iSimangaliso Wetland Park Travel Guide | Beautiful Conservation Areas in South Africa

Flamingos in Kosi Bay, part of iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

The prodigious biodiversity of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu Natal offers breath-taking scenery, superb stretches of coastline and a wide range of game animals, including Black and White Rhinoceros, Elephant and Buffalo, making it one of the must-see destinations when visiting South Africa.

A Travel Guide to iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Access

iSimangaliso is an easy 280 kilometre (173.9 mile) drive from Durban on a well-maintained tarred road. Travel north-east on the N2 highway toward Mozambique. Turn east onto the R618 and travel towards St Lucia town. Once in St Lucia turn left at the round-about to enter the nature reserve.

Airport

Durban's international airport - King Shaka Airport.

Highlights

iSimangaliso Wetlands Park is known for its scuba-diving, visiting Kosi Bay or Sodwana Bay for extraordinary diving experiences. Kosi Bay is also considered one of the world's top fly-fishing destinations. Go on a 4x4 adventure to the Coastal Forest region where one will find pristine beaches and beautiful dunes.

Head out on a Big Five safari experience to the Mkuze Game Reserve and spot the Big Five as well as Wild Dog, Cheetah and many other animals, or sip on some champagne and watch the sunset on a cruise of Lake St Lucia while the Hippos splash in the water and the Crocodiles bathe on the banks of the lake.

Activities

The iSimangaliso Wetlands Park is a nature lovers' and thrill seekers' paradise. Abundant activities will keep you entertained for days or weeks. Explore the reserve on foot on a self-guided walking trail or guided hike. Spot a variety of game species while enjoying a guided game drive or on a self-guided drive along the road network in the south. Go snorkelling, swimming, scuba diving, fishing, boating, bird-watching, horse-ridingor canoeing or relax and laze in the sunshine while reading a good book.

Accommodation

There is a wide range of accommodation options available to choose from while exploring the iSimangaliso Wetlands area. No matter what your budget and requirements you are guaranteed to find an accommodation option to suit your needs. Camp sites can be found at Kosi Bay, Sodwana Bay, Lake St Lucia Estuary, Mabibi and Maphelane. There are also various self-catering, B&B and all inclusive options to choose from, from luxury tented lodges to small chalets and quaint cottages.

The experience

Just one sentence: You cannot come to South Africa and not explore the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park - it is life changing!

iSimangaliso Wetlands Park captures the essence of Africa. It is wild, rugged, slightly dangerous and captivating. South Africa's first World Heritage Site, the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park is a truly magnificent destination with crystal clear waters, pristine beaches and a wide range of wildlife.

This incredible nature reserve will take your breath away and make want to never leave. A highlight of most visitors holidays to South Africa, the combination of lakes, ocean, dunes, beaches and wetlands forces one to relax and simply revel in the beauty of nature.

Sitting on a boat cruising along the banks of St Lucia lake watching a family of Hippos playing in the water or sauntering along the soft white sand of a beach with a Crocodile laze in the sunshine nearby are two experiences that will never ever leave me.

Climate

Located, as its name suggests, in a Wetlands, the iSimangaliso Wetlands climate in the summer months is extremely hot and can be very humid. Summer rainfall occurs and the average temperature ranges from 5.5C (41.9 degrees Fahrenheit) in winter to around 35C (95 degrees Fahrenheit) in summer.

What you need to know

The iSimangaliso Wetlands Park is located in a malaria area and special precautions should be taken prior to and during your visit to avoid contracting the disease. Bilharzia is also present in the fresh waters. Hippos, Crocodiles, Elephants and other dangerous wildlife are found within the reserve and visitors are advised to always remain vigilant. Hippos have often been found wandering along the streets and in the gardens of some lodges and in the town of St Lucia and Crocodiles are regularly seen along the shoreline.

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South Africa Nature Reserves : Game Reserves and National Parks
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