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Before you arrive

Our knowledge base will ensure you are well prepared for your iSimangaliso adventure.

iSimangaliso is a vast place. One of South Africa’s largest protected areas, it encompasses a number of different habitats and geographical features including both terrestrial and marine wilderness areas. It would be impossible to visit the whole of the Park in one day; even a week would not be enough time to explore all of the areas.

While much of the Park (Lake St Lucia Estuary, Eastern Shores, Western Shores, uMkhuze and Sodwana Bay) is easily accessible by sedan, on decent tar or gravel roads, the northern Coastal Forest section is more remote and a four wheel drive is required.

Travelling from the south, take the N2 north, travelling north of the Mtunzini toll plaza. The southernmost Park entrance is Maphelane, accessible from the Kwambonambi junction.

To visit the Eastern Shores and Western Shores sections (and the town of St Lucia), turn off the N2 at Mtubatuba.

Ongoing improvements to signage, maps, Park road networks and visitor facilities make iSimangaliso an ideal self-drive destination. Explore these pages and download the free maps to discover what each of our ten ‘jewels’ offers, and activities offered by licensed operators.

Plan your visit to include one or several of the ‘jewels’ and allow enough time to really appreciate what makes each section special and unique. Whether your interests are game viewing, bird watching, boating, recreational fishing, flora, walking, mountain biking, horse riding, scuba diving or soul searching, there is a place to do it in our World Heritage Site. Every day offers something new in this place of miracles.

When to visit

Whale watching:

June to November

Turtle season:

October to March

Scuba diving and all other Park activities are possible at any time of year.

Summer (November to March) is hot, humid and receives the highest average rainfall. Midday temperatures often exceed 30 degrees Celcius.

Winter (June – August) is mild with generally warm days and cool nights, and low rainfall. Midday temperatures are seldom lower than 20 degrees Celcius and never much below 15 degrees.

Autumn (April and May) offer generally clear warm days and little wind while Spring (September and October) is often windy and wet, but warm.

iSimangaliso is still classified as a low risk malaria area and visitors should seek medical advice before travelling here.