iSimangaliso Busy Easter Buzz

11 Apr 2017

“The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is enjoying a busy buzz in its perennially popular Easter school holiday season with most Park accommodation establishments virtually full. Those still hoping to enjoy the warm rays, balmy days and ideal ocean temperatures in our World Heritage Site will be pleased to know that a few camping facilities are available over Easter at Maphelane, Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay, as well as False Bay – now reopened for camping after a long hiatus during drought years” says iSimangaliso Marketing Manager Lindy Duffield.

Beach weather is generally superb at this time of year, with loads of Park visitors enjoying swimming, fishing, sandcastle-building and water sports at Maphelane, Cape Vidal, St Lucia, Sodwana Bay and Kosi Bay.

iSimangaliso has undertaken an extensive revamp of visitor roads and facilities throughout the Park, all of which are open for the enjoyment of our visitors over Easter. The only facility that will not be open is kuMfazana Hide on the Eastern Shores. On the Eastern Shores, do visit the extremely popular Grassland Loop where the eMfabeni Swamp wetlands are flourishing, along with resident wildlife. This 18km game drive leads one through sweeping grasslands and past unique red dunes.

On days when the beach weather is less favourable, remember to explore other sections of the park such as uMkhuze (only an hour from Sodwana Bay) and the Western Shores near St Lucia, for a wonderful bush experience. In uMkhuze you might see the Big 5, as well as cheetahs, wild dogs and other rare species. As the Lake St Lucia Estuary steadily recovers from severe drought, water is refilling the False Bay section where cyclists and trail walkers love to spend time. Most of the popular self-guided walking trails now feature iSimangaliso’s new tree labels to add a new dimension to a nature walk.

Wherever you choose to spend your time in the World Heritage Site, please do observe the rules and make a note of the season arrangements set out below for the safety of our visitors as well as animals in our protected areas.

iSimangaliso Marketing Manager Lindy Duffield says: “Visitors are encouraged to play an active role in our conservation and protection efforts this season by being extra eyes and ears on the ground. If you observe any snares, animal injuries, or human misbehaviour around wildlife – please do contact our emergency line 082 797 7944 with details. Our joint safety planning team includes the iSimangaliso Authority, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, SAPS, Mtubatuba and uMhlabuyalingana Local Municipalities, the KZN Road Traffic Inspectorate and St Lucia Ratepayers, and we have implemented plans to assist visitors to have an enjoyable time and go home with great memories of a relaxing stay in our World Heritage Site. We wish local residents and visitors an enjoyable and safe holiday.”

Detailed festive season information

  • Cape Vidal (Eastern Shores), and Western Shores have day visitor limits of 120 and 50 vehicles respectively.
  • Sodwana Bay has a gate limit of 500 vehicles. Overflow parking is available at the boundary of the Park. The 500-vehicle limit includes the 200 daily permits issued to 4×4 drivers wishing to park on the beach. The permit is issued at no charge on a first-come first-served basis daily.
  • Gates are cash only (please visit www.isimangaliso.com for entry charges).
  • Gate operating times for iSimangaliso are 06:00 to 18:00, except for Sodwana Bay which has 24 hour access. There is strictly no late entry at any gates throughout the Park. Maps are available for purchase at gates.
  • For Rhino card holders not already advised by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, please note a once-off activation fee of R50 will apply to all Rhino cards used in iSimangaliso. This is paid at the iSimangaliso entrance gates. The gate system will retain your information however it is suggested that visitors keep their proof of payment for subsequent entry into the Park.
  • No alcohol is allowed into public areas of the Park. Visitors will be offered the option of surrendering alcohol or choosing not to enter the Park. Vehicle searches are conducted at check-points. iSimangaliso exercises a “zero tolerance” policy in this regard for the benefit and safety of all Park users. Be warned there will be alcohol check points.
  • Swimming in the sea is at your own risk and not advised at the St Lucia beaches. There are strong currents and bathers are reminded to be cautious. iSimangaliso does not have shark nets.
  • Swimming in lakes including Lake St Lucia and Estuary, and Lake Sibaya, is prohibited due to the presence of crocodiles and hippos.
  • Feeding wild animals such as crocodiles and monkeys is strictly forbidden. When camping or picnicking, please keep foodstuffs securely stored out of sight.
  • Hippos and other potentially ‘dangerous’ animals at night in all sections of the Park, even St Lucia town.
  • Please adhere to safety advisories and speed limits, and take special care to look out for small creatures such as tortoises, dung beetles, snakes and birds on the roads.
  • Flying of kites is welcomed on our beaches, but please note that no drones (UAVs) or any other types of model or real aircraft may be flown over the Park.
  • All weapons must be declared on entry.

24 HOUR EMERGENCY NO: 082 797 7944

For further information visit www.isimangaliso.com, contact info@isimangaliso.com or call +27 35 590 1633. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Media enquiries should be directed to Bronwyn Coppola +27 83 450 9111 or bronwyn@abetterworld.co.za.