KwaZulu Natals iSimgangaliso Wetland Park has been called a small Eden and its not hard to see why. Beach and bush lay side by side and you can find both turtle tracks and leopard spoor on the magnificent shoreline.
There’s no other place in the world with a comparable ecological footprint. Within the park which covers 332 000 hectares you can find no less than eight interlinking ecosytems, 25 000 year old coastal dunes, more than 2000 plant species, 100 types of butterfly, five turtle species, the top frog count in the country and 526 bird species. Wild dog, buffalo, oribi, cheetah, black and white rhino, lions and some of the largest Tusker elephants in South Africa can all be found in South Africa’s first World Heritage Site.
When elephants were reintroduced to the park in 2001, Nelson Mandela made a speech and aptly said:
‘The Wetland Park must be the only place on the globe where the world’s oldest mammal (the rhinoceros) and the world’s biggest mammal (the elephant) share an eco-system with the world’s oldest fish (the coelacanth) and the world’s biggest marine mammal (the whale).’
It really is an amazing place and visitors can scuba dive in the Indian Ocean on Sodwana Bay’s pristine coral reefs and enjoy an afternoons game viewing all in one day.