Isimangaliso Wetlands Park Natures Paradise

3개월 전

Igwala Gwala Trail is a tiny strip of pristine coastal forest about 1,5 kilometer of loops.

St Lucia located in northern KwaZulu-Natal is a small village surrounded by water where nature abounds in the sea, estuary and on land, a week is the minimum suggested visiting time to see what is on offer in the region, using this as town as base camp, with plenty of accommodation available.

Every season will offer diversified attractions in this area, we are only visiting a small walk through indigenous forested area today, a paradise for any birding enthusiast. Under 1 kilometer to walk to this forest from the center of town, the village is not all that large about 2.5 kilometers in length. Accommodation in hotels, self-catering, back-packers is available, plenty of shops and restaurants all along the main road.

Staying in this village you need to be aware hippo do come out on occasion, especially at night to enjoy village life.

Igwala Gwala Trees - Tallest appears to be the Ficus burtt-davyi Hutch
Igwala Gwala Trees - Tallest appears to be the Ficus burtt-davyi Hutch

There is no charge to enter, ideal walking for all ages, levels of fitness, always wear sunscreen lotion, a hat, a bottle of water, insect repellent (if the bugs bug you), and proper walking shoes.

This trail is part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, we have seen bushbuck, red duiker, snakes hidden under leaves so keep to the path. It definitely is a paradise for birding community, birds from the forest floor all the way up into the top naked branches.

Red-billed hornbill
Red-billed hornbill

Crowned hornbill
Crowned hornbill

Igwala is the Zulu name for Purple Crested Turaco. Turaco bird species is known as a Loerie in South Africa, the photo is of a Knysna turaco/loerie.

Knysna turaco ~ Loerie for South African's
Knysna turaco/loerie

Remember to keep looking into the bush, on the ground, middle and higher up, the birds are well camouflaged and not always to find. Go quietly since most are shy!

White-browed scrub-robin
White-browed scrub-robin

Red-capped robin-chat
Red-capped robin-chat

Undergrowth in the area becomes very dense forming natural tunnels, we have heard the hippo bellowing down on the estuary with evidence of them using paths in this forest (massive poops).

Sightings of small buck dash through the bush in flight hearing a twig snap, they have always managed to outwit this amateur photographer, no matter how quietly I approach!

Igwala Gwala Forest Walk, St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, South Africa part of iSimangaliso Wetland park
Igwala Gwala Forest Walk, St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, South Africa part of iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Tree bending a branch over the path to rise up on the other side.
Tree bending heavy branch over the path to rise up on the other side

Undergrowth
Undergrowth

Every time you come out of the deep dense undergrowth there are patches of flowers along with butterflies, flies (always flies - cannot miss them).

Isoglossa woodii, commonly known as buckweed flowers
Isoglossa woodii, commonly known as buckweed flowers

Wildflowers Igwalagwala Forest Walk
Wildflowers

Wildflowers Igwalagwala Forest Walk ~ St Lucia
Wildflowers

Our visits over the years have always taken place in May, a cooler month in southern hemisphere Autumn, flowers are seasonal depending on rains.

Flowering Trees
Flowering Trees

Butterfly
Butterfly

Monkey Moth - Stenoglene clucki belonging to the moth family Eupterotidae (closest I description I could find in the region)
Monkey Moth - Stenoglene clucki belonging to the moth family Eupterotidae (closest I description I could find in the region

Watch where you walk, on two occasions we have had these hairy worms strung out at face height, where there are caterpillars butterflies or moths will emerge in months to come, some may not be so friendly to humans touching them, look with your eyes as with everything else in nature.

Caterpillars
Caterpillars

This is 1 kilometer, imagine what else is in this area.

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is one of the outstanding natural wetland and coastal sites of Africa. Covering an area of 239,566 ha, it includes a wide range of pristine marine, coastal, wetland, estuarine, and terrestrial environments which are scenically beautiful and basically unmodified by people. https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/914/

iSimangaliso must be the only place on the globe where the oldest land mammal (the rhinoceros) and the world’s biggest terrestrial mammal (the elephant) share an ecosystem with the world’s oldest fish (the coelacanth) and the world’s biggest marine mammal (the whale) ~ Nelson Mandela

An inheritance to be looked after, nurtured for everyone to enjoy possibly once in a lifetime, a place I keep being drawn back to, thanks for joining me.

