As we head for the busiest time of year on the tourism calendar, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority welcomes visitors from near and far to enjoy the World Heritage Site and its facilities over the peak December holiday season, the majority of whom flock to our golden beaches for the warm water and balmy weather.
iSimangaliso Chief Executive Officer Sibusiso Bukhosini says: “This is the time of year when huge numbers of our friends, neighbours and tourists visit our beautiful Park to enjoy a well-deserved break. Our dedicated staff have been hard at work preparing for the season together with our partners Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, SAPS, Mtubatuba and uMhlabuyalingana Local Municipalities, the KZN Road Traffic Inspectorate, traditional leadership structures, Mbazwana Taxi Association, St Lucia Ratepayers Association and St Lucia Sea Rescue. Together, we have implemented plans to assist visitors to have an enjoyable time in our World Heritage Site. Wherever you choose to spend your time in iSimangaliso, 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. We are looking forward to offering you a world class tourism destination and a safe, comfortable and happy stay in our Park. We wish you a blessed holiday season!”
Daily gate limits
- Cape Vidal (Eastern Shores) has a maximum vehicle limit of 120 cars for day visitors (excluding accommodated guests who are guaranteed entry). Day visitors please note that you need to park, enter the Bhangazi Gate office and pay, and must enter within 30 minutes of receiving the permit to ensure that you gain access before daily gate limits are reached.
- Sodwana Bay has a gate limit of maximum 550 vehicles. Overflow parking is available at the boundary of the Park from where beach visitors may enter the Park on foot free of charge.
- Western Shores has a daily limit of 50 vehicles.
Beach parking – Sodwana only
The Sodwana Bay vehicle limit of 550 includes a maximum of 200 daily permits issued to 4×4 drivers wishing to park on the beach, subject to beach conditions and at the discretion of iSimangaliso management. One hundred of these are reserved for guests accommodated within iSimangaliso, issued at the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife office. An additional 100 are issued daily at the Sodwana Bay soccer field outside of the Park. Kindly note that beach parking permits are not issued at the Park entrance gate itself. There is no charge for this and they are issued on a first-come first-served basis daily.
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.
Safety checks and balances
- For the benefit and safety of all Park users, iSimangaliso exercises a “zero tolerance” policy regarding alcohol. 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 check-points.
- To facilitate a smoother flow of traffic, a circular one way traffic 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 number of beach monitors have been employed to be stationed on the beaches during the busiest period of the holidays. They will be on the beaches eight hours a day – visible with reflective yellow vests. 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. Additionally, two lifeguards are on station at each of St Lucia’s Jabula and Main Beaches as well as Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay.
- 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.
- 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 through Park gates.
Remember the wildlife
iSimangaliso, and in particular the St Lucia area, is rich in wildlife. For the safety of Park users as well as the animals, please bear the following in mind:
- 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 roam the streets 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.
24 HOUR EMERGENCY NO: 082 797 7944
Media enquiries should be directed to Debbie Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org.