Located on the north-eastern coast of KwaZulu Natal, the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park is one of the jewels of the South African coastline. Stretching from Kozi Bay in the north to Cape St Lucia in the south, the park was the first in South Africa to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Its uniqueness lies in its remarkable diversity, particularly its combination of a subtropical coastline and a classic African game park. Spanning 280 kilometres of coastline, from the Mozambican border in the north to Mapelane south of the St Lucia estuary, the park is made up of around 328,000 hectares of pristine natural ecosystems including swamps, lake systems, beaches, coral reefs, wetlands, woodlands and coastal forests. It includes a 60 kilometre river mouth that creates a huge estuary, Lake St Lucia, running parallel to the coast and separated from the sea by the world’s highest forested sand dunes. The lake is part of the St Lucia estuarine system, the largest estuarine system in Africa. With its wide variety of ecosystems and natural habitats including lakes, lagoons, freshwater swamps and grasslands, St Lucia supports more species of animal than the better-known and much larger Kruger National Park- from the country’s largest population of hippos and crocodiles to giant leatherback turtles, black rhino, leopards, and a vast array of bird and marine life.
The adjacent town of St. Lucia is world renowned as a wild life and fishing destination. The most prominent feature of the town is its laid-back atmosphere and integration with wild life. Development is restricted to below the tree canopy. Hippos, bush buck, red duiker and monkeys roam the streets freely and hundreds of bird species can be observed through out the town.