iSimangaliso Wetland Park is an eco-tourists dream. Take your pick of activities – from game drives, hippo and croc cruises, turtle tours or whale watching. The beaches at Cape Vidal make for ideal swimming and scuba-diving spots. There are also adventure activities like kayaking, horse riding, and hiking.
Hippo and Crocodile cruises on Lake St. Lucia
Why you should experience it: Get up close and personal with the many hippos and crocodiles that call Lake St. Lucia home. Estuary boat cruises on Lake St. Lucia is a wonderful experience to view these water-based creatures in their natural habitat.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park is home to a huge population of around 800 hippos – many are seen lazing around in the waters of the lake, and some, affectionately known as “townies”, even tend to walk the streets of St. Lucia at night!
How much does it cost: Tickets cost around R300 per person depending on the charter company you choose.
Why you should experience it: South Africa is a country blessed with the requisite game and wildlife that make incredible game drives possible in many parts. iSimangaliso Wetland Park just so happens to be one of KwaZulu-Natal’s finest. The park offers exploration of both the Eastern and Western shores – and even night game drives (when possible) to spot a few elusive species that only come out when it’s dark. See elephants, giraffes, hippos, rhinos, a range of antelope, and buffalo.
How much does it cost: Enquire with licensed operators for options and pricing.
Why you should experience it: Guided walks are an excellent way to absorb the beauty of the park and its wildlife without the noise of vehicles that tend to scare the animals away. Visitors are not allowed to just meander along the walking trails themselves, however. Walks should be scheduled and accompanied by guides at all times and there are many reputable companies to book them through.
How much does it cost: Enquire for pricing.
Snorkelling in Kosi Bay
Why you should experience it: The Kosi Bay area of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is regarded as “the last haven of untouched African paradise” – and rightly so! Kosi Bay comprises four lakes, connected by channels and wetlands that are home to a variety of birds and animals. You will find some of the most beautiful beaches, with white sands and crystal blue waters – perfect for snorkelling. Aquarium Reef is a shallow reef filled with the calmest, clearest sea water and marine life. It’s sheltered from the surf, so is perfectly safe for all ages.
How to get there: Kosi Bay is a three-hour (240km) drive from St. Lucia via the R22.