BY Nikki Bolton

The 332 000 ha iSimangaliso Wetland Park is the third largest protected area in South Africa and its first UNESCO World Heritage Site, incorporating both terrestrial and marine conservation areas.  iSimangaliso includes 220 kilometres of coastline and beaches; 100 species of coral; 8 inter-linking ecosystems; the only significant major swamp forests left in South Africa; 3 major lake systems including Kosi Bay, Lake St Lucia and Lake Sibaya; all of the Big Five; 105 red data species; 5 species of turtles; the highest number of frog species in southern Africa (35 of which 2 are endemic); 36 species of snakes;  530+ bird species (the greatest avifauna diversity in Africa with 50% of South Africa’s bird species & 25% of Africa’s); 80 species of dragon flies; 110 species of butterflies on the Eastern Shores of St Lucia alone; more than 2000 species of flowering plants; all 5 of South Africa’s surviving mangrove tree species; 25 000-year-old coastal dunes, among the highest in the world; and 700-year-old fish traps.

In the words of former President Nelson Mandela:

“The Wetland Park must be the only place on the globe where the world’s

oldest land mammal (the rhinoceros) and the world’s biggest terrestrial mammal

(the elephant) share an ecosystem with the world’s oldest fish (the coelacanth)

and the world’s biggest marine mammal (the whale).”




“We thank the OLLI expedition team for including us in their expedition route.
As one of the country's largest protected areas including one of its most significant
rhino populations, iSimangaliso supports this great awareness and fundraising initiative
and joins hands with the OLLI team in sharing the message of #JointCustody.”

iSimangaliso Park Operations Director Sizo Sibiya
iSimangaliso includes one of the oldest protected areas in South Africa – the uMkhuze Game Reserve section – historically renowned for its role as a haven for both black and white rhino. These animals have since also been introduced to the Eastern and Western Shores sections of the Park, dramatically increasing their range.

 July 23, 2017
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Diary of the parks
Nikki Bolton

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