iSimangaliso Wetland Park covers a vast Coastal area in the Northern reaches of KwaZulu Natal towards the border with Mozambique. The area includes massive freshwater lakes teeming with hippo and crocodiles and stunning remote wild beaches.
The park is nearly 330,000 hectares in size and is known for its incredible biodiversity and its many varied landscapes. It encompasses no fewer than eight distinct ecosystems and has many natural features, from extensive lake systems and undisturbed coastal forests, to vast wetlands and colourful coral reefs. One of its key features is Lake Sibaya, the largest freshwater lake in the country. Wildlife throughout the park is abundant. The park’s home to the country’s largest Nile crocodile and hippo populations, with other notable species including the leopard, the leatherback turtle, the black rhino and the buffalo. Activities available here mostly focus on exploring the park and include kayaking, hiking, snorkelling and scuba diving, to name a few.
At its Southern tip, St Lucia is a relaxed and quaint town that serves as an affordable gateway to the Park. Accommodation here is primarily mid range guesthouses. There is a scattering of remote beach and bush lodges throughout the park, a highlight of which are Makakatana Bay Lodge and Thonga Beach Lodge. At the Park's Northern reaches is Kosi Bay, a complex series of eight interconnected lakes - six of them large and two of them small - plus an estuary. Kosi Bay plays host to the excellent Kosi Forest Lodge.