As environmental awareness grew in the late 1970s, the South African government came under intense pressure to protect the country's natural scenery. By 1983, it had created the National Lake Area around the Wilderness wetlands, 235 mi/380 km east of Cape Town and along the southern coast east of Mossel Bay.
Now a 30-mi/50-km strip of glistening vlei (lake), river and marsh, sandwiched between the Indian Ocean and the Outeniqua Mountains, Wilderness National Park is a diverse collection of habitats from hardwood rain forests to the reeds and rushes of lagoons and the scrub grasses of dune barriers.
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