wildlife of Kosi Bay

“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” - Charles Darwin

About the Kosi Lakes

Kosi Forest Lodge has the privilege of being surrounded by the Kosi lake system, a unique ecosystem that is home to a spectacular variety of birds and animals. This tropical paradise boasts crystal clear waters, marshland, lakes, swamp and coastal forests, and all are populated with fascinating creatures great and small.

Hippos & Crocodiles

iSimangaliso Wetland Park is home to more than 800 hippos and 1000 Nile crocodiles. Within the Kosi lake system, the hippo is the most dominant mammal, numbering around 60. When you stay at Kosi Forest Lodge, you’re almost guaranteed to see the pod of 18 resident hippos that live in Lake Shengeza. The lodge’s swimming pool overlooks the lake, so you can while away the afternoon watching the resident pod of hippos safely below. At sunset, the hefty hippos can be seen ambling out of the water onto the shore in search of food.

Birdlife in the area

The Kosi Bay Nature Reserve is the ultimate birder’s paradise, where you can spot a vast array of grassland, freshwater, sea and forest birds in one trip. From the back of a high safari vehicle or the low vantage point of a canoe gliding through clear waters, you are able to get up close to some of the most beautiful birds this continent has to offer. Best of all, you don’t even need to leave your room to do so.

There are a number of rare bird species in the Kosi system, many of which are at the most southerly limits of their distribution and are not encountered elsewhere in South Africa. The Raphia forests are home to the palm nut vulture, a red data species and the only fruit-eating vulture in the world.


Kosi Forest Lodge is home to a wide array of butterfly species that will greet you with their kaleidoscope colours. One particular species of butterfly, a skipper (parnara micans) is regarded as endemic to Kosi Bay, and charaxis protoclea azota is a red data butterfly species that is only found in South Africa at Kosi Bay.


Kosi Bay supports a great variety of fish and other aquatic fauna due to the different physical characteristics of the lakes. There are eight known red data fish species in the area, most of which have their largest known populations in the Kosi system.


Kosi Bay beaches are the traditional breeding ground for loggerhead and leatherback turtles. Between November and February, the turtles make an annual pilgrimage to lay their eggs and hatch their young on the coastline from Kosi Bay in the north to Sodwana Bay in the south. If you visit Kosi Forest Lodge during this time, you’ll have the opportunity to go on a turtle tracking expedition to witness this miracle of nature.

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