SOUTH AFRICA - THE GREATER ST LUCIA WETLAND PARK
In depth guide to the seasons, animals, birds and wildlife habitats of Greater St Lucia Wetland Park in South Africa

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Saddle-bill stork. Pic: David Anderson.
The World Heritage proclaimed wetlands of the subtropical Greater St. Lucia Park, are essential to the health of the local environment and contain a greater bio-diversity than Kruger National Park or Botswana's Okavango Delta.

The park includes a complex eco-system with outstanding landscapes. The five inter-linked ecosystems in the park are: a marine system characterised by the warm Indian Ocean, containing the southernmost coral reefs in Africa, as well as sub-marine canyons and long sandy beaches; a coastal dune system consisting of high linear dunes and sub-tropical forests, grassy plains and wetlands; lake systems including two estuary-linked lakes of St Lucia and Kosi, plus the four large freshwater lakes of Sibaya, Ngobezeleni, Bhangazi north and Bhangazi south; the Mkhuze and Umfolozi swamps, with swamp forests and extensive reeds and papyrus marshes; an inland system which includes ancient shoreline terraces and dry savannah woodlands.

ANIMALS & BIRDS

As this is such an extensive area with a considerable number of different habitats that animals of all sorts may be seen including hippos and crocodiles in good numbers particularly on the St Lucia estuary.

A substantial game reintroduction program is in progress bringing in black rhino, buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, nyala and other antelopes.

There are a number of endemic fish species in the lakes and the Indian Ocean is a water wonderland with whales and dolphins, turtles and colourful tropical fish on the coral reefs

The Greater St Lucia area is renowned for its prolific birdlife including flamingoes, pelicans, herons, ducks, geese, storks and numerous resident and migrant birds.


SEASONS

Rainy Season: In this sub-tropical area the climate gets hot and humid in the rainy summer months of October to March and you may witness some extravagant thunderstorms.
Dry Season: The dry season lasts over winter from April to September and the temperatures are very pleasant with warm days and cool nights.

Fish Eagle.  Pic: David Anderson

GREATER ST LUCIA SPECIALITIES
· Astounding scenery
· Prolific birdlife
· Hippos and crocs on the estuary
· Coral reefs
· Turtles laying their eggs on the beaches
· Wetlands
· Black rhino
· Variety of lodge accommodation

FACTS
This is a malarial area
KZN Wildlife administers this and all the other parks in the province which are accessible to the public on payment of entry fees.

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