St Lucia Wetlands
The St. Lucia area is one of Africa’s premier eco-tourism destinations, and a haven for bird and animal life. It was recently renamed the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. As well as a mind-blowing range of natural systems, ranging from dune, swamp and coastal forests to rocky and sandy shores, coral reefs and submarine canyons, mangroves, savanna grassland, thickets, woodlands, and the largest protected wetland in southern Africa, it is a culturally fascinating area.
Much work has been done to ensure that these habitats are conserved and that the tourism activities undertaken here are sensitive.
Excellent marked hikes through woodland, grassland and across pristine beaches can be taken around St. Lucia, Cape Vidal and False Bay Park.
Snorkelling and diving at the restricted area of Cape Vidal are popular pastimes, as is fishing, whale watching and walking in the forest reserve there.
Boat trips on the estuary at St. Lucia also present wonderful scenery and beautiful sunsets. This shallow area of brackish water is teaming with fish and attracts a great many water birds in addition to crocodile and hippo. Sodwana Bay, one of the most popular diving sites in Southern Africa, is close by and also includes a great variety of habitat niches which are home to over 330 species of bird.
The St. Lucia and Maputaland Marine reserves cover the coastal strip and three nautical miles out to sea from Cape Vidal to Mozambique. This area encompasses several nesting sites of the rare leatherback and loggerhead turtles.