iSimangaliso Wetland Park

iSimangaliso Wetland Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

St. Lucia: Cape Vidal Snorkeling Adventure

1. St. Lucia: Cape Vidal Snorkeling Adventure

Meet your friendly instructors in Cape Vidal, just an hour drive through iSimangaliso Wetland Park from St. Lucia. The park is a protected area that runs along the coast of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Provice, and is home to an abundance of hippos, crocodiles, penguins, flamingos, elephants, giraffes, and leopards, spanning across the various landscapes. The adventure begins with a safety briefing on the beach and time to get kitted out with all the snorkel gear. Next, head into the water for a 1 to 1.5-hour exploration of Cape Vidal’s underwater world. Follow your instructor as you go in search of marine life, with the opportunity to see stingrays, octopus, butterfly fish, sturgeon fish, and many more. By the end of the trip, you will have spotted around 50 different species of fish. Back on dry land, warm up with a cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate as you page through the fascinating fish ID book to point out what you have seen.

From St Lucia: Cape Vidal Full-Day Snorkeling Safari

2. From St Lucia: Cape Vidal Full-Day Snorkeling Safari

After pickup from your accommodations, your guide will take you on a safari drive in iSimangaliso Wetland Park. You'll have the chance to see many animals in their natural habitat including elephants, hippos, rhinos, hyenas, buffalos, zebras, wildebeest, antelopes, chameleons and if you're lucky, perhaps a leopard. Then head to the beach for 2 hours of snorkeling and discover over 50 different species of fish. If you're not a keen snorkeler, you can enjoy the beach on your own or go for a little birdwatching walk on the forest dunes of Cape Vidal with another guide. Your tour is conducted in a laid-back, yet professional manner and includes breakfast and a delicious African braai (barbeque) lunch.

From St. Lucia: iSimangaliso Sunset Safari

3. From St. Lucia: iSimangaliso Sunset Safari

Get picked up from your hotel in St. Lucia and travel to the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, a huge protected area along the coast of South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province. The park’s centerpiece is the vast Lake St. Lucia, home to a large number of hippos, crocodiles, pelicans, and flamingos. Elephants, giraffes, and leopards inhabit the grasslands and forests of the nearby Western Shores and Charters Creek areas. To the north, Sodwana Bay is known for its colorful coral reefs. Upon arrival, gear up and set off on an exciting three-hour drive through the park's many ecosystems. Keep an eye out for the wide variety of species that call iSimangaliso home. As the sun begins to set, your guide will take you to the perfect spot to appreciate the African sunset. When darkness falls, take on the challenge of spotting chameleons and other nocturnal species, all of which are more active after nightfall. Get dropped off back at your accommodation in St Lucia.

iSimangaliso: Guided Walking Safari

4. iSimangaliso: Guided Walking Safari

After meeting your guide at the St Lucia Crocodile Centre, you'll begin your 2.5-hour tour of the famous iSimangaliso Wetland Park. iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a sprawling collection of stunningly-preserved natural ecosystems that span over 1,200 square miles; the park is centered around the vast Lake St Lucia, where you’ll have the change to see hippos, crocodiles, pelicans, and flamingos. After learning about crocodile breeding, feeding, anatomy, general ecology, and distribution, you’ll head off across trails through the game park with your expert ecologist guide. Take in information about the park’s famous residents, like blue wildebeest, zebra, impala, and waterbuck.  Continuing into the wilderness, become one with nature as you walk through picturesque trails. Common animal sightings include the red and grey duiker, waterbuck, impala, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, reedbuck, chameleon, and on very special occasions, leopard and hyena. Afterwards, you’ll head back to the starting point, having been enriched by the beauty of South Africa’s diverse ecosystems.

St Lucia: iSimangaliso Wetland Park: Full-Day/Half-Day Tour

5. St Lucia: iSimangaliso Wetland Park: Full-Day/Half-Day Tour

Enjoy an open game drive safari in South Africa's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Start with pickup from St Lucia or Durban, and after a brief introduction, enter the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. While on safari, enjoy the spectacular natural beauty of the park as you explore numerous loop roads, outcrops, and lookout points. With knowledgeable and experienced guides, discover an abundance of wildlife species in the park. Search for Africa's Big 5 game animals: lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo. Spot other animals such as waterbuck, impala, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, reedbuck, chameleon, giraffe, and hyena. Enjoy a stop at Cape Vidal, a protected bay and beach area. Take some time for snorkeling or swimming in the waters surrounding this resort destination, and enjoy some lunch on site. See the highest vegetative dunes on the African continent and enjoy plenty of scenic photo opportunities throughout the day.

