A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999 (the first in South Africa), iSimangaliso Wetland Park encompasses 820,389 acres (332,000 hectares) of lakes, estuaries, beaches, swamps, coastal dunes and coral reefs extending for some 125 miles (200 kilometers) along the coast of the Indian Ocean.
This wide variety of interlinking ecosystems has yielded incredible biodiversity in the area — the park is home to more than 6,500 plant and animal species, including 521 species of birds, as well as African elephants, humpback whales, loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles, Nile crocodiles and hippos.
The best way to explore the vast wetland park is by boat, which allows visitors to observe the park’s wildlife from relatively close up. Diving, snorkeling, kayaking, camping and horseback riding are also on offer within the park.
Accommodations within the park include self-catering safari tents and cabins, a few up-market catered lodges and nearly a dozen campgrounds.