The southernmost jewel in iSimangaliso’s crown

Maphelane sits at the south end of the Lake St Lucia Estuary basin on the shores of the uMfolozi River at the base of the soaring Maphelane dune. At 183m, this is South Africa’s highest vegetated dune, and the hike to the viewpoint is well worth the breathtaking views of the ocean and river mouth.
Fishing and family fun
The adventurous fish from tiny skis
The adventurous fish from tiny surf skis
The small rustic resort, set deep within verdant coastal forest, is a popular base for fishermen and nature lovers. Ski boats are permitted to launch and shore fishing is excellent – the reason that generations of local families return year after year. The rocky intertidal areas provide opportunities for musseling and crayfishing. Swimming in the sea is risky due to strong currents, but at low tide there are shallow areas that may be suitable.
The Jolly Rubino wreck
Eleven kilometres south of Maphelane is the wreck of the Jolly Rubino, an Italian Cargo vessel that ran aground after a fire on board in September 2002. A massive salvage operation ensued to remove all possible pollutants from the ship due to its proximity to a marine conservation area. The wreck stands clearly visible close to the shoreline for those who are fit enough to attempt the long beach hike.
Birds and bees in a canopy of trees
Soft sand 4×4 tracks under a verdant tree canopy
Soft sand 4×4 tracks under a verdant tree canopy
Maphelane is a pristine patch of coastal forest with a vibrant bird population. Sea birds, water fowl and forest birds are abundant. Over 200 species of birds have been identified in this area. Maphelane is an easy walk along the beach from the hub of St Lucia town – unless the river mouth is open to the sea, when the river crossing should not be attempted due to the presence of crocodiles and hippo.
Operators in the Area
Useful Information
Getting There

Maphelane is 50km off the N2 highway with a signposted turnoff north of Empangeni, opposite Kwambonambi.
The road is narrow, very sandy in places and not recommended for cars with limited road clearance. It will take time to negotiate and visitors must ensure enough time to arrive at the resort before the gates close.

Gate Opening & Closing Times

Gate opening and closing times:
April to September – 06h00 to 18h00
October to March – 06h00 to 19h00
Reception hours:
08h00 to 12h30 and 14h00 to 16h30 (Mon – Sat)
07h00 to 15h00 (Sun)

Contact Details
+27 35 590 1407
Entry Fees

Adults: R42
Children (under the age of 12): R26
Community Levy: R5 per person

Public Facilities