Maputaland in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa

©  Click to see an enlarged map of Maputaland in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

© Map of Maputaland in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Suni-Ridge Sand Forest Park is located in Maputaland, an ecological paradise on the north east coast of South Africa, and enjoys a greater biodiversity than any other area in the country.

“On the left is the sparkling Mozambique coast with the town of Ponta da Oura and on the right, the start of the most beautiful stretch of KwaZulu Natal coastal landscape. A series of lakes strung out like shimmering beads in necklace.

We had just flown across Tembe Elephant Park with its unique watery wilderness, spotting elephant and rhino at waterholes. And ahead of us is the Mkuzi Game Reserve, the up-market Phinda Reserve and the grandeur of the Lubombo Mountains with Swaziland on the other side.”

Jill Gowans, an environmental reporter for the Sunday Tribune, observed this while flying over the Maputaland region.

Suni-Ridge Sand Forest Park is situated adjacent to False Bay Park, which is the northern basin of the great Lake St. Lucia. This magnificent lake is the nucleus of Maputaland and encompasses five distinctly different ecological zones.

Lake St. Lucia is the largest salt-water body in Africa. Our former South African president, Mr. Nelson Mandela, accredited the area as being one of the most important eco-tourism areas in South Africa, with a wealth of environmental diversity to be found nowhere else in the country. This area is significant worldwide as South Africa’s first World Heritage site.

False Bay was formed about 140 million years ago in the cretaceous area and rich fossil deposits in the area tell the story of the ancient beginnings of the lake system.

© View of False Bay in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

© View of False Bay in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Here the magnificent African lake forms a shimmering bay where the cry of a fish eagle echoes across the emerald green wilderness. Hippos and crocodiles can often be seen sunning themselves on the shoreline beaches, while nearby pelicans and flamingoes wade rythmically in the lapping water. A trip across the lake will take you to the Nibela peninsula, where indigenouse people still live according to their age-old culture.

© Lake shore of False Bay in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

© Lake shore of False Bay in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Water management is an integral part of our daily lives. Rob Cuthbertson is currently the Chairman of the Lake St. Lucia Water Catchment Forum.

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