Isimangaliso means miracle and wonder which aptly describes this exceptional KwaZulu-Natal Wetland Park on the Zululand coast. A World Heritage Site, iSimangaliso Wetland Park (formerly Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park) incorporates an astonishing variety of habitats from the Ubombo Mountains to grasslands, forests, wetlands, mangroves and ancient dunes, magnificent beaches and coral reefs. This awesome KwaZulu-Natal Wetland Park stretches along the Zululand coast from Maphelane in the south to Kosi Bay in the north, on the Mozambique border.
A very special slice of Africa, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park offers eco-tourists some of the most diverse African wildlife and outdoor experiences imaginable. The variety of fauna and flora is unique. Four wetland sites within the park are Ramsar sites (wetlands of international importance). iSimangaliso Wetlands Park in KwaZulu-Natal protects rare swamp forests, Africa's largest estuary and some of the world's highest coastal vegetated dunes, which are 25 000 years old.
“iSimangaliso must be the only place on the globe where the oldest land mammal (the Rhinoceros) and the world's biggest terrestrial mammal (the Elephant) share an ecosystem with the world's oldest fish (the Coelacanth) and the world's biggest marine mammal (the Whale)” - Nelson Mandela.
By Road: The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is situated in the northern region of KwaZulu-Natal, with the nearest international airport being King Shaka (Durban) and the closest regional airport at Richards Bay. For those driving themselves, the Park’s gates are accessible from two major tarred roads – the N2 and the R22. Travelling from the south, take the N2 north, travelling north of the Mtunzini toll plaza. The southernmost Park entrance is Maphelane, accessible from the Kwambonambi junction. To visit the Eastern Shores and Western Shores sections (and the town of St Lucia), turn off the N2 at Mtubatuba. The R22 branches off the N2 at Hluhluwe, with directions showing the way to the False Bay gate. Further north along the R22, the D820 on the left leads to uMkhuze’s Ophansi Gate. To reach Sodwana Bay, Lake Sibaya and the Coastal Forest sections, the turnoff from the R22 is at Mbazwana. The northernmost section of the Park, Kosi Bay, is accessed via the town of Manguzi/KwaNgwanase. Visitors from the north follow the N2 southwards, with the western entrance to uMkhuze’s eMshophi Gate signposted via the town of Mkuze. As an alternative to driving via Hluhluwe town, visitors may prefer to transit the uMkhuze section (time restrictions apply) in order to access the coastal sections.