Coast KZN

11 Mar 2021

Multi-billion rand plan to develop iSimangaliso Wetlands Park in the works

Clinton Moodley (Daily News: IOL) Picture: File image: One of the attractions, Lake Sibaya in iSimangaliso Wetland Park offers views of the Indian Ocean.

The iSimangaliso Wetlands Park in KwaZulu-Natal is planning to develop a multi-billion rand project with the help of private investors.

Listed as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in December 1999, the park has received many accolades over the years for its natural beauty and tourism offerings. Speaking to IOL Travel, Executive Manager: Tourism and Business Development Jabulani Ngubane said that iSimangaliso will profile and package tourism development sites for private investors at the park. A special business summit will be held at Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom on August 26, 2021, with potential investors.

If all goes well, the rollout could start as early as April 2022. “We aim to move from government dependency to self-sustainability and to bring tangible benefits to local communities around the park,” he said.

Nibela Lake Lodge at the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. Picture: Supplied.

Among the attractions to be built are hotels, luxury lodges and bush camps. Ngubane said out of 48 sites, 26 sites will be earmarked for investment.

“This is aligned with our Integrated Management Plan. The plan has been developed after many years of research and zoning of the area, which looked at the suitability and product offerings. Some of the sites are operational as we speak. “We’ve also met with the community within the area to communicate our plans and to align the development of government, creation of jobs and joint marketing of the region,” he said.


iSimangaliso is developing Charters Creek, which Ngubane dubbed “state of the art”. The lodge, developed through a grant received by the government, is set to be complete by April next year. He doesn’t divulge any more information about the lodge.

However, he said: “During the summit, we will be looking for an operator to run the state of the art lodge. We are planning to finish building by April next year.”

Plenty to offer

Even with the plans to expand and create a more beneficial tourism experience, iSimangaliso remains a top attraction for KZN travellers. Situated in the northern region of KwaZulu-Natal, there’s plenty to see and do. Among the places to visit are Kosi Bay, False Bay, Lake St Lucia, Cape Vidal, Sodwana Bay and uMkhuze.