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The Elephant Coast

Up there on the podium with the world’s great ecotourism destinations, and near the top of the scribbled list marked ‘Places I Must See in South Africa’, the Elephant Coast (formerly ‘Maputaland’) is a phenomenal stretch of natural beauty, with a fabulously diverse mix of environments and wildlife.

This large stretch of coastline includes some of the country’s true highlights, including the perennially photogenic iSimangaliso Wetland Park that runs from Lake St Lucia in the south to Kosi Bay in the north. Uncompromisingly untamed, this region, away from the scattered resort towns, offers a glimpse of precolonial Africa. Slightly further inland, the incredible Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is KZN’s answer to Kruger National Park.

The climate becomes steadily hotter as you go north and, thanks to the warm Indian Ocean, summers are steamy and tropical. The humid coastal air causes dense mists on the inland hills, reducing visibility to a few metres.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout The Elephant Coast.