Skip to main content

A Place
of Miracle and Wonder.


The iSimangaliso Wetland Park was listed as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in December 1999 in recognition of its superlative natural beauty and unique global values.

Since 1 August 2019, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park’s marine protected area (MPA) expanded significantly, with the result that the World Heritage Site is now 1,328,901ha in extent (marine and terrestrial combined). The Park is now South Africa’s second largest protected area after the Kruger National Park, incorporating the country’s largest MPA – also the only Transfrontier MPA as it joins Mozambique’s protected waters.

The Park contains three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems, 700 year old fishing traditions, most of South Africa’s remaining swamp forests, Africa’s largest estuarine system, 530 bird species and 25,000 year-old coastal dunes – among the highest in the world. The name iSimangaliso means miracle and wonder, which aptly describes this unique place.

Come and experience the diverse experiences in the 10 Jewels that make up the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Enjoy the endless beaches that stretch 220 kilometres from Maphelane in the south to Kosi Bay on the Mozambique border, view game on self-guided or guided trails and routes on the foothills of the Lebombo mountains in uMkhuze or in the coastal forests and rolling grasslands of Lake St Lucia’s Eastern Shores.

See the spectacular coral reefs and colourful underwater life whilst diving or snorkelling or embark on adventures ranging from kayak trips to horse rides.

Born out of partnership

How government departments, invested stakeholders and local communities have come together in equal representation to form iSimangaliso’s innovative system of management.

South Africa’s first World Heritage Site

Saved from dune mining, the 1,328,901 hectare iSimangaliso Wetland Park was listed for its outstanding natural values as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1999.