Kosi Bay and Sodwana Bay are the pearls of the Elephant Coast in South Africa
The world famous Kosi Bay Sodwana Bay area is established as a nature reserve in 1950. Renewed in 1984 Kosi Bay Nature Reserve is one of the most appealing lake system on the complete Southern African coast.
Kosi MouthSouth Africa
The reserve consists of four inner lakes: Makhawulani, Mpungwini, KuNhlange and the Amanzamnyama lake. Who are all connected via channels of groundwater which works as a kind of drainage pipe system. And goes towards the Indian Ocean, creating a rich fish stock and unique vegetation. .
The 11,000 large kosi bay Nature Reserve is a tropical paradise with crystal clear blue water with its shores and inland overgrown with Raffia, Wild dates, Palm trees, swamp mangroves and a Sycamore fig forest that provides a habitat for more than 250 species of birds including the Vis Arend and the Kingfisher.
The wetland area is the domain of Hippos and crocodiles. Even still today humbback whales are being seen regularly on the beaches of kosi bay. They go on their journey from the Cold Waters of the South to the warmer waters around Mozambique. Where they will calve before starting their return journey.
The area is also the breeding ground of the large sea turtles. Including the Loggerhead and the Leatherback of 400 kilos in weight and 120 cm long. Which lays its eggs on the shores of the Elephant Coast.
Elephant CoastSouth Africa
About 20 km from the reserve is Kosi Mouth where you can find the traditional Thonga fishing nets. The building and management of the wooden nets have been passed down from generation to generation and are still used here today on a daily basis. And still is a source of income for many Thonga families in this region of South Africa.
Sodwana BaySouth Africa
Centuries ago the Nguni tribes migrated south along the Mozambique coast to the eastern shores of Lake St Lucia. During this migration, they made intensive use of the water resources along the coast by harvesting oysters and mussels from the sea. In 1822 the Royal British Navy sent ships to this area to survey the coastline, however many of the British soldiers lost their lives here and died of Malaria. Many points along the coast are being named after the officers who lost their lives in this area. Such as Jesser, Liefeldts, Gobey and Hully.
Due to the inaccessibility of this area, it remained unknown to the Europeans for a very long time. Before 1945 it was virtually unknown and a completely undiscovered area. Nowadays several safari companies offer boat trips. However luckily and unfortunately this is is only allowed at a very low level.
Sodwana BaySouth Africa
Nature should not be disturbed here at all. In the early 1950s the Natal Parks organization took some interest in the area. Sodwana bay is declared a protected area and protected nature reserve.
The only buildings at the time were a grass-covered hut and a toilet. While in the 1960s some visitor facilities were built by the Ezemvele KZN Wildlife organization (the Natal Parks Organization)
Interestingly, given the history of Sodwana Bay, in the mangrove swamp system upstream many years ago the trees were 18 meters and higher.
Unfortunately, the swamp suffered from the construction of a poorly designed bridge. Which prevented tidings from reaching these trees further up the swamp. The water upstream became more muddy and the mangrove forest with the tall trees slowly started to die out. Back than in 1977 this bridge was replaced to give the mangroves the chance to restore their original shape.
Sodwana Nay MangrovesSouth Africa
Gradually the mangrove forest is recovering from this near ecological disaster.
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