The unspoilt Lake Sibaya
Lake Sibaya is situated within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site in the sun capital of South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal. It's South Africa’s largest natural freshwater lake, covering 77km² and with a maximum depth of 40m. The lake is set against forested coastal dunes and is home to the country’s 2nd-largest population of hippo and crocodiles.
During seasons of low rainfall, smaller pans in the area dry up, leaving the lake as the only permanent water in the area, and visitors can witness flocks of waterfowl gathering here.
The lake is within a protected area and there’s limited access, so the experience, with its long stretches of white, sandy beaches, is exclusive and special. While swimming in or using your own boat on the lake is not permitted due to the presence of the crocs and hippos (there is an operator who does boat tours), nearby coastal resorts, such as Thonga Beach Lodge, Rocktail Beach Camp and Sodwana Bay, offer day trips to the area, as well as scuba-diving, snorkelling and swimming in the ocean off the pristine coast. Visitors can explore the area accompanied by a guide, or do it solo.
iSimangaliso is 1 of the few places in South Africa where you can see a leatherback turtle laying eggs. During the summer months (November to February) turtles make their way to the reserve between St Lucia and the Mozambique border, making nests, leaving their eggs, and then returning to the sea. It truly is a remarkable thing to see.
Visitors can also take guided walks in the Community Conservation Area, in the forest and along the lake edge, where they can spot small game such as zebra, nyala, reedbuck and impala, as well as the abundant birdlife. Those intrigued by natural remedies in plants can find out about the medicinal uses of the trees and plants in the area.