The iSimangaliso Wetland Park has been a protector of Africa’s diverse marine life since 2009 and stretches along the east coast of Kwazulu-Natal from Maputo Bay on the Mozambique border to Cape St Lucia. This stretch of coastline with its pristine beaches falls within one of the world’s most important marine reserves. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is renowned for its rich biodiversity, unique ecosystems and natural beauty, occurring across a relatively small area. Due to the diversity of species found along the coast and in the wetlands, one of the most popular recreational activities within the park is fishing. The high activity of fishing in this reserve has posed a major threat to the population of some species found in the area. This is a challenge which the park faces with the ever increasing popularity of the area, due to its natural beauty and unique attractions and its declaration as a World Heritage Site.

The Maputaland and St Lucia Marine Reserves are linked to each other to form a continuous protected area stretching 150 km from the Mozambique border southwards to Cape Vidal and 3 nautical miles out to sea.

They are component areas of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park which has the recognition of being a globally important conservation site, and because of this it has been designated a World Heritage Site and the two marine reserves together are recognised as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
These reserves are well known for their vast sandy beaches, clear water and the most southern coral reefs off the coast of Africa.

The area is a nesting site for loggerhead and leatherback turtles.

Managed by:
Isimangaliso Wetland Park Authority

MPA established date:

Length of coastline protected:
145 km

Area of ocean protected:
443 km²


  • To contribute to a national and global representative system of marine protected areas, by providing protection for sites of special sensitivity and sites that are critically endangered; and by providing a large contiguous conservation area which links inshore marine habitats with those further offshore;
  • To contribute to sustainable marine and coastal ecotourism through the zonation for activities which yield socio-economic benefits on the local and national scales;
  • To facilitate fisheries management by protecting spawning stock, allowing stock recovery, and enhancing stock abundance in adjacent areas, in particular, for reef fish and large pelagic fish;
  • For the protection of fauna and flora or a particular species of fauna or flora and the physical features on which they depend, including the canyons which constitute known and potential Coelacanth habitat, vulnerable benthic habitats, including cold water corals and areas which are important migratory corridors for humpback whales and whale sharks and breeding and foraging areas for several turtle species; and

To provide reference sites for research, including areas in good ecological condition and areas which may show most clearly the impacts of climate change.

Managed by:
Isimangaliso Wetland Park Authority

Contact details for MPA office:
Contact person: Mr Andrew Zaloumis
Phone: 035 590 1633 /082 788 3000
Email: apza@worldonline.co.za