A very special slice of Africa, the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park offers ecotourists some of the most diverse wildlife and outdoor experiences imaginable.
Besides Lake St Lucia – a unique, 38 000 ha expanse of lake, islands and estuary – the park incorporates an astonishing variety of habitats ranging from the Ubombo mountains to grasslands, forests, wetlands, mangroves and vegetated dunes, with magnificent beaches and coral reefs.
The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park stretches along the Zululand coast from Mapelane in the south to Sodwana in the north.
From Mapelane the park stretches northwards, incorporating St Lucia Game and Marine Reserves, False Bay park, Cape Vidal, Sodwana Bay, Mkuzi Game Reserve and the Maputaland Marine Reserve.
The 260 000 ha park is internationally recognised and a World Heritage Site.
This diversity gives rise to a multiplicity of fauna and flora, unrivalled anywhere in South Africa. It supports an abundance of Nile crocodile and hippo, as well as rhino (both black and white), elephant, buffalo, giraffe, waterbuck, kudu, nyala, impala, duiker and reedbuck, amongst a host of other species.
While swimming in the lake is prohibited due to the presence of crocodile, recreational options abound.
You can dive on coral reefs or walk for miles along golden beaches; explore great dunes and wander through magical coastal forests; or roam across grassy plains as the wind carries the whistling calls of reedbuck on the alert.
You can try your hand at canoeing while enjoying a wilderness trail, and if snorkeling, angling or boating take your fancy, this is the place to indulge yourself.
Migrant whales cavorting along the coast, leatherback and loggerhead turtles, nesting on the beaches at night in summer, add to the park’s special attractions.