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Maphelane, Nature Reserve, St Lucia, Elephant Coast

Maphelane Nature Reserve, St Lucia, Elephant Coast, KwaZulu-Natal

Picture courtesy

Maphelane Nature Reserve is situated near the small village of St Lucia on the southern bank of the Mfolozi River mouth in the south of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park on the Elephant Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. The reserve is a popular base for nature lovers and is one of the best fishing spots in the area.

There are two self-guided trails where you can climb the highest dune in the iSimangaliso Park at 183 m and the other tracks the banks of the estuary. The views over the sea and the estuary from the dunes definitely make the climb worthwhile. Beware of crocodiles and hippos on the banks of the river.

The reserve is also a bird watchers paradise with over 200 recorded species. Other animals you are likely to see are small buck, monkeys, mongoose and red squirrel. You can also hunt for mussels, crayfish and oysters in the tidal pools.

The Maphelane Camp has 40 campsites and a number of log cabins with 5 beds each overlooking the sea. Day beach driving permits are available but limited to three per day at R250 each. Refreshments and books are available at the reception office.

Gate opening and closing times:

April to September – 06h00 to 18h00. October to March – 06h00 to 19h00

Reception hours: 08h00 to 12h30 and 14h00 to 16h30 (Mon – Sat), 07h00 to 15h00 (Sun)

Entry fee: Adults R25, Children (under the age of 12) R15

Community Levy: R5 per person

Camp tel: +27 35 590 1407

iSimangaliso 24 Hour emergency hotline: +27 82 797 7944

See Fishing on the North Coast

More info on the town of St Lucia More info on the Elephant Coast area