Did you know?iSimangaliso Wetland Park was South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, proclaimed in 1999.
Imagine secluded tented chalets set high on a hill in a thick coastal forest, golden beaches so secluded that you may well not see another soul, a brilliant blue ocean teeming with marine life. Then think Rocktail Beach Camp, where imagination becomes reality.
Rocktail Beach Camp is cushioned in a thick coastal forest just behind the ancient sand dunes of the Maputaland Coastal Forest in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
You’ll stay in one of 17 tented chalets built on wooden platforms that look out over the forest to the Indian Ocean beyond.
But although you’ll enjoy your airy accommodation, the birdsong and monkey chatter that wakes you in the morning, the great food and friendly staff, you’re really here for the beaches, warm ocean and superb diving, snorkelling and swimming opportunities deep in the heart of one of South Africa’s most beautiful and unspoiled World Heritage Sites – iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
There’s so much to do when you get here. Even if you’re not the ultimate water baby, you won’t be able to resist snorkelling at Lala Nek. If you’re a beginner, then now’s your chance to learn from the friendly and helpful staff. Put on your mask and flippers, waddle into the sea from the beach, and then welcome to a watery wonderland of brilliantly coloured fish, coral and other marine life. Your guide will point out the different varieties on his waterproof pages as he swims with you.
Experienced divers already know that Rocktail Bay is is one of the world’s great spots for scuba diving. It’s legendary not only for its reefs and teeming marine life (expect anything and everything from whale sharks and sting rays to dolphins and moray eels), but also because on most dives you may well be alone or with very few other divers.
Rocktail Bay is also famous for the nesting sites of Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles. To watch these amazing sea giants nest and lay their eggs, or to see the hatchlings emerge weeks later, will be among the most memorable experiences of your life.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)11 807 1800
How to get here
Consult the camp if you have no vehicle: they will organise transfers from the relevant airport. Otherwise, you leave your vehicle at Coastal Cashews Farm that is on the dirt road from Mabibi and you’ll be transferred to the lodge.
Best time to visit
Any time of year is good, but if you want to see the turtles, then November to March is the season.
Around the area
Lake Sibaya, Black Rock, Tembe Elephant Park, Kosi Bay.
Tours to do
A guided tour of the nearby Tembe Elephant Park.
What will it cost
Rates vary according to season so consult the Wilderness Safaris website.
What to pack
All the usual beach gear plus sunscreen, hats and lots of insect repellant.
Where to stay
In one of 17 simple, airy forest chalets. If you want a sea view, ask for a unit as high up as possible. If you want to be nearer the camp and pool, go for units 1 to 5. There are also family units and a honeymoon suite.
Most of the camp’s activities are included in your package, so don’t miss snorkelling, a forest walk, and a trip to Lake Sibaya for the hippos and crocodiles.