iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Overview tourist information about the iSimangaliso Wetland Park that was proclaimed South Africa's first World Heritage Site in December 1999, located in the northern region, on the east coast of Kwazulu-Natal, KZN. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is due to intergrate into the Transfrontier park to became the Greater Lumbombo Transfrontier conservation area.
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park, previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, is considered an amazing natural phenomenon because of the occurrence of five ecosystems within a relatively small area (260 000 ha). The vast mosaic of habitats include: marine systems such as coral reefs, beach and coastal forests; salt and freshwater marshes; open estuarine waters; lush coastal plains and drier woodland areas.
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park area is situated in Maputaland, close to Zululand where the great Zulu King Shaka reigned, and offers superlative scenic vistas along its 280 km coastline. Thickly forested coastal dunes; some of the largest vegetated dunes in the world; separate the sea from the land.
When is the best time to vist the iSimangaliso wet lands park?, the region is in a sub-tropical area and the climate gets hot and humid in the summer seasons, Oct - Mch, in the winter seasons, Apr - Sept the temperature are very pleasant. That gives the area all year arround time to visit.
From June to September each year, you can spot majestic Southern Right whales frolicking off the coast; accompanied by schools of whale-sharks and dolphins; as they make their way southwards to their Antarctic feeding grounds.
At the heart of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a complex system of estuarine and freshwater lakes with Lake Saint Lucia dominating these being the largest, freshwater lake in southern Africa. Fed by five rivers this is home to a rich diversity of estuarine and marine animal life.
Overnight accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets is available in chalets, bush camps, game lodges and backpacker lodges; with camping and caravanning an option for those who prefer to 'rough it'. There is a wide choice of ways to move around the Park. Guided walks, wilderness trails, and vehicle and boat tours allow for game viewing, bird watching and the sighting of turtles and whales.
Development, iSimangaliso Wetland Park is one of the few untouched natural areas in the world and currently forms part of a tri-national eco-tourism project, the Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative, involving the countries of South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland. Initiated by Nelson Mandela, this project will eventually see the dropping of border gates between the countries and the creation of a massive 'Big Five' conservation area spanning sections of all three countries.
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