Tailor Made Safaris love the Elephant Coast, hence we specialise in organising holidays to this stunning bush and beach destination! The main feature of this region is undoubtedly the famous iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and in this blog post we share our best tips to make the most of this ‘place of wonder’!
When you think iSimangaliso Wetland Park, think endless sub-tropical coastline, tall dunes with coastal forests, and behind that, endless savanna and wetland ecosystems, including South Africa’s largest natural lake!
Our first detailed look at the phenomenal iSimangaliso Wetland Park takes us to the Eastern Shores section, located just above the famous town of St. Lucia in the south of the park.
Why would you want to visit this section? Well it has repeatedly been listed as South Africa’s premier beach and bush destination! Early mornings are best to spot birds, most notably the many raptors inhabiting the coastal wetlands. Make sure you do the ‘pan loop’ and ‘vlei loop’, as both take you past some wetland areas which are great for birding!
iSimangaliso also has world class facilities catering for avid birdwatchers, including some state of the art birding hides to give you a great vantage point from which to observe the beautiful avian population that inhabits the area.
On top of some impressive birdlife, the Eastern Shores are famous for its larger game. iSimangaliso arguably has South Africa’s most impressive kudu and waterbuck, and of course plenty of reedbuck that call the wetlands their home.
After spending time appreciating the wildlife inland, you can head to a viewpoint in the dunes, or at Mission Rocks, a lovely spot with plenty of interesting rock pools full of marine life!
From the bush to the ocean, travel to Cape Vidal, and enjoy the sandy beach. This area offers some great snorkelling, and it is the perfect stop off to go for a surf, or to work on your tan!
A trip to iSimangaliso is not complete without an afternoon game drive through the ‘Dune loop’ – we have frequently seen leopard there! We recommend finishing off with a sun-downer drink on the shores of Catalina Bay before returning back to St. Lucia. Catalina Bay offers a nice viewing deck, overlooking a bay of Lake St. Lucia, and on clear days one can see the hills of the famous Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in the background. Often we find hippo and crocodile on the shores here.
Although the Eastern Shores offer excellent roads and signposting, making it easy to drive your self, there certainly are many benefits to booking a guided tour to the park. The passionate guides in St. Lucia know the Eastern Shores like the back of their hand, can share lots of interesting information about the area’s ecology, history and the animals. They also know the best places to find certain animals, but best of all, they prepare you fantastic lunches at the most beautiful spots!