The Elephant Coast, also known as Maputaland, stretches along the northern east coast of South Africa, from the iMfolozi River to the Mozambique border. With numerous nature reserves boasting an abundance of flora, fauna, birdlife, and marine life, the Elephant Coast is the “Eco-tourism Meccaâ€ of KwaZulu-Natal. Start your nature getaway at this desirable holiday destination by browsing our accommodation below.
Outside of the Kruger Park, the Elephant Coast has the highest number of elephants in South Africa. It boasts numerous reserves and private game parks, including the Tembe Elephant Park, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, and iSimangaliso Wetland Park. But the Elephant Coast is just as popular for its marine attractions. The migration of the Humpback and Southern Right Whales takes place every year between July and December. The coastal waters and bays act as natural nurseries for mating and rearing their young. Ancient sea turtles can also be found nesting along the beaches during the summer months.
Named after the local Zulu chief, Mtubatuba is a small but busy town that makes an ideal overnight stop for travellers. Mtubatuba's accommodation is fully booked every alternate June, when Africa’s largest game auction attracts bidders from around the world.
Alternating as host of the annual Game Auction is Hluhluwe. This tourist-friendly destination is the most convenient base to explore the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve and other parks, including those in the northern regions of St Lucia.
Jozini is a small business centre close to Jozini Dam (previously Pongolapoort Dam) that acts as the main access point for the northern region of the Elephant Coast. Aside from supporting an incredible population of fish, crocodiles, hippos, and birdlife, Jozini Dam irrigates more than 80,000 hectares of agricultural land. Tiger fishing is a highlight at the dam.
Kosi Bay is a favoured destination for holidaymakers who enjoy exploring the natural landscape and viewing the abundant wildlife. Kosi Bay Nature Reserve is popular for angling and features four lakes, a tidal mouth, and a mangrove swamp that attracts a variety of salt and freshwater fish.
Mkuze is a small trade and transport centre named after the Mkuze River that cuts through the Ubombo Mountains before feeding into the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Mkuze offers wonderful views of the jagged Ghost Mountain, a mysterious place believed to be haunted.
Sodwana Bay is a leading holiday destination and one of the top angling and diving spots in the world with around 1,200 species of fish, including the famous coelacanth. Enjoy coastal forests, quiet beaches, 50km of unspoiled reefs, and warm Indian Ocean waters.
St Lucia is a small village on the Lake St Lucia estuary in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park; South Africa’s first World Heritage Site and 3rd largest animal reserve. iSimangaliso contains three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems, Africa’s largest estuarine system, 526 species of birds, and 25,000 year-old coastal dunes.
Find your perfect nature getaway along the Elephant Coast below.