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 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
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.
Accommodation in the Area
Operators in the Area