Don’t be silly this ‘silly’ fes­tive sea­son

Northern Eyethu - - NEWS • IZINDABA - Tam­lyn Jolly

IT’S that time of year again when the ‘ silly sea­son’ comes upon us.

iSi­man­gal­iso Wet­land Park is urg­ing hol­i­day­mak­ers and park visi­tors to follow all rules to en­sure a safe, fun fes­tive sea­son for all.

With 332 000ha of in­ter­link­ing ma­rine and ter­res­trial ecosys­tems, the park is a ma­jor tourist at­trac­tion, bring­ing in hol­i­day­mak­ers from around South Africa and fur­ther afield.

Of the park’s 220km of golden beaches, St Lu­cia, Sod­wana Bay and Kosi Bay are the most pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions for beach-go­ers, while Maphe­lane, Cape Vi­dal, Thonga Beach Lodge, Mabibi camp­site and Rock­tail Beach Camp of­fer a mea­sure of re­lief from the pres­sure of more freely ac­ces­si­ble ar­eas.

This year, visi­tors to St Lu­cia’s Jab­ula Beach will en­joy additional pic­nic ta­bles, while the ever-pop­u­lar Char­ters Creek will re-open, with new ablu­tions and im­proved fa­cili- ties, in time for the Christ­mas break.

There are many en­joy­able ac­tiv­i­ties to choose from through­out the wet­land park for all ages.

These in­clude boat cruises on the St Lu­cia es­tu­ary, tur­tle tours (start­ing this month), horse rid­ing in St Lu­cia and False Bay, snorkelling, scuba div­ing for 10-year-olds and above at Sod­wana Bay, bi­cy­cling, guided kayak tours and fish­ing.

There is also ex­cel­lent game- and bird-view­ing on both St Lu­cia’s east­ern and west­ern shores, as well as in the uMkhuze sec­tion.

As wa­ter re­turns to the False Bay sec­tion of the park, the area is be­gin­ning to reemerge as a tourism des­ti­na­tion, with camp­ing avail­able at the lake’s edge.

An in­ten­sive tree-la­belling ex­er­cise has added great value to the self-guided walks in False Bay.

The re­cent ad­di­tion of ac­tiv­ity li­cences in Kosi Bay has given rise to more ac­tiv­i­ties in the re­gion, which boasts shel­tered beaches, a nat­u­ral aquar­ium, fish­ing and boat cruises.

Kosi Bay also of­fers the best op­por­tu­nity to wit­ness tur­tles nest­ing and lay­ing eggs on the beach.

At uMkhuze Game Re­serve, up­graded fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing the hides and en­trance gates, as well as bet­ter wheel­chair ac­cess and additional ablu­tions, have im­proved vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ences in this Big Five sec­tion of the wet­land park.

uMkhuze will also see re-in­tro­duc­tions of lion and chee­tah in the com­ing weeks.

Park rules to follow:

Jet skis, ski boats and pad­dle skis are per­mit­ted to launch from of­fi­cial pub­lic sites at Maphe­lane, St Lu­cia, Cape Vi­dal and Sod­wana Bay – check daily lim­its and condi- tions of use at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s ma­rine of­fice.

There are no shark nets and beaches are un­pro­tected, so swim­mers must be care­ful to avoid deep swim­ming, rough con­di­tions and fast-mov­ing rip tides.

Al­co­hol is not per­mit­ted in pub­lic ar­eas. Rou­tine checks will be un­der­taken for the safety and en­joy­ment of park visi­tors.

Emer­gen­cies or neg­a­tive in­ci­dents must be im­me­di­ately re­ported to iSi­man­gal­iso’s 24-hour emer­gency line 082 7977944.

The park’s 220km stretch of golden beaches is a big draw­card for sum­mer visi­tors

One of the many ac­tiv­i­ties in iSi­man­gal­iso Wet­land Park is horse rid­ing, in St Lu­cia and False Bay

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