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Maphelana Nature Reserve, South Africa
Fast Facts
Points of Interest Nearby
Family Travel Tips

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Maphelana Nature Reserve, also spelled Mapelane, is great place to fish. Spear fish, surf fish and deep-sea fish. Hunt for mussels, oysters and crayfish in intertidal rock pools. And if the kids are hankering for a change in pace, hike the self-guided Umphafa Trail. Explore the estuary bank and forested dunes. Spot small buck, monkey and mongoose. Keep your eyes peeled for hippos and crocs. Watch birds. More than 200 birds species have been recorded at Maphelana.
Getting There
Maphelana Nature Reserve is situated in northern KwaZulu Natal and is the southernmost reserve in iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The nature reserve is located 100 km (62 miles) north of Richards Bay and 250km (155 miles) north of Durban. There is no public transport to Maphelana. The only way to reach the park is to drive. Take the N2 to the Kwambonambi turn off (between Empangeni and Mtubatuba). The road from Kwambonambi to Maphelana is both narrow and sandy. Travel is slow going; a high clearance vehicle is required.
When to Travel
The climate in Maphelana Nature Reserve is subtropical. Summers are hot and humid. Winters are mild and dry. Maphelana boasts 300 days of sun. Rain is possible from December to February. The peak season (December, January, April, and July) coincides with South African school holidays.
Health & Safety
Maphelana Nature Reserve is a malaria risk area. Precaution is warranted. Swimming in the estuary is prohibited. Swimming and snorkeling in the bay is permitted at low tide only. Crocs inhabit inland lakes and estuaries; there are no shark nets on this stretch of the coastline.
  • Malaria & Travelers
Hours & Seasons
Reserve gates are open daily 6:00 - 19:00 October through March and 6:00 - 18:00 April through September. The camp office is open daily 8:00 - 12:30 and 14:00 - 16:30.
Admission & Fees
A day use fee is charged to all visitors. Children under 3 years of age are free of charge. A reduced rate is available for children aged 3 - 12. Camp fees are charged per person.
Contact Details
For additional information on Maphelana Nature Reserve and iSimangaliso Wetland Park dial +27 (0)33 845 1002 or send an email to info@kznwildlife.com. For camp reservations dial +27 (0)33 845 1000 or send an email to webmail@kznwildlife.com.
Things to Keep in Mind
The tap water at Maphelana isn't potable. A permit is required to harvest shellfish. Road restrictions apply to vehicles, boats and caravans.
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Travel Trivia
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