Cape Town to Tanzania 2014

Solo trip for 12 months - Toyota Hiace 4x4 van

Elephant Coast - iSimangalizo Wetland Park

June 3, 2015  —  South Africa 3
St. Lucia - The Elephant Coast - South Africa

This long coastline of 280 kilometres stretches from the border with Mozambique, near Kosi Bay, to the town of St Lucia. All this area is nicknamed the 'Elephant Coast' even though elephants are quite rare. Nowadays, one has to go inland to see those large mammals (for example, in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park or in the Mkhuze Reserve).

This region could have been named the 'Wild Coast' since there are very few villages or development. Beaches, all along the shoreline, are important nesting grounds for the Leatherback and Loggerhead Sea Turtles. Unfortunately, these turtles won't be in the area for another 6 months... no chance to see this fabulous show of nature.

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Eastern Shores

Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa

A nice region, but it's worth paying attention to some potentially dangerous animals; elephants, hippopotami, and crocodiles.

Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
New unknown species.
Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
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Cape Vidal - Eastern Shores

Cape Vidal - Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa

This velvet monkey took advantage that I was distracted away to start foraging in the van. He was quite aggressive and I had some difficulties chasing it away.

Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Cape Vidal - Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Is it a new species?
Cape Vidal - Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Bushbuck.
Cape Vidal - Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Cape Vidal - Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Cape Vidal - Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
An interesting point about this ecosystem is, among others, the plants and even forest that grow on the dunes that form the coast and the inland.
Cape Vidal - Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Under all this vegetation, it is sandy.
Cape Vidal - Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Cape Vidal - Eastern Shores - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
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Sodwana Bay

Sodwana Bay - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Sodwana Bay - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
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Coastal Forest Reserve

Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa

The Coastal Forest Reserve protects a vast forested territory that, as its name suggests, grows on the coastal dune.

Inland, there is a sandy trail that follows the coast where it is permitted to drive. It is not an easy trail, but it's an ecosystem unique and interesting to see.

Sibaya Lake - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa

Near Lake Sibaya, I stumbled upon a nesting site for a species of cormorant(?).

Photographing flying bird is not easy; it necessitates a lot of practice and patience. I only managed a few shots...

Sibaya Lake - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Sibaya Lake - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Sibaya Lake - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Lake Sibaya.
Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
The sandy trail was quite narrow for the van. Even by removing the jerrycans I normally carry on the roof, I had some difficulties to sneak through some area.
Manzengweya Beach - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Manzengweya Beach - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Black Rock - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Lala Nek Beach - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Fishing is strictly controlled.
Lala Nek Beach - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Lala Nek Beach - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Lala Nek Beach - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Lala Nek Beach - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Rocktail Bay - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Dog Point - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Black Rock - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Black Rock - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
This plant has some curious fruits. This cone is the size of an American Football ball.
Rocktail Bay - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Rocktail Bay - Coastal Forest Reserve - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
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Bhanga Nek

Bhanga Nek - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Bhanga Nek - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
A ranger's house can be seen. They are quite active when the turtle nesting season is going on.
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Kosi Bay

Kosi Bay is a region of lakes that eventually flows out to the ocean. One can visit the lake area as well as the mouth where the lakes reach the ocean.

Kosi Bay (Lake Area) - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Kosi Bay camping.
Kosi Bay (Mouth Area) - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Kosi Bay (Mouth Area) - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Local people's lives from traditional fishing (it seems fishing is on a large scale).
Kosi Bay (Mouth Area) - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Kosi Bay lake system.
Kosi Bay (Mouth Area) - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
Kosi Bay (Mouth Area) - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - The Elephant Coast - South Africa
The river mouth. Waves from the ocean are visible in the background. Snorkelling in the area is interesting.