iSimangaliso Wetland Park

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iSimangaliso Wetland Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

St Lucia: Hippo and Crocodile Cruise on a 15-Seat Vessel

1. St Lucia: Hippo and Crocodile Cruise on a 15-Seat Vessel

Witness hippos, Nile crocodiles, and hundreds of bird species onboard a cruise departing from St Lucia. This two-hour safari gets you up close to the residents of the estuary. Discover St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park, one of the largest Estuarine systems in Africa. Travel aboard an exclusive 15-seater vessel with experienced and knowledgable skippers and rangers onboard. They will be happy to answer any questions you may have and furnish you with some incredible facts and information on the area.

From St Lucia: Cape Vidal Full-Day Snorkeling Safari

2. From St Lucia: Cape Vidal Full-Day Snorkeling Safari

After pickup from your accommodations, your guide will take you on a safari drive in iSimangaliso Wetland Park. You'll have the chance to see many animals in their natural habitat including elephants, hippos, rhinos, hyenas, buffalos, zebras, wildebeest, antelopes, chameleons and if you're lucky, perhaps a leopard. Then head to the beach for 2 hours of snorkeling and discover over 50 different species of fish. If you're not a keen snorkeler, you can enjoy the beach on your own or go for a little birdwatching walk on the forest dunes of Cape Vidal with another guide. Your tour is conducted in a laid-back, yet professional manner and includes breakfast and a delicious African braai (barbeque) lunch.

St Lucia: iSimangaliso Wetland Park: Full-Day/Half-Day Tour

3. St Lucia: iSimangaliso Wetland Park: Full-Day/Half-Day Tour

Enjoy an open game drive safari in South Africa's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Start with pickup from St Lucia or Durban, and after a brief introduction, enter the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. While on safari, enjoy the spectacular natural beauty of the park as you explore numerous loop roads, outcrops, and lookout points. With knowledgeable and experienced guides, discover an abundance of wildlife species in the park. Search for Africa's Big 5 game animals: lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo. Spot other animals such as waterbuck, impala, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, reedbuck, chameleon, giraffe, and hyena. Enjoy a stop at Cape Vidal, a protected bay and beach area. Take some time for snorkeling or swimming in the waters surrounding this resort destination, and enjoy some lunch on site. See the highest vegetative dunes on the African continent and enjoy plenty of scenic photo opportunities throughout the day.

St. Lucia: Cape Vidal Snorkeling Adventure

4. St. Lucia: Cape Vidal Snorkeling Adventure

Meet your friendly instructors in Cape Vidal, just an hour drive through iSimangaliso Wetland Park from St. Lucia. The park is a protected area that runs along the coast of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Provice, and is home to an abundance of hippos, crocodiles, penguins, flamingos, elephants, giraffes, and leopards, spanning across the various landscapes. The adventure begins with a safety briefing on the beach and time to get kitted out with all the snorkel gear. Next, head into the water for a 1 to 1.5-hour exploration of Cape Vidal’s underwater world. Follow your instructor as you go in search of marine life, with the opportunity to see stingrays, octopus, butterfly fish, sturgeon fish, and many more. By the end of the trip, you will have spotted around 50 different species of fish. Back on dry land, warm up with a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate as you page through the fascinating fish ID book to point out what you have seen.

From St. Lucia: iSimangaliso Sunset Safari

5. From St. Lucia: iSimangaliso Sunset Safari

Get picked up from your hotel in St. Lucia and travel to the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, a huge protected area along the coast of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province. The park’s centerpiece is the vast Lake St. Lucia, home to a large number of hippos, crocodiles, pelicans, and flamingos. Elephants, giraffes, and leopards inhabit the grasslands and forests of the nearby Western Shores and Charters Creek areas. To the north, Sodwana Bay is known for its colorful coral reefs. Upon arrival, gear up and set off on an exciting three-hour drive through the park's many ecosystems. Keep an eye out for the wide variety of species that call iSimangaliso home. As the sun begins to set, your guide will take you to the perfect spot to appreciate the African sunset. When darkness falls, take on the challenge of spotting chameleons and other nocturnal species, all of which are more active after nightfall. Get dropped off back at your accommodation in St Lucia.

Durban: Hluhluwe Imfolozi Safari & iSimangaliso Tour

6. Durban: Hluhluwe Imfolozi Safari & iSimangaliso Tour

Previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, iSimangaliso Wetlands Park was declared South Africa's first Natural World Heritage Site (UNESCO), and is considered South Africa's third-largest park with 280 kilometers of near-pristine coastline and 328,000 hectares of magnificent scenery. The protected area is home to one of the largest populations of hippopotami in SA, an estimated 1,000 crocodiles and a wealth of plant, bird and animal life. Animals in the park include lions, African elephants, leopards, black and southern white rhino, and buffalo. In the ocean, there are whales, dolphins, and marine turtles, including the leatherback and loggerhead turtle. After the boat tour, travel to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. Your experienced guide will show you around the park in a closed vehicle in search of the diverse wildlife and Africa's Big 5, which include the lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo, and rhinoceros. The reserve is set in the heart of Zululand, where these amazing animals roam the flourishing savannah. Established in 1895, this is the oldest park in South Africa and is 98,000 hectares in size. The Park contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora and is characterized by hilly topography. The list of animals at the park is long and varied. Hluhluwe, the northern section of the park, is noted for its wide variety of both bird and animal life. Imfolozi Game Reserve is situated in the southern section of the park. Today, the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park is world-renowned for its white rhino conservation efforts and its Centenary Capture Center which is setting improved standards for game capture and sustainable utilization in Africa. Your guide will stop at Hilltop Camp restaurant giving you time to refuel and relax. The restaurant is situated at the top of the hill and gives visitors the chance to enjoy the scenery of the camp and surrounding areas. Afterwards, you will continue with your safari before leaving the park for Durban.

