Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park is the first natural World Heritage Site in South Africa. It was designated by Unesco on 1 December 1999 and is South Africa's third-largest park. It extends from Cape St. Lucia or Mapelane in the south to Kozi Bay in the north. Close to the park are the cities of St. Lucia, Mtubatuba, Hluhluwe, Mkuze, Mbaswana, and Manguzi.
There are the Lake St. Lucia Marine Reserve, the St. Lucia and Maputaland Marine Reserves, the Coastal Forest Reserve, and the Kozi Bay Nature Reserve within the park. The park is 328 000 hectares in size and has 280 kilometers of coastline.
The park includes coral reefs, beaches, coastal forests, salt and freshwater marshes, and areas where rivers flow into the sea and salt and freshwater mix. There are also verdant regions near the coast and arid woodland regions. Due to the protected status of the Wetlands, a large population of hippos and approximately 1,000 crocodiles are able to live there safely.
The Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park was designated a world heritage site because it contains five distinct ecosystems that are home to numerous species of African plants, animals, and birds, and because it is so beautiful and distinctive.
Article Courtesy of www.sahistory.org.za/article/greater-st-lucia-wetland