24.9 C
Friday, January 22, 2021

Elephant Coast

The Elephant Coast incorporates the best of both land and sea safari experiences with its world-class conservation areas that include the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s first proclaimed World Heritage Site, and Africa’s oldest game reserve, the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Natural and cultural diversity abound in this area that is home to an incredible 21 different ecosystems – from its dense evergreen forests of towering fig trees, swamp forests with tangled masses of greenery, thick coastal forest, mountainous sand dunes, and pristine beaches to the African bushveld with its thorn trees and abundance of wildlife.

elephant coast

This is one of the few destinations where a visitor can see the ‘Big Five’ before breakfast, watch dolphins and whales before lunch, explore the depths of the ocean in the afternoon and go turtle tracking after dinner. Stretching from the iMfolozi River in the south to the Mozambique border in the north, this region is easily accessible from Durban as well as Swaziland, Mozambique and Mpumalanga. There are dozens of game reserves, beautiful beaches, deep sea fishing and diving on several reefs, mountain trails, cultural activities and historical sites. In addition to the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park there are several private game reserves in the region that superb safari experiences, many of them home to a number of species of antelope as well as large populations of elephant, buffalo and giraffe, and predators such as the lion, cheetah and the elusive leopard.  

The Kosi Bay Nature Reserve is an unspoiled area surrounding the rare and beautiful Kosi Bay lake system and is a tropical paradise of crystal-clear water, marshland, swamp and coastal forests that is home to about 250 species of bird.  The pristine beaches in the region are the nesting ground of sea turtles that come to shore between the months of November and January to lay their eggs – hatching occurs between January and March. This is a memorable sight and one that is closely monitored by resident researchers, fortunately there are several lodges in this area which offer guests this opportunity… as well as the privilege of being just a short stroll from beach or tucked into the coastal forest surrounded by bird calls.

The town of St Lucia, located on the shores of the St Lucia Estuary and surrounded by the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, is home to resident hippo that occasionally roam the streets as well as a wide diversity of birdlife. A walk along the iGwalaGwala Forest trail with a local birding guide (ask for Themba Birding) is a most rewarding birding experience and will have you adding numerous ticks to your birding list. With its lakes, lagoons, freshwater swamps and grasslands, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park supports more species of animal than many of the better-known parks and deltas in Southern Africa. Whale watching is a popular activity, when from June to November the humpback whales migrate from their summer feeding grounds close to the poles, to warmer water for winter breeding. Other activities include game viewing, lake cruises, walking trails, horseback trails and canoe trips.

whats on in elephant coast

Elephant in my Kitchen

A blonde, chic Parisienne, Françoise never expected to find herself living on a South African game reserve. But when she fell in love with...

Advantage Tours

  Advantage Tours and Charters was the first KZN tour operating company who, in 2010, applied for the FTTSA ( Fair Trade in Tourism South...

Mama Annanas – Hluhluwe Pineapple Products

Come and visit our well established pineapple farm, known as Badenhorst Boedery, for a guided tour of approx 1 hour. Spicy and mild pineapple relish....

did you know?

The Zulu name for hippo is Imvubu which means ‘river horse’. This thick-skinned, hairless and barrel-shaped mammal grazes on water grass in rivers and lakes and on the lush grass on riverbanks and plains, much like the equestrian version. But unlike a horse the hippo is a dangerous animal killing an estimated 500 people per year in Africa.