I spent a day exploring South Africa’s oldest World Heritage Site- established in Dec 1999. iSimangaliso Wetland Park is quite beautiful but I think you need a 4×4 and a few days to explore the areas further from St Lucia. I just had a small sedan but that handled the tracks well and as the park has a paved road for the main stretch and the tracks are well maintained, there isn’t much that you miss in the main park by not having 4×4. Here are a few photos from the day.
Hopefully this slideshow format will be better than the frustrating attempts to make a gallery.
The first photos should be of the estuary where the channel connecting St Lucia Lake joins the sea. Very beautiful indeed. At the moment the estuary is closed by sand so there is no flow of water between the ocean and the lake area, but nature will change that eventually when it decides it is time!
It really is only a short drive from the tourist village of St Lucia to the Eastern Shores, Cape Vidal area of iSimangaliso wetlands park. I don’t recall the park entrance fee but it was somewhere around 75 Rand for car and passengers, I think. Take a packed lunch with you as the only shop is in Cape Vidal. In true South African style, there are plenty of places to BBQ, but you’ve got to pack it all with you! The next few photos are of hippos at Amazibu Pan (take the Pan Route on your left not too far in from the entrance). There is a small pod of hippos there and I enjoyed sitting and watching them get out of the pool for a bit of sunbaking. Very restful.
The next photos are from Mission Rocks and then Cape Vidal. Nice beaches but as an Aussie they’re kind of normal and exactly as a decent beach should be. For the rest of the day I explored every track and saw some nice wildlife and birds. I didn’t see any elephants as apparently at this time of the year they’ve crossed the river to greener pastures! This is definitely a wonderful wetland park for those that love nature and birdlife. Oddly my only photo of a bird is the owl I saw sitting on the power line, but there are many different types of birds to be seen.
Enjoy the wetlands, if you ever have the opportunity!