Area

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is one of the jewels of South Africa's coastline, with a unique mosaic of ecosystems – swamps, lakes, beaches, coral reefs, wetlands, woodlands, coastal forests and grasslands – supporting an astounding diversity of animal, bird and marine life. Formerly known as the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, the Park was renamed in 2007. Located on the north-eastern coast of KwaZulu-Natal, stretching from Kozi Bay in the north to Cape St Lucia in the south, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park was the first site in South Africa to be inscribed on the World Heritage List by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

iSimangaliso's uniqueness lies in its remarkable diversity, particularly its combination of a subtropical coastline and a classic African game park. It is South Africa's third-largest park, spanning 280 kilometres of coastline, from the Mozambican border in the north to Mapelane south of the St Lucia estuary, and made up of around 328 000 hectares of pristine natural ecosystems – including swamps, lake systems, beaches, coral reefs, wetlands, woodlands and coastal forests. The park takes in a 60-kilometre river mouth that creates a huge estuary, Lake St Lucia, running parallel to the coast and separated from the sea by the world's highest forested sand dunes. The lake is part of the St Lucia estuarine system, the largest estuarine system in Africa.

The park incorporates the whole of Lake St Lucia, the St Lucia and Maputaland Marine Reserves, the Coastal Forest Reserve and the Kosi Bay Natural Reserve. The 40 000 hectare Mkuzi Game Reserve is also in the process of being incorporated into the park.