Cape Vidal camping

Simangaliso means “miracle” in Zulu

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Endless beaches in the iSimangaliso Park
Tony Birkholtz

Cape Vidal offers 70km of undisturbed beach all the way up to Sodwana Bay with rewarding reef snorkelling and  fishing in between

The 35km drive from St Lucia took us through the iSimangaliso Wetland Park where animals roam free. We stopped to enjoy the views over the bush with the lakes in the distance.

We saw kudu during evening drives into the park.
We saw kudu during evening drives into the park.

iSimangaliso, which means “a miracle” in Zulu, spans 280km of coastline from Mozambique to Mapelane south of St Lucia, covering 3,280 km2 of various ecosystems. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, South Africa’s first.

When we arrived at the Cape Vidal Resort, monkeys were there to welcome us … and steal anything that looked like food, so we  learnt to hide it. We even prepared supper only once they had settled into the treetops for bedtime, after having our potatoes pinched off the fire during a late afternoon braai .

The beaches are endless at Cape Vidal
The beaches are endless at Cape Vidal

We saw buffalo and kudu during short evening drives into the park. The area is covered with iLala palms from which locals draw sap to make palm wine that can render you loose-lipped and bleary eyed. Take a scenic drive to Catalina Bay where the British had a base for WW2 amphibious aircraft or down to Mission Rocks to visit the Crocodile Centre at the entrance to the reserve.

The fishing is great in these parts
The fishing is great in these parts

Cape Vidal offers camping with clean ablution blocks, electric points, and taps. You can’t drink the water so bring your own or buy some from the local supply store in the camp. There are also self-catering log cabins for hire and a bush camp for groups. The beach is a designated ski-boat launch site and the car park has a fish cleaning area.

Here, you can simply get back to the serenity of nature so hats off to the iSimangaliso and Ezemvelo who manage the park.

  • The road from Vidal to St Lucia is tarred so no more need for a 4×4 to get you there.