TripAdvisor HALL OF FAME

The Beach Experience

The Elephant Coast has a number of exquisite golden beaches - three of them near Hluhluwe.

Cape Vidal

The warm Indian Ocean forms the eastern border of the region and this protected area, with its long empty beaches and sand dunes covered by coastal forest, is truly remarkable.

One of the richest reef ecosystems in the world exists here with over 1250 fish species, 95 identified species of coral and a vast array of plant life. Here you will also find one of the world's few remaining breeding grounds for the rare Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles.

The water is clear (visibility is generally over 20m) and water temperatures range from around 29°C in mid-summer (December/January) to around 19°C in mid-winter (June/July).

You can dive the numerous reefs, snorkel among some of the rocky outcrops close to shore, swim in the surf or enjoy some fishing.

Sodwana Bay

The Sodwana Bay beach is one of South Africa's best known ski-boat and diving attractions and is an hour's easy drive north of Malala on tarred roads. A small entrance fee is payable at the main entrance.

Sodwana Bay contains the world's southern most coral reef which is renowned for its crystal clear water and the array of colourful sub-tropical fish, sharks, rays and many fascinating invertebrates that can be seen within the 50km reef complex - providing excellent diving and snorkelling opportunities.

At low tide children and adults alike can snorkel in the shallows around the rocks.

Diving courses are available at Sodwana, and visitors with a 4x4 vehicle can explore the surrounding countryside. The area has mammals such as Reedbuck and Red Duiker, and there is a short self-guided hiking trail through the coastal dunes as well as a longer nature trail to the Ngoboseleni Lake.

Cape Vidal

Beach at Cape Vidal

Cape Vidal is a popular scenic bay known for its sport fishing and snorkelling at low tide and is also about an hour's drive from Malala. A small entrance fee is payable at the main entrance.

Cape Vidal is situated north of the Eastern Shores in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and is a relatively safe area for swimming due to the protection offered by the reef.

This area also boasts access to the Eastern Shores of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park where there is a wide variety of wildlife as well as spectacular water, forest and grassland birds.

The marine habitat is frequented by Humpback Whales, and in December the rare Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles come onto the beach to lay their eggs.