Things to do at iSimangaliso Wetland Park Jarastyle travel

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The iSimangaliso Wetland Park was listed as South Africa’s very first World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. The word ‘iSimangaliso’ means miracle or wonder, and the park stretches over 33 200 hectares.

Things to do at iSimangaliso Wetland Park Jarastyle travel

Image: Peter Kirk Media

This natural wonder in KwaZulu-Natal is home to plenty of animals and has a number of activities in store for travel enthusiasts.

Here are some things to do at iSimangaliso Wetland Park:

Night Safari Drive

A night safari drive operates after dark with a very powerful spotlight. Going on this kind of safari affords you the chance to see nocturnal animals which you otherwise would not spot on a day safari. These drives normally take place around 19:00 or 20:00.

Hippo at iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Hippo at iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Photo: Ryan Larkman of Open Africa

Hippos and leopards are among the species which are more active after dark. If you are fortunate enough, you can even witness them as they hunt and devour their meal. Seeing animals in their natural habitat is exciting, but doing so at night brings added exhilaration. Concerned about your safety? Don’t be. You will be in the capable and caring hands of professional and experienced rangers.

Bird Watching

Things to do at iSimangaliso Wetland Park Jarastyle travel

Fish eagles are common on Lake St Lucia in southern iSimangaliso.

With over 482 species of birds found within the nature reserve, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is one of South Africa’s top bird-watching locations.

Although there are beautiful birds to be seen throughout the year, the best time for bird-watching in the area is from February to April.

Midnight Turtle Tours

Turtle Tours are magical and worthwhile experiences. Once every 15 – 20 years, a loggerhead or leatherback female turtle will leave the security of the water, venturing onto the shores of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park to lay her eggs.

Around October and November each year, those visiting the area can take guided game drives headed to the beach to see these magnificent animals. Indeed, watching these interesting creatures lay their eggs and manoeuver around when out of the water is a sight not to be missed. The turtle viewing season ends around the end of March, only to start at the beginning of November again.

Snorkelling and Scuba-diving

Things to do at iSimangaliso Wetland Park Jarastyle travel

Image: Sourced / Unsplash

The iSimangaliso Wetland area is home to a number of excellent snorkelling and scuba-diving locations.  These include Black Rock, Cape Vidal and Sodwana Bay. Lake Sibiya also offers some exciting scuba-diving and snorkelling exhibitions.

Horse Riding

Things to do at iSimangaliso Wetland Park Jarastyle travel

Picture: Stefanie Poepken / Unsplash

The iSimangaliso area can also be explored on horseback. There are a number of companies which offer horse rides around the Wetland Park. If you will be riding a horse for the very first time, worry not. There are professional lead guides who will make your experience seamless, enjoyable and memorable. So, go ahead and give it a try. Who knows? You might just be lucky enough to spot some game as you gallop through the park.

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