“The iSimangaliso Authority dedicates the historic reintroductions of lion into iSimangaliso, to the memory of our leader and former President Tata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela”
– Mavuso Msimang, iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority Board Chairman.
A number of excellent game viewing roads traverse the Eastern and Western Shores sections of the Park. You are almost guaranteed to see hippo on the Pan Loop and the Vlei Loop has very rewarding game sightings – sometimes even a hippo out of the water in the middle of the day! For birders, the Catalina Bay Lookout point is particularly rewarding and the Mission Rocks Lookout provides a unique view of both Lake St Lucia and the Indian Ocean. The coastal Dune Loop provides sweeping vistas and the Grassland Loop skirts the southern shore of Lake Bhangazi before crossing over rolling grasslands and a small section of swamp forest along the Nkazana Stream. A new Forest Loop was opened in 2015.
The giraffe are seen only on the Western Shores, whilst the elephant appear to have made the Western Shores home too.
Licensed Operators offer guided tours of these sections including full day beach and bush experiences to Cape Vidal as well as night drives providing the opportunity to see the endemic Setaro Dwarf chameleon and the frequently spotted nocturnal leopard and hyena.
uMkhuze is renowned for excellent birding. Introductions of lion, elephant, buffalo, wild dog and cheetah now complement the significant black and white rhino numbers as well as general game such as impala, nyala and zebra, making uMkhuze a popular game viewing destination. The Ophansi bridge and Ophansi Gate on uMkhuze’s eastern side links the uMkhuze and Sodwana Bay sections of the Park by road with a travelling time of under one hour.
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife offers night drives.
Although geographically close to the Eastern Shores, this section differs dramatically. Receiving less than half of the rainfall of the east, the vegetation is noticeably different and game encountered here includes giraffe, waterbuck, elephant, nyala, rhino, kudu and reedbuck. Leopard are frequently spotted on the guided night drives, offered by Heritage Tours and Safaris, or by Makakatana Bay Lodge to their private guests.
The diverse terrestrial and marine habitats of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park ensure that visitors have a wide range of activities to embark upon when they come to the Park.