A very special slice of Africa, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park St offers ecotourists some of the most diverse wildlife and outdoor experiences imaginable.
Besides Lake St Lucia - a unique, 38 000 ha expanse of lake, islands and estuary - the park incorporates an astonishing variety of habitats ranging from the Ubombo mountains to grasslands, forests, wetlands, mangroves and vegetated dunes, with magnificent beaches and coral reefs.
The name has recently been changed from Greater St Lucia Wetland Park to iSimangaliso Wetland Park to reflect the many areas that make up its 220 000 hectares:
- Kosi Bay Nature Reserve
- Lake Sibaya
- Sodwana Bay Nature Reserve
- Mkhuze Game Reserve
- False Bay, Fanies Island & Charters Creek
- Lake St Lucia
- Cape Vidal Camp
and the town of St Lucia.
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park stretches along the Zululand coast from Mapelane in the south to Kosi Bay in the north. The park is internationally recognised and a World Heritage Site.
This diversity gives rise to a multiplicity of fauna and flora, unrivalled anywhere in South Africa. It supports an abundance of Nile crocodile and hippo, as well as rhino (both black and white), elephant, buffalo, giraffe, waterbuck, kudu, nyala, impala, duiker and reedbuck, amongst a host of other species.
While swimming in the lake is prohibited due to the presence of crocodile, recreational options abound.
You can dive on coral reefs or walk for miles along golden beaches; explore great dunes and wander through magical coastal forests; roam across grassy plains as the wind carries the whistling calls of reedbuck on the alert, go fishing or take a boat cruise on Lake St Lucia.
You can try your hand at canoeing while enjoying a wilderness trail, and if snorkeling, angling or boating take your fancy, this is the place to indulge yourself.
Migrant whales cavorting along the coast, leatherback and loggerhead turtles, nesting on the beaches at night in summer, add to the park's special attractions.
A variety of accommodation options exist in towns located inside or close vicinity to the Wetland Park:
St. Lucia - which is the most southern entrance to the Wetland Park
Mtubatuba - close to St Lucia town
Hluhluwe and False Bay north of St Lucia town