Don’t be silly this ‘silly’ festive season
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