iSimangaliso Wetland Park Budget Travel


Nature's paradise

Isimangaliso Wetland Park is one of the most magnificent natural wetlands and coastal sites on the African continent. Often described as being out of this world - this 3 280km2 area along the exquisite Zululand coastline has 8 ecosystems, 3 major lakes, the majority of the country’s swamp forests, coastal dunes that are over 25 000 years old, the country’s biggest estuarine system, and hundreds of bird and other animal and plant species. Home to the Big Seven (including whales and sharks), 526 bird species, and a diverse collection of wildlife big and small, it is a nature lover's paradise. Some believe that Isimangaliso has more species per km2 than anywhere else in Africa!

Wildlife wonders

Previously known as the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, Isimangaliso was South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, declared in recognition and celebration of its superlative natural beauty and unique global value. The name itself means "wondrous" in Zulu which aptly describes this unique place. 275 km north of Durban the park covers 280km² of pristinely breathtaking Indian ocean coastline. Isimangaliso has incredibly diverse offerings for visitors - from coastal forests, some of the most beautiful and well-preserved coral reefs left in the world, endless sandy beaches, savannas and wetlands. The park is home to a healthy Nile Crocodile population of around 1200 crocs, more than 800 hippos and in 2013 African Lions were reintroduced to the park as part of the rewilding project. In addition to these remarkable creatures giant Leatherback turtles, black rhino, leopards, and a vast array of bird and marine life are also thriving in what is the third largest protected area in South Africa. The wetlands also provide the spectacular backdrop to the beauty of 20 000 greater flamingoes, 40 000 lesser flamingoes and large flocks of pelicans. 

Adventure destination

Isimangaliso Wetland Park is ideal for the avid eco-tourist with a thirst for adventure, wildlife and pristine natural surroundings. Boat based whale watching, night time turtle tracking, game drives, croc and hippo spotting from a boat cruise on Lake St Lucia, canoeing, bird watching and horse riding - to name only some of the amazing adventures that await. The sublimely beautiful coastal waters also offer perfect opportunities for diving, snorkeling, fishing and spotting dolphins playing in the surf. 

The park stretches from Kosi Bay, close to the Mozambican border in the north, down to Cape St Lucia in the South. Some of the world's highest forested sand dunes are sandwiched between the warm Indian ocean coast and the St Lucia estuary. From game reserves to exploring dazzling coral reefs, lakes and estuaries to lazy beach days - Isimangaliso is an African paradise that will take your breath away.

Accommodation ranges from self-catering tents and cabins, camping and cottages, to luxury private lodges.


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