Durban: Hluhluwe Imfolozi Safari & iSimangaliso Tour

6. Durban: Hluhluwe Imfolozi Safari & iSimangaliso Tour

Previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, iSimangaliso Wetlands Park was declared South Africa's first Natural World Heritage Site (UNESCO), and is considered South Africa's third-largest park with 280 kilometers of near-pristine coastline and 328,000 hectares of magnificent scenery. The protected area is home to one of the largest populations of hippopotami in SA, an estimated 1,000 crocodiles and a wealth of plant, bird and animal life. Animals in the park include lions, African elephants, leopards, black and southern white rhino, and buffalo. In the ocean, there are whales, dolphins, and marine turtles, including the leatherback and loggerhead turtle. After the boat tour, travel to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. Your experienced guide will show you around the park in a closed vehicle in search of the diverse wildlife and Africa's Big 5, which include the lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo, and rhinoceros. The reserve is set in the heart of Zululand, where these amazing animals roam the flourishing savannah. Established in 1895, this is the oldest park in South Africa and is 98,000 hectares in size. The Park contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora and is characterized by hilly topography. The list of animals at the park is long and varied. Hluhluwe, the northern section of the park, is noted for its wide variety of both bird and animal life. Imfolozi Game Reserve is situated in the southern section of the park. Today, the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park is world-renowned for its white rhino conservation efforts and its Centenary Capture Center which is setting improved standards for game capture and sustainable utilization in Africa. Your guide will stop at Hilltop Camp restaurant giving you time to refuel and relax. The restaurant is situated at the top of the hill and gives visitors the chance to enjoy the scenery of the camp and surrounding areas. Afterwards, you will continue with your safari before leaving the park for Durban.

From Durban: St. Lucia Wetlands Boat Ride

7. From Durban: St. Lucia Wetlands Boat Ride

The tour departs from Durban heading northward along the coast to northern KwaZulu-Natal. The first stop is the town of St Lucia and the estuary inside the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. There you will board a river boat for a 2 hours guided tour of the estuary. The local guide will inform you of the reserves history and its incredible wildlife. Previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, iSimangaliso Wetlands Park was declared South Africa's first Natural World Heritage Site and is considered South Africa's third largest park with 280km of near pristine coastline and 328 000 hectares of magnificent scenery. The protected area is home to one of the largest population of hippopotami in SA, an estimated 1000 crocodiles as well as a wealth of plant, bird and animal life. The park was proclaimed a world heritage site because of the rich biodiversity, unique ecosystems and natural beauty occurring in a relatively small area. Animals occurring on the park include, lion, African elephant, leopard, black and southern white rhino, buffalo and in the ocean, whales, dolphins, and marine turtles including the leatherback and loggerhead turtle.

Kosi Bay: Snorkeling Adventure with Hot Drink

8. Kosi Bay: Snorkeling Adventure with Hot Drink

Let your local guide show you the life that swims through the mouth of Kosi Bay on this snorkeling adventure. Try to spot marine life like emperor angelfish, bluebarred parrotfish, and honeycomb rays. Meet your guide in the Kosi Bay mouth parking area and walk to the briefing area. Listen as your guide provides you with a briefing for the snorkeling trip. Take your high-quality snorkeling gear and get some tips on how to use the gear. Explore the magical underwater world of Kosi bay where guides typically point out over 50 different species of fish like flutemouth fish, blue petes, zigzag sand wrasses, moray eels, and lionfish. Return to the shore where your guide will help you identify all your fish sightings in your fish id booklet. Sip on a hot coffee or tea while filling out your log book.

From Durban: Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve Day Trip

9. From Durban: Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve Day Trip

Begin your private excursion with a 3-hour drive to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve, located in the heart of Zululand. During your visit, be on the lookout for Africa's Big 5 – lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo, and rhinoceros – roaming the flourishing savannah. Established in 1985, Hluhluwe Imfolozi is the oldest game park in South Africa. In addition to the drive in the game reserve, there are several optional extras available (at your own expense). Visit Emtoneni Wild Cat Sanctuary. Take a 2-hour boat cruise in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Drive to Dumazulu Cultural Park, where you relax and watch Zulu dancing, taste Zulu beer, and learn about Zulu culture.

Kosi Bay: Kosi Bay Mouth Kayak Tour

10. Kosi Bay: Kosi Bay Mouth Kayak Tour

Explore Kosi Bay Mouth from the best perspective possible: On a double sea kayak. Glide along the calm estuary's waters, following your expert guide along the way and looking out for the abundant wildlife. Paddle up close to mangrove islands and weave past traditional Thonga fish kraals or traps. Meet your local Thonga guide by the shore. After a safety briefing and some tips on how to streamline your paddling, head out into the water. Paddle across the Kosi Estuary, navigating through traditional Thonga fish kraals. Once on the southern shoreline, head over to see the remarkable mangrove islands with their twisting roots. Listen to your guide as their point out the diversity of mangrove species found in the Kosi Bay system and look out for some of the special bird species who call these islands their home.

Other Sightseeing Options in iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Want to discover all there is to do in iSimangaliso Wetland Park? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 157 reviews

An excellent day out - our guide Spi was great - he shared a lot of information with us and was an excellent host who really took great care of us, and esp our two children. The game viewing was great, the snorkelling very good but certainly it was all made better by an excellent guide, Spi.

I was really lucky to see so many animals thanks to my guide. Several families of elephants arriving in the park. It was Elephant Day! Morning in the savannah and end of the day in the estuary with hippos and crocodiles. Great ! Thanks f.

Nice small group and lots of information about the area and the animals. We were able to get close to the hippos. Recommended!

Heini our guide was so knowledgeable & enthusiastic, which made our trip so enjoyable.

It was a great cruise. Lots to see. Beautiful sunset. Recommendation to go at 3pm.