North-east Zululand – iSimangaliso Eastern Shores
About the Birding
The Eastern Shores of Lake St. Lucia are broadly divided into the following key areas.
The St Lucia Village and Estuary provide accessible areas of coastal forest, which are best explored along the iGwala Gwala trail that leads through an area of pristine forest along the banks of the estuary itself. Forest species abound in this area and specials to look for include the Woodward’s Batis (scarce here), Gorgeous Bush-shrike, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, White-eared Barbet, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird, Golden-tailed Woodpecker, Trumpeter Hornbill, Scaly-throated and Lesser Honeyguides, Yellow-breasted Apalis, Common Square-tailed Drongo, Black-bellied Starling, …
About the Birding Site
The iSimangaliso Wetlands Reserve has recently been proclaimed as a World Heritage Site and is one of South Africa’s oldest reserves established in 1895. The lake itself covers an area of around 38 000 hectares and is one of South Africa’s most important waterbird breeding sites. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park includes Mkhuze and Sodwana Bay, though these sites are treated separately. The surrounding habitats are extremely complex and varied including the estuary and its floodplains, numerous pans, dune and sand forests, coastal thickets, mangroves and grassland.
Other Related Information
Access to St Lucia is only via Mtubatuba just off the N2. Follow the R618 for approximately 30km. After crossing the estuary, follow the signs left to Cape Vidal. Just before the Cape Vidal gate, apposite the crocodile farm is a small road to the right, head down here for about 1km for the access road to the Iphiva Trail.