East Coast, Maputuland-Elephant Coast

East Coast, Maputuland-Elephant Coast

Things to do - general

East Coast, Maputuland-Elephant Coast of KwaZulu-Natal borders Mozambique in the north, Swaziland and the Lubombo Mountains in the north west, the Indian Ocean to the east and ends roughly at the mouth of the Imfolozi River near St Lucia village in the south.

The Elephant Coast  lies in the greater region of  Zululand and  extends from Lake St Lucia all the way to Kosi Bay near the Mozambique border, and inland to the Lubombo Mountains.

The region is a paradise of natural wonders with an incredible 21 different ecosystems. In fact, there are few areas in Africa with such an incredible diversity of fresh water ecosystems.

a Large portion of the Elephant Coast was declared a World Heritage Site, and named iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Broadly translated from the Zulu language, iSimangilso means ‘something miraculous’.

The Maputaland and St Lucia Marine Reserves are linked to each other to form a continuous protected area stretching 150 km from the Mozambique border southwards to Cape Vidal and 3 nautical miles out to sea.

These reserves are well known for their extensive golden beaches, clear water and the most southern coral reefs off the coast of Africa.

The area is a nesting site for loggerhead and leatherback turtles.

A spectacular feature of the reserves is their backdrop of tall, forest-clad coastal dunes.

Public access to the reserves is via the resorts of Sodwana Bay and Cape Vidal. These are registered ski-boat launching sites. Visitor use in the area includes scuba diving on the coral reefs, and fishing for bill-fish and other pelagic game fish. Shore angling is popular and the beaches and rock pools are used by holiday-makers relaxing in the sun and warm water. Some core areas are designated as sanctuaries where access is limited and no extraction of fish or other marine life is permitted.

The popular Two-mile Reef off  Sodwana is visited by thousands of divers each year. This reef is 12 to 25 metres deep and here the divers experience the profusion of colours, shapes and textures of the coral ecosystem.

Diving is offered by several private dive companies who have the concession to operate within the protected area.

If you enjoy holidays where nature features strongly, you’ll love the Elephant Coast.

Scuba diving and snorkeling, game viewing, hiking, kayaking, or enjoying the site of whales playing in the warm waves and turtles laying eggs along the endless golden beaches – all these experiences and more await the visitor to this remarkable region.

Coastal forests with ferns, fig trees and giant orchards, mangrove swamps, sand dunes, coral reefs, woodlands, grasslands and wetlands – the Elephant coast is a unique blend of an astounding 21 Eco-systems. It receives high summer rainfall and has a humid, tropical climate.

Visiting the Elephant Coast awakens the child in you again as you are constantly amazed by all the hidden treasures  you see and experience.

Elephant Coast Highlights

Cape Vidal – Wonderful beaches for deep-sea fishing and whale watching.

The Hluluwe ( Hilltop) and Imfolozi ( Mphila ) Game Reserves  The oldest game park in Africa.

See the Big 5 here.

Sodwana Bay Nature Reserve has  Outstanding scuba diving and snorkeling multi-coloured coral reefs

Tembe Elephant Park – You can’t come to the Elephant Coast and not go on an elephant safari!

This region is renowned for having the largest herd of indigenous African elephants in South Africa.


Country South Africa
Languages spokenEnglish, Afrikaans,Zulu,Khoza
Currency usedZAR South African Rand

Sports & nature

Scuba diving, fishing, whale watching, turtle tours, snorkling, nature reserves

Sports and nature image

Nightlife info

Turtle tours are conducted at night between October and March each year.

Watch turtles nesting and nestlings hatching and contribute in a wonderful way to conserving the beaches and a natural heritage site in an awesome way.

Nightlife image

Culture and history info

This area is seeped in history and the culture varies from Zulu tribal communities to the Thonga fishing communities in the north.   One of the most interesting tales is of the history of trade exchange and perhaps the origin of money in the form of shells found in the pristine estuaries of this region.

Cape Vidal - Greater St Lucia Wetland Park

Cape Vidal - Greater St Lucia Wetland Park

KwaZulu-Natal South Africa, East Coast, Maputuland-Elephant Coast
Cape Vidal is a magnificent coastal resort set in a sheltered coastal bay in the Greater St Lucia We More info
Sodwana Bay - KZN Wildlife

Sodwana Bay - KZN Wildlife

East Coast, Maputuland-Elephant Coast
Sodwana Bay – KZN Wildlife,  renowned for its sport fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling, Sodw More info