The Elephant Coast on the Mozambique border is one of South Africa’s best eco-tourism destinations. Offering unspoilt nature and stunning landscapes teeming with all sorts of rare wildlife, the Elephant Coast is the place to visit for those seeking a taste of adventure. The area is aptly named after the huge grey mammal because, for centuries, this was where large herds of African elephants once roamed the land. The Elephant Coast stretches from the iSimangaliso Wetland Park to the Lebombo Mountains.
At first glance, it’s not hard to understand why the Elephant Coast is seen as the central hub for eco-tourism in the country. Here, you’ll discover expansive woodlands, coral reefs, sand dunes and pebbled shores. The types of wildlife you may come across include the likes of antelopes, monkeys and an incredible variety of birds, to name just a few.
Most of the attractions here are very much geared towards wildlife spotting, so if this is your thing, you’ll be in your element. During the winter months between November and February, the region becomes a hotspot for turtle watching – especially the leatherback and loggerhead varieties. Turtles return to the exact same place every year to lay their eggs and you’ll have the opportunity of seeing this amazing moment up close. Or, if you hope to make a splash in the ocean, there are plenty of water activities you could take part in, including snorkelling, scuba diving and swimming with dolphins along the reefs of the northern Maputaland coast.
The Tembe Elephant Park is also in close proximity and is open to visitors who have access to a 4×4 vehicle or have joined a guided game drive. Keep your eyes peeled for elephants (of course!), antelopes, black and white rhinos and giraffes. The reserve is also fantastic for birdwatching – you’ll find more than 400 species. In fact, this spot is home to 60% of birds within South Africa.
While you’re there, why not take a boat ride on one the four lakes around the coastline? You’ll get an up-close look at hippos and crocodiles hiding underwater, and you’ll be sure to spot birds swooping overhead.
Plan your trip to the Elephant Coast today.