iSimangaliso Wetland Park

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park, previously known as Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park, is one of the most diverse regions in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. It is also an UNESCO World Heritage site and very popular with tourists.

Understand

Hippos in iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Landscape

The park extends over highly varied terrain and areas, with several smaller provincial and private game reserves and farms included within its boundaries.

Flora and fauna

iSimangaliso is well known for its extensive wetlands, sand dunes and beaches, with large herds of game, visiting whales in the winter months (May to October), rafts of hippopotami and sun-basking crocodiles.

Mammals and reptiles that are regularly seen include Lion, African Wild Dog, Elephant, Green-backed Turtle, Leather-backed Turtle, Hippopotamus, African Rock Python, Mocambican spitting Cobra, Gaboon Viper, Forest Cobra, Water Monitor, Nile Crocodile, Leopard, Spotted Hyena, Samango monkey, White or Square-lipped Rhinoceros, Black or Hooked-lipped Rhinoceros, Cheetah, African (Cape) Buffalo, Waterbuck, Kudu, Nyala, Bushbuck, Grey duiker, Steenbuck, Red Duiker, Suni Antelope, Four-toed Elephant Shrew, Common Reedbuck, Blue Wildebeest, Burchells (Plains) Zebra, Giraffe, Water Mongoose.

Over 526 bird species have been seen. For bird-watching tourists some of the special birds include Great White Pelican, Pink-backed Pelican, Rufous-bellied Heron, Saddle-billed Stork, Yellow-billed Stork, Lesser Flamingo and Greater Flamingo, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon, Southern Banded Snake-Eagle, Crested Guineafowl, Buff-spotted Flufftail, Lesser Jacana, Caspian Tern, Livingstone's Turaco, Green Malkoha, Swamp Nightjar, Mangrove Kingfisher, African Broadbill, Eastern Nicator, White-throated Robin-Chat, Brown Scrub-Robin, Bearded Scrub-Robin, Rudd's Apalis, Woodwards' Batis, Short-tailed Pipit, Rosy-throated Longclaw, Gorgeous Bush-Shrike, Neergaard's Sunbird, Green Twinspot, Pink-throated Twinspot, and Grey Waxbill.

Get in

Follow the N2 from Durban northwards. You will have to turn right after around 250 km, 50 km before the town of Hluhluwe. The town of St Lucia is more or less the entrance to the park.

See

Do

Most importantly for tourists, iSimangaliso Wetland Park provides opportunities for self-managed activities as well as guided activities by local service providers, lodges and guides. For budget or cost conscious travellers, most terrestrial activities can be done without assistance, including driving and walking safari's in the various parks and reserves within the boundaries of the Greater Park region. This includes day walking trails, swimming at the various beaches and overnight or multi-day hiking trails.

Areas with dangerous game (the Big-5 plus hippopotamus and crocodile) are sign-posted and walking activities may be restricted. Remember to check with the relevant park authority.

Buy

Eat

Sleep

Plenty of camping nearby at Cape Vidal and in the town of St Lucia.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, January 26, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.