iSimangaliso Wetland Park

It would be a mere spontaneous reaction if someone utters the words ‘It’s Amazing’, after seeing or being to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which was listed as the first World Heritage Site of South Africa in December 1999 owing to its superb natural beauty and the attractive geographical topography. It is located on the east-coast of KwaZulu Natal, which is about 275 kilometers of Durban. Spanning around 280 km of coastline, starting from the Mozambican border in the north to Mapelane, south of St Lucia estuary, it is the third largest protected areas of South Africa whose pristine natural ecosystems are managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

This park which has a vast area coverage of 3,32,000 hectare comprises of three main lake systems, eight ecosystems that interlink, majority of South Africa’s swamp forests, largest estuarine system of Africa, all of which contribute to the name iSimangaliso, meaning miracle and wonder, aptly describing its uniqueness.

The characteristic feature of the park can be attributed to the 25,000 year old coastal dunes, may be among the highest in the world across. Others include the exemplary range of natural systems ranging from rocky and sandy shores, submarine canyons, mangroves, woodlands, savannah grasslands, thickets, coral reefs to the swampy coastal forests exhibiting the two different extremes of natural diversity.

The wide variety of flora and fauna that is exclusively found here add glittering colors to this Wetland Park, which has the credit of having around 526 bird species, 700 year old fishing traditions. It is the only place in the globe where the rhinoceros and the elephant which are the oldest and biggest land mammals, share the same ecosystem with the oldest fish coelacanth and the biggest marine mammal, the whale. So, iSimangaliso is truly a visual treat to all the sight lovers, tempting them to visit it again and again.