iSimangaliso Wetland Park – South Africa’s newest Big Five destination
Yesterday I happened to be in the right place at the right time. The place was uMkhuze, a section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in northern KwaZulu-Natal. The time was the release of four lion that had been relocated from Tembe Elephant Park. Now witnessing animals take their first steps in a new home is always exciting. But this wasn’t any old release; it was the moment when the park, South Africa’s first World Heritage Site, achieved Big Five destination status - an enormous step towards realising its vision of creating one open ecological area that allows re-introduced game species to follow the historic migratory paths from the Lebombo mountains in uMkhuze to the sea.
It was a poignant moment, all the more so for being unexpected. To be honest, despite being a keen scuba diver who makes almost an annual pilgrimage to Sodwana Bay, before my recent visit I knew little about the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Other than Sodwana, Cape Vidal, St Lucia and Kosi Bay I couldn’t even name any of the other sections that comprise the park’s ten jewels. Can you?! Best you check out South Africa’s newest Big Five Destination at www.iSimangaliso.com
– Fiona McIntosh