Kosi Bay: Kosi Mouth Tour with BBQ Lunch and Wine Tasting

7. Kosi Bay: Kosi Mouth Tour with BBQ Lunch and Wine Tasting

Take a guided walking and kayaking tour of Kosi Bay. See the local flora and fauna that thrive both above and below the water as you walk, kayak, and snorkel your way through the wonders of the bay. Meet your guide at a wooden bridge at the Kosi Mouth reserve. Follow your guide past a viewpoint overlooking the bay's estuary. Hop aboard a sea kayak and paddle through surreal mangrove channels. Keep an eye out for mangrove kingfishers. Snorkel through the part of the bay which is known for its large variety of fish species. Try to spot parrot fish, moray eels, lionfish, surgeons, trigger fish, mullet, grunters, river snappers, butterfly fish, Moorish idols, flutemouth fish, goatfish, and pickhandle barracudas. Head to the fish kraals (traditional fish trap) where you can meet the Thonga fisherman who owns the trap. Gain insight into the local practice of spearfishing and try to spear a fish of your own. Experience local flavors as your host prepares you an authentic meal. Savor fresh fish that has been perfectly prepared on sharpened sticks next to an open fire. Eat a delicious helping of maize bread and peanut soup with your fish. Have your lunch on the shoreline of the Kosi bay estuary under a shady uMdoni tree, just like the Thonga have been doing for the last 700 years. Taste some freshly harvested palm juice that has not been fermented, as well as some well fermented wine.

Kosi Bay: Kosi Bay Mouth Kayak Tour

8. Kosi Bay: Kosi Bay Mouth Kayak Tour

Explore Kosi Bay Mouth from the best perspective possible: On a double sea kayak. Glide along the calm estuary's waters, following your expert guide along the way and looking out for the abundant wildlife. Paddle up close to mangrove islands and weave past traditional Thonga fish kraals or traps. Meet your local Thonga guide by the shore. After a safety briefing and some tips on how to streamline your paddling, head out into the water. Paddle across the Kosi Estuary, navigating through traditional Thonga fish kraals. Once on the southern shoreline, head over to see the remarkable mangrove islands with their twisting roots. Listen to your guide as their point out the diversity of mangrove species found in the Kosi Bay system and look out for some of the special bird species who call these islands their home.

Kosi Bay: Snorkeling Adventure with Hot Drink

9. Kosi Bay: Snorkeling Adventure with Hot Drink

Let your local guide show you the life that swims through the mouth of Kosi Bay on this snorkeling adventure. Try to spot marine life like emperor angelfish, bluebarred parrotfish, and honeycomb rays. Meet your guide in the Kosi Bay mouth parking area and walk to the briefing area. Listen as your guide provides you with a briefing for the snorkeling trip. Take your high-quality snorkeling gear and get some tips on how to use the gear. Explore the magical underwater world of Kosi bay where guides typically point out over 50 different species of fish like flutemouth fish, blue petes, zigzag sand wrasses, moray eels, and lionfish. Return to the shore where your guide will help you identify all your fish sightings in your fish id booklet. Sip on a hot coffee or tea while filling out your log book.

St Lucia Boat Safari and Emdoneni Wild Cat Day Tour

10. St Lucia Boat Safari and Emdoneni Wild Cat Day Tour

The tour leaves from Durban and heads north of South Africa to Isimangaliso Wetlands Park- Greater St Lucia.The 332,000 hectare Isimangaliso Wetland Park was announced South Africa's first World Heritage Site in December 1999, while its name still remains as the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park. It received this prestigious status in recognition of the beauty of the landscape, its unique ecological processes and the exceptional diversity of species that the park protects. You will go on a 2-hour boat estuary tour where you will have a chance to be close to hippos, crocodiles and the famous fish eagle. After the trip you will take a leisurely walk along the estuary and see the beauty of the coastline area. From there you will go to the Emdoneni Wild Cat Sanctuary where you will have the opportunity to learn more about South Africa's wild cat species. You will be taken aback by the beauty of the caracal, enchanted by the very playful cerval and mesmerized by the speed and agility of the cheetah. The aim of the Emdoneni Wild Cat Sanctuary is to care for wild cats that have been orphaned or injured in the wild and are in need of care and rehabilitation. They also intend to breed successfully if possible and release the offspring back into their natural habitat.

Other Sightseeing Options in iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Want to discover all there is to do in iSimangaliso Wetland Park? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 128 reviews

Had a truly amazing experience and even though we had a quiet drive in the morning we got to learn so much about the local bird and plant life. In the afternoon, the snorkeling was great especially as a first timer. A fantastic adventure in a beautiful part of the country I'll definitely recommend to anyone.

An excellent day out - our guide Spi was great - he shared a lot of information with us and was an excellent host who really took great care of us, and esp our two children. The game viewing was great, the snorkelling very good but certainly it was all made better by an excellent guide, Spi.

Enjoyable trip with a well informed guide sharing historical info and interesting animal and bird information.

We were really lucky, the whole Geländerbus belonged to us! The guide was very friendly and nice.

Delightful morning trip with good commentary past numerous hippos and birds.