This is South Africa's very first World Heritage site since 1999 (Unesco).


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Diversity of wildlife there is amazing!

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Really up to the people to keep this area like this, too many wanting to do open cast mining close to this region @psyceratopsb thanks for visiting.

My absolute favourite Knysna Loerie, love seeing them in flight! Lovely post of a very special place @joanstewart!

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So many things to see and do in the area @lizelle hands down a place to explore.

Although I have worked in the area on the electrical feed towers I have never been to this Wetland park Lady Joan. Maybe one day.
A great post here and glad that you guys are getting some rain.
Blessings!

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The coastline up there has some lovely hidden gems, this is my choice for ease of getting to other parks as well.

Sadly they are starting to destroy the region with open cast mining on the road to iMfolozi/Hluhluwe, on-going petitions against the greed of some, placing rural people into filth and decay Stephen.

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I have grown to absolutely hate mining and its accompanying greed Lady Joan.
Connections that get mining licences, with kick backs of course.
The Australians and other countries that rape the earth here to get at the minerals don't give a fig about the mess that they leave behind.
And of course the South Africans are the same, as once the mining is finished the waste is left to contaminate our rivers our dams and the air. Not even to mention the health of the people in the mining areas.
Take a drive avoiding the potholes made by mining trucks in places like Ermelo, Bethal and other areas and you will see what damages awaits the iMFOLZI/Hluhluwe areas.
So sad and a government that does not care about its people or its country.

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Disgusting in many areas going up North Coast, government not heeding warnings from anyone! Many areas fighting this scurge throughout the country, another wait and see what happens, keep fighting....

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Yep! We sign ever petition that we get Lady Joan.
But I am afraid that money talks and the feelings of the people will have very little effect.
In fact the leaders of the resistance could be killed as happened in another case.
Blessings!

Great photos! I loved the one with the weird shaped tree... but I kept thinking, hippos in the village?!?!?! It would freak me out to see one in the street... let alone waking up to it!

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Very rare that hippo come up in daylight, they come out at night to chomp so we drive, also leopard country.

The tree is fascinating how it has grown over the path, lot of _monkey ropes _in between from taller trees, tree highway @bengy, thanks for visiting.

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Thanks for selecting my post, appreciated @theluvbug

you need to be aware hippo do come out on occasion, especially at night to enjoy village life.

I wonder what happens if hippo decides to wait up until the morning? I have never really seen hippos up close and personal(i do not consider seeing one in zoos as an encounter).

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Hippo are really dangerous, safer to treat them with great respect as with most animals. The area boasts the largest population of hippo in South Africa, people are made aware on arrival with incidents over the years happening when this does happen.

https://africageographic.com/blog/st-lucia-a-unique-town-where-hippos-roam-the-streets/


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Thanks for the visit and selecting my post for sharing @c-squared

These pictures are wonderful, @joanstewart. I would love to visit that wetland sometime!

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This small area only gives one an idea on how very much is in this region @jayna, thanks for visiting.

Great photos! This wetland park is amazing, Joan and you were brave to walk into it. Once I saw where you mentioned snakes, I knew I couldn’t go there.

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Never seen snakes on well worn path, we did see snake under leaves off the path when a training guide showed a group going off the path learning about the region. Living in South Africa snakes can be found everywhere, always look where you walk. Thanks for kind comment @redheadpei.

What a richly diverse in nature place... You did well with these shots, especially the birds, ours here are so shy, I can't even point a camera at them or walk even nearer, they are gone immediately! That branch across the path is amazing - like a huge snake!!

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You need to go in relatively early, very quietly and hope to see whatever is around on the day, some arrive and make so much noise it is a lost opportunity, especially seeing the shy birds low to the ground.

Amazing to see hornbill on the other side of the world. We only see them at the east side of the country near Borneo.

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This is the eastern side of our country @roselifecoach, we have 5 different hornbills in this region.

