The vast UNESCO World Heritage site of iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa, lies 150 mi/250 km from Durban, along the humid stretch of coast running northward from the St. Lucia Estuary to Kosi Bay on the border with Mozambique.
The park comprises eight interlinking ecosystems that house ancient coastal dunes, swamp forests, coral reefs, South Africa's largest freshwater lake and the pristine estuarine system of St. Lucia. It forms the centerpiece of a mosaic of small, provincially managed conservancies known informally as the Zululand Reserves.
St. Lucia itself is best known for its lush, subtropical mood and teeming populations of hippos, crocs and waterbirds. The nearby Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve protects all of the Big Five, including a dense population of the endangered black rhino and the white rhino; other worthwhile goals include Mkhuze Game Reserve (good photography), Ndumo Game Reserve (rated by some as the country's finest bird-watching location) and Zulu cultural lodges such as Shakaland and Simunye.
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