The Area

The KwaZulu-Natal North Coast is one of the most naturally diverse and beautiful places in South Africa. Why not make the most of your trip by visiting some of its attractions along the way? Read more about things to do and see en route to Kosi Forest Lodge.


Kosi Forest Lodge is situated within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a tropical paradise of crystal clear water, marshland, swamp and coastal forests that is home to an abundance of flora and fauna. When surrounded by the unspoilt bounty of the Kosi Bay area, you can’t help but feel a closer connection to nature, your loved ones, and even yourself.


“iSimangaliso must be the only place on the globe where the oldest land mammal (the rhinoceros) and the world’s biggest terrestrial mammal (the elephant) share an ecosystem with the world’s oldest fish (the coelacanth) and the world’s biggest marine mammal (the whale).” - Nelson Mandela

Established in November 2000, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is one of the greatest environmental treasures in the world. This important protected area was established when sixteen pieces of land covering 332 000 hectares were consolidated into a single protected area (previously known as the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park). The area stretches from Kosi Bay in the north (bordering Mozambique) to Maphelane, south of St Lucia. From north to south, iSimangaliso stretches for 190km and comprises one-third of KwaZulu-Natal’s expansive coastline. iSimangaliso means “place of miracles” in Zulu. In 1999, iSimangaliso was recognised as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site. With its beauty and biological wealth, this is a well-deserved accolade.

Some of South Africa’s very first plants and animals can still be found in iSimangaliso as they were in ancient times. Apart from many mammals and reptiles, the area is home to 2505 types of plants, over 1000 species of fish and over 500 bird species; many of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world. No other place on earth has such a wide range of wetland types in a single protected area.


The Kosi lake system has long been regarded as the best-preserved large estuary system on South Africa’s Indian Ocean coastline. The system consists of four large lakes and a series of meandering, interconnecting channels with fringing wetlands that eventually drain via a sandy estuary into the Indian Ocean. The lakes are separated from the ocean by a strip of forested sand dunes. The Kosi lake system is characterised by grassland, interspersed with lakes, pans, streams, marshes and swamps.

The 11 000ha of Kosi Bay Nature Reserve is a wonderland of clear blue sea, wetlands and lakes. It is home to the rare Raphia palm and its concomitant palm-nut vulture, wild date palms, mangrove swamps and sycamore fig forests. The area is of considerable botanical importance, with several red data species found here. The swamp forests found in this area are the largest in the country and the giant Raphia palm is at its natural southern limit here. This is also the only area in South Africa where five species of mangrove are found, two of which (luminitzera racemosa and ceriops tagal) are at the southernmost limit of their distribution.

The Kosi Bay area is one of the most fascinating and beautiful pristine lake systems on the African coast, and we are proud and privileged to be able to enjoy a piece of it at Kosi Forest Lodge.