The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is one of the most outstanding natural wetland and coastal sites of Africa. Covering an area of 239,566 hectares, it includes a wide range of pristine marine, coastal, wetland, estuarine, and terrestrial environments all of which are scenically beautiful and unmodified by people. The park is comprised of brightly colored coral reefs, long sandy beaches, coastal dunes, lake systems, swamps, and extensive reed and papyrus wetlands, all providing critical habitats for a wide range of species from Africa’s seas, wetlands and savannahs. The five interlinked ecosystems found in iSimangaliso provide habitat for an incredible diversity of fauna and an incredible African safari experience.
In December of 1999 the park was proclaimed a World Heritage Site because of the rich biodiversity, unique ecosystems and natural beauty occurring in a relatively small area. The park boasts over 6,500 plant and animal species, including 521 bird species. iSimangoliso is also home to 1,200 Nile crocodiles, 800 hippopotamus, and in December of 2013 lions were reintroduced.
The park is especially known for three wonderful natural phenomena. The first are the shifting salinity states within Lake St. Lucia. A second being the incredible spectacle of of nesting turtles on the beaches in mass joined by an abundance of dolphins, migrating whales and whale sharks just off-shore. The third sight not to be missed, the huge number of waterfowl and large breeding colonies of pelican, stork, heron and tern that are a staple in the landscape of the park making this a wonderful destination for birding safaris.
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