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Thank you @livinguktaiwan appreciate the the mention in Daily Travel Digest on @steemitworldmap

Always great to visit your post @joanstewart, full of great photos!

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Thanks for lovely comment @joelai

It's amazing how similar birds like the robins look to our local sparrows, and at the same time how wildly different the hornbills are. This looks like an amazing place to spend a week or three - thanks for sharing the beauty with us, @joanstewart!

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Short drive to large nature reserves, definitely you need a week or more to take this all in @traciyork

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Thank you for selecting for curation @hafizullah and @innerblocks community.

This is such a nice place! Full of green and some wonderful brids. Amazing.

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Very coastal damp smell when walking through, lovely area to enjoy @rem-steem, thanks for visiting.

Wow I have never seen those species of birds. So gorgeous! The place do really reflect its position in the UNESCO World Heritage. I wouldn't mind a surprise from a Hippo, although I'm scared of caterpillars :D

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Happy hippo enjoy the lawns on town verges during the night, normally drive where you need to go. The area is alive with variety being left alone, thanks for visiting @wanderin

Oh what a wonderful area to explore with so much wildlife!
I find it hard to image a hippo coming into town - I've only seen them in zoos and they are so much different than any of our native species of animals!
So glad they declared it a World Heritage site! Hopefully that will help keep it protected for future generations to enjoy!
Thank-you for sharing!

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Place is totally addictive, visiting year on year for some time now and always seeing something different. Seeing wildlife in their natural environment is super exciting, sometimes nervewracking!

Paradise indeed 😍😍😍😍🙏

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😁 Thanks for visiting.

Such a beautiful path, the beauty of nature with both the vegetation and the birds that tree down over the path then growing up again was so interesting never seen anything like that

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Damp forest mixed with sea aroma on the air most probably one of the most relaxing places to escape to for an early morning walk.

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It sounds so refreshing and looks it as well from your beautiful shots

I had to look twice, Joan. Igwala Gwala is/was the name of a guest house in White River owned by a late friend of mine... Great captures.

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Lovely sounding name that rolls off the tongue, what a lovely name to give a guest house.

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Thank you @crowdmind appreciate the visit.

Uurgh.. The tree branch is so creepy.. look like a huge snake
Am glad that the wetlands are well take care of..

This is South Africa's very first World Heritage site since 1999 (Unesco).

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Branch does have an unusual look, first time I saw a tree grow like this was up in the forest.

A region I really hope stays well looked after for people to enjoy for many years to come @ireenchew, thanks for visiting.

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Yes.. We should share more about Mother Nature so as to remind everyone not to take it for granted.
Once it's gone, we can never recover it !

These beautiful pictures can be in the challenge by @adalger about nature just spreading the word

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Thanks for the tip @brittandjosie, this was actually my first post up on #travelfeed platform which was fun learning something new again.

What a lovely walk to take us on! That tree that bends down along the path is really cool and definitely don't want to get too friendly with the local insects and wildlife!

I'd be loading up on sunscreen and insect repellent for sure!

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Insect repellent always, mozzies love me and flies drive me crazy.... Always a bush hat, contradiction.. I always tell people proper walking shoes or boots, while my normal gear is flip-flops which drives everyone around me batty...

Definitely spend my time looking, never touch!

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Haha you're not the only one they are attracted to! I often look like a pepperoni with thr amount of bites I get!

Yes I am always equipped with hiking shoes, need that rugged ankle support in case of uneven ground plus they are more comfortable to walk in I find! You're brave with the flip flops! The amount of times I stumbled when I wasn't wearing my hiking boots in NZ was troubling!

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When flip-flops annoy me I go barefoot, walked through a gold mine bare foot when others were slipping and sliding around underground, yes it muddy down there, fortunately no snakes to worry about.

Proper hikes I consider proper boots, stolling through a forest is not a problem, just watch where you walk :)

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Haha, great to hear there were no gold mine snakes lurking in there looking for their own treasure! But I get what you mean with the flip flops, they are very annoying sometimes, especially when wet, can get very uncomfortable!

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Running shoes and boots lost all tread with the wet floor, at the end it was a huge task to get them clean with light grey mud stuck everywhere. My feet got a 5 star mud pack leaving them refreshingly clean after finding a tap to rinse when back on ground level.

