iSIMANGALISO WETLAND PARK

Jewel of South Africa’s Coastline

St Lucia is a small town at the heart of
South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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A SHORT HISTORY OF ST LUCIA

1554

St. Lucia was first named as “Rio de la Medaos do Oura” (“River of the Dows of Gold”) by the survivors of the Portuguese ship Saint Benedict.
On 13 December 1575, the day of the feast of Saint Lucy, Manuel Peresterello renamed the mouth area to Santa Lucia.
In 1822, St. Lucia was proclaimed by the British as a township.

1852

In 1852 Robert Briggs Struthers, an ivory hunter and his party sailed into St Lucia Bay. During the next few years, the hunters shot over 1000 hippos in almost every river and lake in the Zulu Kingdom.
Hippos were killed for ivory export, which was used to make false teeth and mathematical instruments. Wild areas were regarded as places to gather fish, forest and game products and were also used for sport hunting.

St Lucia History
St Lucia History

1895

Game numbers were becoming exhausted.
As a result, in 1895 parts of St Lucia was proclaimed as a Game Reserve.

1911

Sugar farming started on the Mfolozi flood plains and in 1932,
the mouth closed which caused flooding in the area.
In response to the flooding, farmers started to canalise the river.

1943

During World War II, the Catalina Flying Boat base was established to combat the enemy U-boat attacks. The base was called “Eastern Shores”, the present day Catalina Bay.
During a severe drought in 2003, a Catalina wreck was discovered. Due to the wreck being used for target practice at the time as well as exposure to elements over the years, not much remains of it today.

1895

Game numbers were becoming exhausted.
As a result, in 1895 parts of St Lucia was proclaimed as a Game Reserve.

1911

Sugar farming started on the Mfolozi flood plains and in 1932,
the mouth closed which caused flooding in the area.
In response to the flooding, farmers started to canalise the river.

1943

During World War II, the Catalina Flying Boat base was established to combat the enemy U-boat attacks. The base was called “Eastern Shores”, the present day Catalina Bay.
During a severe drought in 2003, a Catalina wreck was discovered. Due to the wreck being used for target practice at the time as well as exposure to elements over the years, not much remains of it today.

St Lucia History

1968

In 1968 the state aggressively implemented plantation forestry on the Eastern Shores and Western Shores.
The South African Defense Force established a missile testing facility in the area. During the 1970s and 1980s, missiles were dropped on the land and the lake. The lake was closed to tourism during this time.

1986

Government cutbacks on budgets to several state departments to increase the military budget, led to the transfer of several state forests to Natal Parks Board in 1986 and so the St Lucia System and Turtle Beaches and Coral Reefs of Tongaland were declared as Wetlands of International Importance.

1990

The government assisted Natal Parks Board to establish a major protected area, namely the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park and in 1992. Management of the Eastern Shores was transferred from the Department of Forestry to the Natal Administration.

St Lucia History
St Lucia History

1994

Following the 1994 elections and scraping of Apartheid laws, a new conservation authority was amalgamated in 1997, namely Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

1999

In 1999, the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park became South Africa’s first World Heritage Site to be accepted and listed by UNESCO as iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Phased removal of alien tree plantations were implemented on the Eastern and Western Shores. The recovery resulted in the reappearance of freshwater wetland systems. The rehabilitation process is still ongoing.

1994

Following the 1994 elections and scraping of Apartheid laws, a new conservation authority was amalgamated in 1997, namely Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

1999

In 1999, the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park became South Africa’s first World Heritage Site to be accepted and listed by UNESCO as iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Phased removal of alien tree plantations were implemented on the Eastern and Western Shores. The recovery resulted in the reappearance of freshwater wetland systems. The rehabilitation process is still ongoing.

St Lucia History
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MAKE A RESERVATION

Check availability and make a reservation at Pelican’s Nest St Lucia.

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t-book

MAKE A RESERVATION

Check availability and make a reservation at Pelican’s Nest St Lucia.

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Cr-TA2
Cr-B2
Cr-Af