iSimangaliso Wetland Park Safaris
South Africa's very first World Heritage Site
Experience the very best of iSimangaliso Wetland Park on some of our magnificent Safaris and Tours.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu Natal South Africa is officially the first world heritage site in South Africa (Unesco). This place of wonder is situated on the north coast of KwaZulu Natal and stretches from the small village of St Lucia in the South to the border of Mozambique in the North. Join us on one of our Elite St Lucia KwaZulu Natal Safaris or Tours.
The area is enormous however offers incredible biodiversity from area to area. The South (St Lucia) offers a good base from where to explore as one may encounter Hippos wandering the streets at night in the residential area to the odd Leopard that frequents the area as well. St Lucia is truly a wildlife paradise with numerous species found both within and bordering the town. iSimangaliso Wetland Park Safaris are amazing and an incredible way to discover this amazing and diverse place.
From St Lucia one may travel to either the Western Shores or the Eastern shores of iSimangaliso Wetland Park, the two sides being divided by the largest Estuary in South Africa. This estuary is also home to more than 800 Hippos and 1000 Nile crocodiles not to mention the abundance of Bird-life.
Heritage Tours & Safaris offers a wide variety of safaris and tours in the area, from Hippo & Croc Boat Cruises on the Estuary, Turtle Tours, Night Drive Safaris, and Day Safaris into either the Western Shores or Eastern Shores. All iSimangaliso Wetland Park Activities are conducted in Open Game Drive Vehicles. We will be delighted should you like to join us on one of our Heritage Safaris.
All Safaris are conducted in Open Game Drive Safaris and all Hippo and Croc Boat cruises are conducted on our specially built Vessels.
Heritage Tours & Safaris is affiliated and registered with all the required Authorities and offers the best price guarantee.
Start Planning your next trip to iSimangaliso Wetland Park
We would advise the following should you like to visit iSimangaliso Wetland Park for the first time.
- Stay (overnight) in St Lucia KZN, set in the Southern most point of the park St Lucia offers amazing scenery, wildlife, pristine beaches, accommodation, and restaurants.
- The time of the year is quite important, school holidays and extremely busy and accommodation would need to be booked well in advance.
- The weather varies and can get quite hot and humid during summer, (October to the end of March).
- Access roads from Durban is easy with the National N2 (toll Road).
- Below is a list of the Top Tours & Safaris.
Herewith is a list of Elite St Lucia KwaZulu Natal Tours & Safaris to enjoy
Hippo Boat Trips
Witness the splendor and incredible scenery that surrounds the St Lucia Estuary, home to the largest Hippo Population in South Africa. The most popular Tour while in St Lucia.
Full Day iSimangaliso Safari Tour
Game Drive Safari Tour through South Africa's very first world heritage site. Hides, Pans, Loop Roads and Snorkeling on this magnificent days outing.
Half Day iSimangaliso Safari Tour
Snorkeling at Cape Vidal with magical Game Viewing not to mention the incredible scenery.
Bush & Boat Safari Tour
Enjoy both a Half Day Big 5 Safari into the Hluhluwe Umfolozi and then a Boat Safari on the St Lucia Estuary an ideal 1 Day Safari.
Beauty and Magnificence, watch Leather Back and Logger Head Turtles.
Sunrise Safari Drive
Incredible and Magnificent iSimangaliso Sunset Safari Awaits you.
Sunset Safari Drive
Incredible and Magnificent Sunsets Await you.
Night Drive Safari
No safari to Africa is complete without a Night Drive Safari, it's a nocturnal Affair.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park Safaris
iSimangaliso Wetland Park Safaris: What to Bring Along
- During the warmer months, one should bring sunblock and a hat along.
- Comfortable clothing, and of course a bathing suit if you are joining the Cape Vidal Day Tours.
- Without a doubt a camera if possible.
- During the cooler months, a light jacket would be perfect.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park Attractions for Free
We are often asked what Attractions or Activities are for free while in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Herewith is our best advice and tips for exploring this amazing area.
- Should you be visiting multiple times or maybe with a family then we would advise that you purchase a Rhino Card from KZN Wildlife. This card will assist greatly with the entry gate fees at numerous parks within the area.
- Fishing is a super way to enjoy the numerous pristine beaches so pack a rod, one will have to purchase a fishing license prior though this may be purchased from any local post office.
- Explore by foot especially if you are in the area of St Lucia, there are numerous walking trails that are truly amazing.
- Cycling is another way to familiarize yourself with the area and with such amazing scenery and wildlife why not. Cycling along the beaches has fast become popular so make sure you deflate your tires a bit and watch for the low tide and get at it.
- Photography has become a lot easier with the new era cell phones so why not try and establish how many species of birds you can spot.
- The Zulu people are incredibly happy people so learn some new Zulu words and customs.
- Enjoy the numerous craft markets and tropical fruit markets
- If possible take binoculars along on your trip and be inspired by nature.
- All walking trails in and around St Lucia are for free.
- With a Rhino Card you may be charged a small surcharge at any of the gates however you will quickly realize just how much you have saved.
