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Lake Sibaya, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Elephant Coast

Lake Sibaya, iSimangaliso WEtalnd Park, Elephant Coast, KwaZulu-Natal

Lake Sibaya, the largest fresh water lake in South Africa at over 70 sq. km., and is part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu-Natal. It is recognized as a “Wetland of International Importance” and was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. At some stage the lake was open to the sea but it is now closed off completely by high dunes. It is actually a drowned river valley.

The lake is now home to 18 different fresh water fish species as well as the second largest population of hippo and crocodiles in KwaZulu-Natal. It is also a bird watcher’s paradise with over 280 recorded bird species. The eco-system is extremely important for the region supporting up to 20000 water birds in dry seasons when the smaller pans surrounding the lake dry up.

The wetland also supports many of the rural people of this region, who in many cases are totally dependent on the water resource and the surrounding flora and fauna. Good management, careful conservation and controlled use of resources make Lake Sibaya an excellent example of human beings living in harmony with nature. Evidence of the uniqueness of the area is the fact that 2 orchids and the gobi fish were first found in here and are most probably endemic. The vegetation around the lake is typical dense dune forest.

Access to the beach is at Mabibi where accommodation is available at the Thonga Beach Lodge or at the campsite.

More info on the town of Umhlanga More info on the eThekwini area