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Greater St Lucia Wetland Park South Africa
SOUTH AFRICAN SAFARIS AND THE ISIMANGALISO WETLAND / THE GREATER ST LUCIA AREA
The Greater St Lucia Wetlands area was renamed in November 2007 to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The word ‘iSimangaliso’ is a Zulu word that means ‘a marvel’. The iSimangaliso Wetland/Greater St Lucia Wetland area boasts 5 ecosystems which are; the marine system, the eastern shores, the lake system, the Mkhuze and Umfolozi swamps and the western shores. With this massive variety of scenery and diversity the Greater St Lucia/ iSimangaliso Wetland area is one of the best places to go to on a South African safari.
The St. Lucia Wetland Park (iSimangaliso Wetland) is the union of thirteen neighbouring and protected areas including Lake St Lucia, the Maputaland Marine Reserve, the coastal Forest Reserve and the Kosi Bay Natural Reserve. This jewel of South Africa's coastline stretches along the Zululand coast from Mapelane in the south to Sodwana in the north – covering over 280 km of South Africa’s coastline. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is the third largest park in South Africa and was the first park in South Africa to be declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1999.
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park overwhelms one with its natural diversity. This region comprises of coral reefs, amazing sandy beaches, dunes, swamps, wetlands, woodlands, coastal forests and Africa's largest estuarine system with the famous St. Lucia Lake. The St Lucia Lake runs parallel to the coast, separated from the Indian Ocean by the world's highest forested sand dunes. Due to the mixture of salt and fresh water as well as the combination of the subtropical and tropical Africa, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park was able to generate a unique variety of species including 521 bird species. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park (formerly the Greater St Lucia Wetland) supports more species of safari animals than Kruger National Park or even the Okavango Delta. With 5 ecosystems and a huge variety of wildlife, the iSimangaliso Wetland area is definitely one of the best highlights in South Africa!
In the iSimangaliso Wetland area you can spot leopards, antelopes, bush pigs, buffalos, black and white rhinos to mention just a few… You can also experience the biggest crocodile and hippo population in the Greater St Lucia area – there are no other South African parks that have as many hippos and crocodiles within their boundaries as iSimangaliso! Another South African highlight is the endangered nestling Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles on the beaches. Visitors who prefer the underwater world can do one of the world's best scuba dives and keep an eye on giant Manta Rays, Ragged-Tooth or Whale Sharks and admire the coral garden. Scuba Diving and snorkelling along the Great St Lucia coastal line is not to be missed…
In addition, St. Lucia Wetland Park (iSimangaliso Wetland) is South Africa's most popular fishing destination and offers wonderful hiking trails, stretching from a few hours to a few days in length. Other iSimangaliso activities which can be enjoyed in this park are whale watching, boating and horse-riding. The combination of a subtropical coastline and a classic African game park makes this park a unique adventure!
Overall, the Greater St Lucia Wetlands/ iSimangaliso Wetland Park includes; the St Lucia Game Reserve, False Bay Park, St Lucia Marine Reserve, Sodwana Bay National Park, Maputaland Marine Reserve, Cape Vidal, Ozabeni, Mfabeni, Tewate Wilderness Area and Mkuze Game Reserve.
Have a look at our South African safaris that include the iSimangaliso Wetland / Greater St Lucia Wetlands below. There are also other South African attractions beneath that you might want to visit on your South African Safari.
More Safari Attractions in South Africa:
- Kruger National Park
- Garden Route
- Cape Town
- Addo Elephant National Park
- Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park
- Pilanesberg National Park
- West Coast
- Table Mountain
- Cango Caves
- Cape Point, Cape Agulhas
- Gods Window
- Kapama Game Reserve
- Madikwe Game Reserve
- Pilgrims Rest
- Robben Island
- Sun City
- Karoo South Africa
- Wild Coast
- V&A Waterfront
- Valley of a 1000 Hills
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
- The Battlefields