iSimangaliso December season visitor notice

14 Dec 2017

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority welcomes visitors to enjoy the World Heritage Site and its facilities over the peak December holiday season.

Visitors will be pleased to know that part of the recent gate infrastructure upgrades includes credit card facilities at all iSimangaliso-managed gates: Maphelane, Western Shores, Eastern Shores, False Bay, uMkhuze and Sodwana Bay.

iSimangaliso Park Operations Director Sizo Sibiya says: “Our joint safety planning team includes the iSimangaliso Authority, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, SAPS, Mtubatuba and uMhlabuyalingana Local Municipalities, the KZN Road Traffic Inspectorate, Traditional leadership, Mbazwana Taxi Association. and St Lucia Ratepayers, and we have implemented plans to assist visitors to have an enjoyable time in our World Heritage Site. We encourage our visitors 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 contact our emergency line 082 797 7944 with details. We wish local residents and visitors an enjoyable and safe holiday.”

Wherever you choose to spend your time in the World Heritage Site, please 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.

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 maximum 550 vehicles. Overflow parking is available at the boundary of the Park. The vehicle limit includes a maximum of 200 daily permits issued to 4×4 drivers wishing to park on the beach, subject to beach conditions. Half of these are reserved for guests accommodated within iSimangaliso. The permit is issued at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis daily.
  • The new Bhangazi Gate complex (Eastern Shores) is now in operation. Visitors need to park, enter the office and pay, and must enter within 30 minutes of receiving the permit to ensure that they gain access before daily gate limits are reached.
  • Summer gate operating times for iSimangaliso are 05:00 to 19:00, 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.
  • iSimangaliso exercises a “zero tolerance” policy regarding alcohol in the Park, for the benefit and safety of all Park users: No alcohol is allowed into public areas of the Park. Alcohol checkpoints will be in place on St Lucia’s Beach road, Iphiva road, Ski boat club road and Bhangazi Gate as well as at Sodwana Bay. Only guests who have proof of an accommodation booking will be allowed to take alcohol to Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay. No alcohol will be allowed by day visitors and drinking in the parking area or on the beach is not permitted – accommodated guests may consume alcohol only in the campsite or their chalet. Visitors will be offered the option of surrendering alcohol or choosing not to enter the Park. Vehicle searches are conducted at checkpoints.
  • A one way traffic flow system down Beach Road and up Iphiva road will be in force.
  • Swimming in the sea is at one’s 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. During peak season a total of 38 beach monitors have been employed during the busiest period of the holidays. The beach monitors will be on the beaches eight hours a day – visible with iSimangaliso T-shirts and Caps. Two lifeguards are on station at each of Jabula, Main and Cape Vidal beaches. Please adhere to warnings given by Beach Monitors (using whistles to gain attention) as this will be in the interests of keeping our visitors safe.
  • At Sodwana Bay, 13 Beach Assistants have been employed by iSimangaliso to assist guests to carry their belongings to and from the beach. We advise visitors to make use of their services rather than casual labour. Beach Assistants may be identified by their yellow branded T-shirts and Khaki short pants. This service is free of charge and they may not solicit tips from visitors.
  • 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, contact or call +27 35 590 1633. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook or YouTube.

Media enquiries should be directed to Slie Msweli at or 079 632 0363.