- iSimangaliso Wetland Park Contact Details, 035 590 1633 / 1602
- iSimangaliso Summit
St Lucia Cape Vidal
From St Lucia one may travel into the iSimangaliso Wetland Park to either the Western or Eastern Shores of the Park. The Eastern Shores of iSimangaliso Wetland Park is truly amazing and the road ends up in Cape Vidal.
Cape Vidal Activities include the likes of Deep Sea Fishing (Game Fishing Only), rock and surf fishing, Kite Boarding, Snorkeling, Spear Fishing, swimming in warm tropical water year-round, hiking, and of course just enjoying the amazing views.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park Location
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park or formerly known as Greater St Lucia Wetland Park is situated on the East Coast of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Distance from Durban the capital of KwaZulu Natal to St Lucia is approximately 3 hours (235km) in a Northely direction on the N2 (Toll Road).
St Lucia is set on the most southerly side of the park and is also the perfect area from where to explore the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park Animals
Rich in Biodiversity, magnificent ecosystems, and amazing beauty you are truly in for a treat when visiting this area, the third largest protected park in South Africa.
Animals, Wildlife found within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park
- Humpback Whales (Winter months)
- Leatherback and LoggerHead Turtles (Summer months)
- Hippopotamus +/- 800 free roaming
- Nile Crocodiles +/- 1200 free roaming
- Lions (Mkhuze game reserve) within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park
- Leopards (Western and Eastern shores)
- Buffalo (Western and Eastern shores)
- Elephants (Western and Eastern shores)
- White and Black Rhinos (Western and Eastern shores)
- Dolphins (Year-round)
- Water Buck
- Wild Dogs (Mkhuze game reserve) within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park
- 450 Bird Species year round
- Samango Monkeys (Cape Vidal, Eastern Shores)
The above is by no means a true reflection of all of the wildlife within the Park, there is just too much to name.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park Amazing Facts
- It is not widely known but the southern part of iSimangaliso Wetland Park, St Lucia in 1932 recorded the largest earthquake in South Africa to date. Measuring in at 6.3 magnitude and recorded for 3 minutes long.
- St Lucia also has the highest amount of rainfall recorded in South Africa for any 24-hour period, 597mm.
- Ancient fossils measuring a massive meter in diameter, Western Shores, False Bay.
- The highest vegetated dunes in Africa are approximately 25 000 years old.
- The southernmost point for Sea Turtles to lay their eggs.
Formerly known as the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park, the area was proclaimed as a world heritage site in 1999 and is officially South Africa's very first world heritage site.
Known for its diversity and numerous biospheres the area has fast become one of the top wildlife tourist destinations. With Hippos roaming freely in town not to mention numerous other wildlife species.
The area is also known for its estuary which happens to be one of the largest in Africa. Home to approximately 800 Hippos, 1200 Nile Crocodiles, and an abundance of bird species +/- 450 species year-round. Related are some of the highest coastal vegetated dunes on the planet.
The most popular recreational activity within the park is predominantly fishing, both rock, and surf as well as deep-sea fishing. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park coastline stretches for an incredible 280 km making fishing incredibly popular.
Other recreational activities include the likes of self-guided hikes, bird watching, cycling, and self-drives into the numerous within the Park.
The park is managed by the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority, they are not related to Sanparks nor KZN Wildlife.
The park is enormous and covers an area of 3,280 km².
Technically yes, Lions were released into the Mkuze Game Reserve in December 2013 after 44 years.
Mkuze Game Reserve falls within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
This depends entirely in which area you are within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Herewith is a short list of Activities:
- Birding and Wildlife Walking routes
- Cycling routes / Beach Cycling
- Zulu Culture
- Horse Riding
- Boat Cruises
- Deep-Sea Fishing year-round
- Scuba Diving year-round may be weather dependent primarily in Sodwana Bay
- Whale Watching (Humpback Whales) June to November
- Turtle Tours (Logger Head and Leather Back Turtles) November to February
- Rock & Surf Fishing year-round
- Snorkeling weather dependant
- Visit other Big 5 Reserves (Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park)
- UmKhuze Game Reserve
- Camping, Mphelane, St Lucia, Cape Vidal, Sodwana Bay
It is advisable to seek medical advice, it is however regarded as a low-risk area depending into which area you wish to visit.
First of all this park is officially South Africa's very first world heritage site (UNESCO 1999). Comprising of the largest protected wetland in Southern Africa.
The park offers a multitude of access points which in turn offers varying types of fauna and flora as well as wildlife species. From the Southern point (St Lucia) to the Northern point (Kosi Bay) and Mkuze Game Reserve to the west (inland).
If you are in search of a true Africa-style experience with an abundance of wildlife then this should be your next destination.
- Beach Towels
- Swimming costumes
- Camera and extra memory cards
- Hat, Sunblock, Comfy shoes
- Light Jacket
- Snorkeling equipment
- Fishing permit, rod, and reel, light tackle fishing
- Birding book
- Wildlife Book
Yes, one can see Lions in the Mhkuze Game Reserve which is part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. 4 Lions were re-introduced into the Park in 2013 from Tembe Elephant Park. This officially makes the iSimangaliso Wetland Park a Big 7 Park.