prey – the palmnut vulture. Watch out for the elusive Pel’s fishing-owl, pygmy goose, yellow white-eye, rufous-bellied heron, bat hawk and Woodward’s batis.

More commonly spotted but not any less special are malachite, pied and giant kingfishers and you can expect to see plenty of flamingos, sand plovers, spoonbills and plenty of crakes and bitterns.

Need to Know

WhereLake Sibaya, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, St Lucia, Elephant Coast, KwaZului Natal, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in St Lucia Accommodation, KwaZulu Natal


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