iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Area the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is one of South Africa's 'not to be missed' jewels. The area's new name attempts to capture its beauty with the Zulu word 'isimangaliso' meaning 'a marvel'.
The unique ecosystem of the region is made up of swamps, lakes, beaches, coastal forests and coral reefs and has a diverse array of animal, plant, bird and marine life.
A magnificent area, iSimangaliso is the third largest park in South Africa covering over 280 kilometres of coastline, and is made up of about 328 000 hectares of pristine natural ecosystem. Lake St Lucia runs parallel to the coast line and is separated from the ocean by the world's largest forested sand dunes.
Part of the park includes the river mouth of Lake St. Lucia which is home to many crocodiles and hippopotami that can be seen playing in the water or soaking up the suns rays on the river banks. The St Lucia area is possibly the only place in the world where sharks, hippos and crocodiles all share the same waters with man. iSimangaliso is also the breeding grounds of the Giant Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles who come to shore on Kosi beach around November to lay their eggs in the sand before returning to the ocean. During the summer months whales can also be seen playing in the waves.