The 10 Jewels
Maphelane is a popular base for fishermen and nature lovers. There are two self-guided trails: one tracks the edge of the estuary while the other ascends the dunes to offer spectacular views of the ocean and river mouth. The Maphelane dune, at 183m, is iSimangaliso’s highest vegetated dune.
Eastern Shores & Cape Vidal
The Eastern Shores is the ideal beach and safari destination. A number of game viewing roads offer intimate access to varied habitats including dunes, grassland, lakes, pans and coastal dune forest. Lookout points provide panoramic vistas over a landscape shaped by human residence in Iron Age times and by the Bhangazi people. Popular beach destinations are found at Cape Vidal and Mission Rocks.
Lake St Lucia
Lake St Lucia is Africa’s largest estuarine system. It is 80 kms long and 23 kms wide at its widest point. Home to over 800 hippos and 1200 crocodiles, this dynamic system hosts large flocks of pelicans, flamingos, ducks, waders and a variety of fish and other aquatic species.
Western Shores & Charters Creek
See elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard, as well as giraffe, tsessebe and other antelope species – or sit back and enjoy panoramic views of Lake St Lucia and the Eastern Shore dunes.
This area includes sand forest, thornveld and open savannah. Popular activities here include boating and fishing. Enjoy the view of Lake St Lucia at its widest point. Marine fossils – animal and plant – can be viewed in the local interpretive centre.
More than 420 species of birds can be found in this 38 500-hectare bird-lovers’ paradise! Leopard, black and white rhino, elephant, giraffe, wild dog, cheetah, hyena and various antelope are also to be seen. A guided walk through the Sycamore Fig Forest and a visit to the Nsumo Pan are favourite activities for visitors to uMkhuze.
Sodwana Bay is rated as one of the top ten dive destinations in the world. The coral reefs contain over 1200 species of fish as well as a variety of underwater seascapes and marine flora and fauna. The Coelacanth was discovered in the deep Jesser Canyon offshore from Sodwana Bay in 2000.
Sibaya is South Africa’s largest fresh-water lake. Tucked against forested coastal dunes, its crystal clear waters are home to KwaZulu-Natal’s second largest population of hippo and crocodiles.
Accessible only by off-road vehicles, this section of the Park includes the pristine beaches of Mabibi, Island Rock, Rocktail Bay and Black Rock. Smorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities. Large Strelitzias and beautiful dune vistas are a feature of this section of the Park.
Kosi Bay comprises four lakes linked by a network of channels. The Kosi estuary offers extraordinary snorkeling opportunities and is one of the world’s top fly-fishing destinations. Traditional fishing practices dating back 700 years are still passed down from one generation to the next. This is the only place where all South Africa’s mangrove species and the only stand of naturally occurring Raphia palms occur.