17. Jan, 2013

South Africa’s FIRST World Heritage Site

iSimangaliso Wetland Park in St. Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa | Birding | Nature Reserve | Seal Watching | Wildlife Sanctuary | Conservation | Nature Center | Whale Watching | State Park | Wildlife | Marine Sciences Centre

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park in St. Lucia along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline was listed as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in December 1999 in recognition of its superlative natural beauty and unique global values.

Lake St. Lucia is Africa’s largest Estuarine System located in St Lucia along the KwaZulu-Natal Coastline. It is 80 kms long and 23 kms wide at its widest point. Home to over 800 Hippos and 1200 Crocodiles, this dynamic system hosts large flocks of Pelicans, Flamingos, Ducks, Waders and a variety of Fish and other Aquatic Species.

The 332 000 hectare Park contains Three Major Lake Systems, Eight Interlinking Ecosystems, 700 year old Fishing Traditions, most of South Africa’s remaining Swamp Forests, Africa’s largest Estuarine System, 526 Bird Spesies and Coastal Dunes among the highest in the world. The name iSimangaliso means Miracle and Wonder, which aptly describes this unique place.

Come and experience the diverse experiences in St. Lucia where you find the 10 jewels that make up the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Enjoy the endless beaches that stretch 220 kilometers from Maphelane in the south to Kosi Bay on the Mozambique border, view game on self-guided or guided trails and routes on the foothills of the Lubombo Mountains in uMkhuze or in the coastal forests and rolling grasslands of Lake St Lucia’s Eastern Shores. See the spectacular coral reefs and colourful underwater life whilst diving or snorkeling or embark on adventures ranging from kayak trips to horse rides.

Fast Facts on the iSimangaliso Wetland Park:

  • Lake St Lucia is Africa’s Largest Estuary
  • The greatest congregation of Hippo and Crocodiles in South Africa
  • The last significant breeding ground for the Giant Leatherback and Loggerhead Turtles
  • 8 Interlinking Ecosystems
  • 3 Major Lake Systems
  • 350 kms of Water Surface
  • 220 kms of Coastline and Beaches
  • 190 kms of Marine Reserve
  • 100 Species of Coral
  • 25 000 year old Coastal Dunes 
  • 700 years of Traditional Fish Traps
  • 36 Snake Species
  • 80 Dragonfly Species
  • 110 Butterfly Species
  • 526 Bird Species