iSimangaliso visitor notice – December season information
15 Dec 2018
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority welcomes visitors to enjoy the World Heritage Site and its facilities over the peak December holiday season.
iSimangaliso CEO, Sibusiso Bhukosini 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 7977944 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 has day visitor limits of 120 vehicles. The Bhangazi Gate complex (Eastern Shores) requires visitors to park, refer to the welcome reception office to pay, and must proceed through the Park within 30 minutes of receiving the permit to ensure that they gain access before daily gate limits are reached. For breath-taking views of the Eastern Shores and Indian Ocean, don’t miss out on a stop at the newly opened KwaSheleni tower accessed via Dune Loop. You will not be disappointed.
- The Western Shores have a day visitor limit of 50 vehicles. Treat yourself to the western side of the Lake for panoramic views of the forested dunes and make your way to Charters Creek for a nostalgic walk on the newly built Charters Creek jetty.
- Sodwana Bay season announcements include; Beach access permitted free for pedestrians, whilst construction is currently underway for free parking for anyone wishing to access the beach only. On completion, all beach goers on foot or in vehicles will use the dedicated left hand lane and designated free parking area. Accommodated visitors, boat launching, beach parking and visitors wishing to use other facilities within the Park will be required to proceed through to the Sodwana Bay gate and pay the Park entrance fee which has been reduced as follows:
|Old fee structure|
|Adult (incl. levy)||Children >12yr (incl. levy)||Normal Vehicle|
|New fee structure|
- Sodwana Bay has a gate limit of maximum 550 vehicles. Overflow parking is available at the boundary of the Park (soccer field). The vehicle limit includes a maximum of 200 daily permits issued to 4x4 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 and obtained at the Sodwana Bay gate and Ezemvelo offices for accommodated guests. North ramp vehicle access to the beach is currently blocked but is being attended to on 15 December with equipment arriving on site at 7am. Further to 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. Vendor permit fees have been abolished but permits still need to be acquired.
- All vessels/boats launching in the Maphelane, St Lucia, Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay sections of the Park are required to pay a daily launch fee of R100.00. This fee is payable on entrance at the respective Park entry gates. Vessels launching at the St Lucia beaches are required to pay at the Bhangazi gate office. Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay accommodated guests wishing to launch will be required to pay at Bhangazi gate and Sodwana Bay gate respectively.
- The ‘Big 5” uMkhuze section of the Park is boasting the rebuilt kuMalibala Hide, stunningly situated facing westwards towards the Lebombo Mountains (and sunset), with a winding path through natural vegetation sporting tree labels along the way. A couple of hours at this tranquil hide could offer some wonderful game and bird viewing. A perennial favourite that was repaired after fallen trees caused damage, the Fig Forest Aerial Boardwalk offers a guided walk (to protect against our 100-strong elephant herd, lions, buffalo and other potentially dangerous game) through a magical landscape of soaring, ancient sycamore figs and other riverine forest species.
- Maphelane Resort is currently closed to the public until further notice.
- 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 throughout public access points into the Park. 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 check-points.
- A one way traffic flow system in the Lake St Lucia Estuary section of iSimangaliso, will take traffic down Beach Road and up Iphiva road towards the Croc Centre and back towards the town.
- 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 45 beach monitors have been employed. The beach monitors will be on the beaches eight hours a day, visible with iSimangaliso T-shirts and Caps. Lifeguards are on station at various beaches throughout the Park including Jabula, Main,Cape Vidal and Sodwana Baybeaches. Please adhere to warnings given by Beach Monitors and Lifeguards (using whistles to gain attention) as this will be in the interests of keeping our visitors safe.
- 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 are prevalent 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call +27 35 590 1633. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook or visit our website at www.isimangaliso.com.
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