The Maputaland Reserve is a reserve that includes the Maputaland Marine Reserve and the Maputaland Coastal Forest and, in turn, is part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
It is located between Kosi Bay and Sodwana Bay and it is one of the most pristine areas of the iSimangaliso, here the nature is still preserved at a primitive stage, the deserted and wild beaches are among the most beautiful in South Africa and the entire African continent; while the portion of coastal forest is enchanting, as it is the Sibaya Lake, whose vegetated dunes are covered, in some points, with beautiful strelitzias.
This is one of the less frequented areas of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and, for this reason, better preserved.
The beaches of the Maputaland Reserve at the iSimangaliso Wetland Park
This section of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park has several primitive beaches such as Mabibi, Island Rock, Lala Nek, Rocktail and Black Rock; here you can swim, dive and snorkel, you can also go fishing.
Mabibi is an enchanting place with coastal forests, lakes, that look like jewels set in primitive nature, and beautiful sandy beaches, whose waters are calm and warm and invite you to swim or snorkel.
At Lala Nek there are some sedimentary rocks, of coral origin, that protect the coast from the impetuous waves of the ocean; in this sort of natural pool there are many fishes, and this means that Lala Nek is the perfect place for snorkeling.
The Black Rock beach is located on the coast, near the Kosi Bay lakes system; the name of this beach is due to the presence of a rocky and black formation.
Black Rock is one of the favorite destinations for anglers, especially those who practice surf angling, fly-fishing and fishing with a line.
Diving at the Maputaland Reserve in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park
This marine reserve is considered one of the best places, along with Sodwana Bay, at the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, where one can practice diving to admire a perfectly preserved coral reef; dives can only be carried out by guests of the two lodges located here: the Rocktail Beach Camp and the Thonga Beach Lodge.
The quantity of fish and corals and their beauty has nothing to envy to other much better known places that are found on the Indian Ocean.
During the summer months, from January to March, it is possible to spot female Ragged Tooth Sharks or Sand Sharks or Sand Tiger Sharks that, only in this period, arrive in these waters for gestation, spending most of the time on the sandy bottom; although they are harmless at this time, their enormous size could cause some fear.
Whale watching and turtle watching at the Maputaland Reserve in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park
In the months from June to November it is possible to do whale watchingbecause in these waters one can see the humpback whales and the Southern right whales coming from Antarctica and passing in front of the coasts of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, in their journey to the coasts of Mozambique and Madagascar to give birth to their puppies.
While in the months from October to March at iSimangaliso Wetland Park it is possible to spot the Leatherback turtles and the Loggerhead turtlesthat come to these beaches to lay their eggs; along the coast of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park there are several places where one can watch the spawning and hatching.
The coastal forest of the Maputaland Reserve at the iSimangaliso Wetland Park
This is one of the few virgin coastal forests still found in South Africa, the coastal dunes have made this place difficult to access for some time and this has been its fortune.
This is one of the few tropical forests in South Africa, it manages to survive here thanks to the sub-tropical climate and the warm sea currents, such as the Agulhas Current, of the Indian Ocean, that lap the deserted and pristine beaches.
It is possible to go for walks in the forest, preferably accompanied by someone from the area who can help to discover the native plants and animals that are found here.
The Sibaya Lake in the Maputaland Reserve at the iSimangaliso Wetland Park
The Sibaya Lake is South Africa's largest freshwater lake, it is part of the Maputaland Reserve, within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and it is a paradise for birdwatchers, here you can spot not only aquatic species but also birds that typically live in the forest and birds of prey.
In the lake there are also many hippos and Nile crocodiles; at sunset it is very impressive.
The Maputaland Reserve is accessible only with a 4x4 car.