About the Elephant Coast
The Elephant Coast incorporates the best of both land and sea safari experiences with its world-class conservation areas that include the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s first proclaimed World Heritage Site, and Africa’s oldest game reserve, the Hluhluwe uMfolozi Park. Natural and cultural diversity abound in this narrow strip of land, approximately 200 kilometers long and just 70 kilometers wide, and home to an incredible 21 different ecosystems. This must be one of South Africa’s most beautiful and unspoilt areas - from the dense evergreen forests of towering fi g trees; lush ferns and wild orchids; wild date and lala palms dotting the landscape; swamp forests with tangled masses of greenery; mountainous sand dunes, thick coastal forest and pristine beaches to the wonders of African bush with its thorn trees and abundance of wildlife.
Stretching from the uMfolozi River in the south to the Mozambique border in the north, this region is easily accessible from Durban. The tourism facilitiesin the Elephant Coast region are ideal for incentives and small corporate, association and government related meetings. There are dozens of game reserves, beautiful beaches, deep sea fishing and diving on a number of reefs, mountain trails, cultural activities and a number of historical sites. This is one of the few destinations where a visitor can see the ‘Big Five’ before breakfast, watch dolphins and whales before lunch, explore the depths of the ocean in the afternoon and go turtle tracking after dinner.
Not only is the Hluhluwe uMfolozi Park credited with saving the once endangered white rhino, but it is also home to many species of antelope as well as large populations of elephant, buffalo and giraffe and predators such as the lion, cheetah and the elusive leopard and offers a range of accommodation, such as the Nselweni Bush Camp overlooking the Black uMfolozi River. The Phinda Private Game Reserve is well known for its abundant wildlife, diversity of habitats and wide range of activities and enjoys a variety of landscape and vegetation which is home not only to the Big Five, but to many rarer and less obvious species, such as the elusive cheetah and black rhino. With only a handful of lodges sharing an area of 23 000 hectares and careful trained rangers and trackers guests are assured an exclusive game viewing experience.
The Elephant Coast is an eco-tourist paradise and reflects the essence of untamed Africa. Kosi Bay Nature Reserve is an unspoiled nature reserve surrounding the rare and beautiful Kosi Bay lake system and is a tropical paradise of crystal clear water, marshland, swamp and coastal forests that is home to about 250 species of bird. Kayaking amongst the resident hippos and crocodiles is a popular adventure activity. The pristine beaches in the region are the nesting ground of sea turtles that come to shore from October and December to lay their eggs - hatching occurs between December and March. This is a memorable sight and one that is closely monitored by resident researchers. Opportunities abound in this region for incentive visitors to get ‘up close and personal’ with Africa’s wildlife in a meaningful way by partnering with researchers in conservation efforts.These include turtle, rhino, leopard and even whaleshark tracking with the purpose of attaching tags or collars for research purposes.
The Elephant Lake Hotel is located on the shores of the St Lucia Estuary in the town of St Lucia, surrounded Isimangaliso Wetland Park. With its lakes, lagoons, freshwater swamps and grasslands, St. Lucia supports more species of animal than the better known parks and deltas in Southern Africa. This venue offers medium sized conferencing facilities and with its proximity to both the lake and the Indian Ocean, a variety of team building activities are available. Whale watching, lake cruises, walking trails, horseback safaris or canoe trips are all options that are available.
A number of community initiatives, including homestay accommodation, game reserves, locally trained guides, and the making and selling of crafts enabling the local people to participate in the natural wealth of the Elephant Coast thereby enriching visitors experiences of the cultural history and life of the area.