Isimangaliso Wetland Park is the third biggest nature reserve as well as the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. It is located on the east coast of South Africa in KwaZulu Natal province and spans across a huge area of around 3280 sq. km. The park is one of the most popular destinations for eco-tourists. The place is full of wonders, like the biggest Estuarine System and the second largest vegetated sand dunes.
About Isimangaliso Wetland Park
Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 in the presence of Nelson Mandela himself, the park was renamed from Greater St. Lucia to Isimangaliso Wetland Park which means ‘miracle and wonder’ in the native Zulu language. Some of the most notable species of animals include 1800 crocodiles, over 800 hippopotami, African Bush elephants, African leopards, Southern rhinos, among others.
Best Time to Visit Isimangaliso Wetland Park
The best time to visit the park is during the Dry and mild winter season which is from May to September. This season is a peak season and you’ll find swarms of migratory birds stopping at this park as a midway to their actual destination. In this season it becomes a wonderland for bird-watchers.
How to Reach Isimangaliso Wetland Park
You can drive up the N2 highway northwards and follow it for at least 250 km to reach the entrance which faces Durban. You can enter the park from the town of Hluhluwe, the nearest entrance of the park is situated just 50km from the town of Hluhluwe. The most convenient entrance is through the town of St. Lucia, because the park is technically located in St. Lucia so it is like the town itself is one of the entrances to the park.
Stays In And Near Isimangaliso Wetland Park
The park is so huge that numerous days are required if you want to reach its far reaches and want to see the most pristine and untouched parts of this park. Take an accommodation and enjoy exploring the whole of the park. Some of the best places to stay in and around the park include Rock Shandy Stone Cottage, Kosi Forest lodge, Aristo Manor, Pakamisa Private Game reserve among others.
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Things To Do In Isimangaliso Wetland Park
There are numerous interesting adventure activities that one can pursue in Isimangaliso Wetland Park, but it is important to identify the best of them:
1. Lake St. Lucia: Gape At The Beauty
Home to 800 hippopotami and hundreds of Nile crocodiles, the lake in St. Lucia epitomise the beauty of Isimangaliso Wetland Park. We advise you to be careful around the lake as the rocks surrounding the lake are covered in lichen and hence, extremely slippery. You’re strictly prohibited from taking a bath or a piss in the lake.
2. Sodwana: Go Snorkelling
Located in the Northern Section of the Isimangaliso western park, Sodwana is amongst the best destinations in whole of South Africa to snorkel and dive and see the vibrant coral and see life by your own eyes. Make sure to take precautionary measures before you dive into the water. Also, if you’re a first time snorkeler, we’d advise you to hire a trainer. Remember to breathe underwater, and you’ll be okay.
3. Western Reserve: Go On A Safari
The Western shores reserve of the Isimangaliso Wetlands park is home to the big 4 species, that is buffalo, rhino, elephant and leopard. See these amazing creatures live aboard a jeep safari through the Western Shore Reserves. Make sure to not thrust the camera into the face of animals, they may assume that you’re attempting to attack them and you can get hurt in the return.
4. Eastern Shores: Observe Wildlife
Like the Western Shore, this home to the African Big 3. You can find the rhino, buffalo and leopards in the area. The eco-tourists will enjoy observing the variety of wildlife that Isimangaliso Wetland Park has to offer. Being one of the biggest reserves in South Africa, it houses more animals than you can count on your fingers.
The Isimangaliso Wetland Park is a must-visit destination for those who have even the most remotest interest in nature and wildlife. Book your ticket to South Africa and head there now. Do not let go of this once in a lifetime opportunity.
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