iSimangaliso (meaning ‘miracle’ in Zulu) was proclaimed a world heritage site because of the rich biodiversity, unique ecosystems and natural beauty in a relatively small area.
This nature reserve and World Heritage Site is the largest estuarine system in Africa. The area embraces five ecosystems: marine, eastern shores, Lake St. Lucia, Mkuze swamps and western shores. This diversity offers nature lovers a rich variety of outdoor and wildlife experiences. 65 kilometres long and 21 kilometres wide, with its lakes, lagoons, freshwater swamps, and grasslands, iSimangaliso supports more species of animal than the better-known Kruger National Park and the Okavango Delta, although these areas are much larger.
Situated offshore is the almost virgin Maputaland Marine Reserve, offering extraordinary diving and snorkelling encounters with huge shoals of fish - including raggedtooth sharks, and cetaceans, pristine reefs and excellent visibility. From April through October, there is a good chance of seeing the humpback whale migration - June, July and August being the peak months. On land you can enjoy nature walks to explore the areas unique flora and fauna or simply relax on the beach or in a hammock.
“The St. Lucia Wetland Park must be the only place on the globe where the world’s oldest land mammal (the rhinoceros) and the world’s biggest terrestrial mammal (the African elephant) share an ecosystem with the world’s oldest fish (the coelacanth) and the world’s biggest marine mammal.” Former South African President Nelson Mandela, 10th August 2001.
Ideal for viewing: hippo, Nile crocodile, loggerhead turtle, leopard, white rhino
Where: East Coast KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
is featured in the following itinerary:
KwaZulu Natal is a true South African gem when it comes to wildlife, with a great mix of the country’s finest game reserves and breath-taking scenery. Self driving allows you to follow the coast at your own pace and experience a diversity of wildlife away from the crowd.
When to go: Jan-Dec
Duration inc. flights: 11 days
Price inc. flights: From £3,095 pp
Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation is shown below.
for further recommendations.
This lodge is set above a secluded bay on the Maputaland Coast, nestled amongst coastal dune forest with sweeping views of the beach below. Thatched bush suites provide privacy and have been constructed to ensure minimal environment impact, and the nearby waters offer some of South Africa’s best snorkelling.