Awesome adventure to go down, took the boys to an old mine where the still have tours to see the conditions miners work in, makes you think! My uncle worked on this particular mine.…

Gold Reef Shaft No 14, in production for 84 years – 1887 to 1971 and at its time, the deepest mine in the world. Travel down the Gold Mine shaft (under 5 years not allowed) in a large clangy lift to level 5 – 720 feet (226 meters) for a guided tour. [Source](ekalatours.com › gold-reef-city)

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Haha ugh I hate having to trawl through really muddy paths but sometimes needs must! The satisfaction you get when cleaning your boots though to get them ready to go again is immense though!

It's incredible really what the miners achieved and did with very little technology, even less health and safety considerations but a shit ton of tnt to blast their way through the caves. Very brave and your uncle is one of them. Deepest mine in the world no doubt, can't even imagine the working conditions

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Now that would be my kind of walk i would spend days in there discovering every path and every corner love all them birds 🌝

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Bush is pretty thick in places becomes a little disorientating, you cannot get lost, so meander through no matter which path you end up on.

Hello @joanstewart, thank you for sharing this creative work! We just stopped by to say that you've been upvoted by the @creativecrypto magazine. The Creative Crypto is all about art on the blockchain and learning from creatives like you. Looking forward to crossing paths again soon. Steem on!

South Africa is beautiful with so much diverse plants and wildlife. I have seen somewhere where hippos are really aggressive which is scary. Do attacks rarely happen?

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Hippo attacks happen more than people realize, they talk of the big five, Hippo should have been added.

If you get between a Hippo and her calf you are in trouble, if you get between a Hippo and water (their escape route) you in trouble. No matter whether on land or in the water, always respect these animals.

All animals, insects and birds deserve respect, this area is jam packed with such a variety, including the secretive leopard in the area as well, I would not walk at night, only travel in a vehicle. Day time walks are fine by being aware of surroundings.

Thanks for the walk through! I particularly liked the pictures of the birds; in the area I live in we have hawks, robins, and then generic city-birds without much else. Nice to see others!

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Birds always capture the eye, above the canopy you will often hear the fish eagle circling with his unique cry.

I always enjoy visiting #featheredfriday with @melinda010100 enjoying birds from around the world, thanks for visiting @wwwiebe.

Nice! Love the pictures, and the birds are quite neat. I have to say, the picture I like the most and has most meaning to me is the one with the tree branch lowered to the ground and then finding its way back up. Trees are magestic and this here is beauty.

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Weight of that branch must be quite something since when you step over you only realize how big it is @foxyspirit, how it lifts itself again is impressive.

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Very impressive! And definitely extraordinaire

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Really beautiful @joanstewart, a hikers paradise. Such beautiful birds :) I don't know what I would do if I encountered a hippo, yikes You definitely do not wander outside after sundown right?

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We travel by car even if it is just around the corner, once in the village you can walk around at night.

That's a wonderful walk you just took me on. How nice that it's free to access a place that is so rich! Love Mandela's quote.

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Thanks for visiting @owasco, Mandela captured the area in a few words, summed it up beautifully.

What a place! That looks like one hell of a #wednesdaywalk to me.

That first bird looks like a cartoon character and I can hear his voice through that picture ;)

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They do know how to put on a vocal and colourful display @zekepickleman, thanks for visiting.

Fantastic pictures @joanstewart

That certainly looks like a great place to spend some time, either exercising, relaxing or getting some great shots.

The tunnel looks like, how I imagine one of my favourite scenes from Lord of the Rings to be whilst I am reading the book. On the road to Bree when they hide from the Ringwraith.

Thanks for sharing.

Gaz

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If only trees could tell stories, well they do in someways. Enjoy the books I have read them a couple of times and enjoyed the movies. Those paths can become super thick, make a nice hideaway from the hot sun, you often see the small birds in those areas. Your visit always appreciated Gaz have a great day.

@joanstewart - beautiful pictures, along with some sound hiking device. I can see easily spending a week there and enjoying all that nature.

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You never get bored walking through here Tammy, a delight to enjoy every time we venture up that way.