A World Heritage Site, iSimangaliso Wetland Park (the former Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park) incorporates an astonishing variety of habitats from the Ubombo Mountains to Grasslands, Forests, Wetlands, Mangroves and ancient Dunes, magnificent Beaches and Coral Reefs. This awesome KwaZulu-Natal Wetland Park stretches along the Zululand coast from Maphelane in the South to Kosi Bay in the North, on the Mozambique border.
Covering 220 km of coastline, this KwaZulu-Natal Wetland Park brings together eight interlocking ecosystems and ten unique destinations: Maphelane, Lake St. Lucia/St. Lucia Estuary, Cape Vidal and the Eastern Shores, Charters Creek and the Western Shores, False Bay, Sodwana Bay, uMkhuze, Lake Sibaya, Coastal Forest and Kosi Bay. A very special slice of Africa, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park offers eco-tourists some of the most diverse African wildlife and outdoor experiences imaginable. The variety of fauna and flora is unique. Four wetland sites within the park are Ramsar sites (wetlands of international importance). iSimangaliso Wetlands Park in KwaZulu-Natal protects rare Swamp Forests, Africa's largest Estuary and some of the world's highest coastal vegetated Dunes, which are 25 000 years old!
The Area has been used and inhabited by man for many Years. Historical evidence, including decorative pierced seashells, dating back to the Later Stone Age has been found in Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains, West of Kosi Bay. There are also Iron Age Sites located at Enkwazini, East of Lake St Lucia that date back to 290 AD.
The first South-migrating Bantu people arrived in the Area around 1440, impacting the landscape greatly through livestock grazing, hunting and bush clearance. Discoveries of trade beads suggest that Arab traders visited the region as early as 1250 and Vasco Da Gama and his crew are said to have been the first European settlers on the coastline when they landed here in December 1497. The Dutch landed in the Area in 1670 and the British followed years later in 1822. The year 1853 saw the first ventures inland with a ship to Lake St Lucia as far as 50 kilometres, up the Mkuze River. These explorers were all later followed by hunters, ivory traders and missionaries.
The initial Reserve, which was much smaller than the current day expanse, was first established in 1895, making the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi region the oldest conservation Area in South Africa. The Park was proclaimed South Africa's first World Heritage Site in 1999 during an unveiling ceremony where Nelson Mandela was the guest of honour. Previously known as the St Lucia Wetlands, the reserve was renamed iSimangaliso, which means 'miracle and wonder' in 2010.
“iSimangaliso must be the only place on the globe where the oldest land mammal (the Rhinoceros) and the world's biggest terrestrial mammal (the Elephant) share an ecosystem with the world's oldest fish (the Coelacanth) and the world's biggest marine mammal (the Whale)” - Nelson Mandela.
It supports a significant breeding ground for Leatherback and Loggerhead Turtles. It also features 700 year old fishing traditions, 526 bird species, big game safaris and many more wonders. The park covers 332 000 hectares and contains three major lake systems and five ecosystems. The greatest congregation of Hippo and Crocodile in the country resides at iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Elephant Coast, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The park is home to a variety to wildlife species with 4 of the Big Five game. Animals in residence include Black and White Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard, Giraffe, Wild Dog, Zebra, Waterbuck, Kudu, Nyala, Impala, Duiker and Reedbuck.
Birdlife is prolific especially around the wetlands, 4 of which are Ramsar sites. Guests can see Flamingos, Pelicans, Herons, Ducks, Geese and Storks amongst the extraordinary variety of birds. There are 1 200 species of fish and 100 species of coral. iSimangaliso is a scuba diving and snorkelling haven where visitors can see Whales, Dolphins, Turtles and colourful tropical fish. 
-27° 38' 9.6", 32° 34' 55.2"