There are currently 1,031 World Heritage–listed sites. Recognised by the World Heritage Committee as having outstanding universal value, they include 802 cultural, 197 natural and 32 mixed properties in 163 State Parties. Eight of these World Heritage-listed sites are located in South Africa, one of which is the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park (previously known as the Greater St project management tools. Lucia Wetland Park) is situated on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, about 275 kilometres north of Durban. It is South Africa’s third-largest protected area, spanning 280 km of coastline, from the Mozambican border in the north to Mapelane south of the Lake St. Lucia estuary. It is made up of around 3,280 km2 of natural ecosystems (Wikipedia, 2016).
Isimangaliso was the first site in South Africa to be listed by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a world heritage site. It is listed in terms of the World Heritage Convention Act, 1999 (Act 49 of 1999), an Act that incorporated the World Heritage Convention into South African legislation.
It was listed in 1999 in recognition of its superlative natural beauty and unique global values.
The proclamation of iSimangaliso consolidated 16 parcels of previously fragmented land into a single protected area covering approximately 324,441 hectares and extending approximately 187 km from Kosi Bay, bordering Mozambique to Maphelane south of St Lucia (Isimangaliso Wetlands Park Authority, 2016).
The Park is located in the coastal and adjacent inland areas of north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal
It compromises of 1 200 of fish species, has traditional fish traps that are up to 700 years old and houses Africa’s largest estuary, Lake St Lucia.
“The name iSimangaliso means miracle and wonder, which aptly describes this unique place.” iSimangaliso, 2015.
The Park has beaches that stretch 220 kilometers from Maphelane in the south to Kosi Bay on the Mozambique border. The Park is 332 000 hectares in size.
The entire coastline of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a proclaimed World Heritage site under the World Heritage Convention Act.
“Approximately three quarters of this coastline (from Kosi Bay to 1 km south of Cape Vidal) is also proclaimed as two Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) (St Lucia and Maputaland) through Government Notice under the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998 (Act 18 of 1998),” iSimangaliso, 2015.
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is also one of the areas of great concern to small-scale fishers in KZN.
Coastal Links South Africa works in three communities in this park and these include St Lucia, Sodwana and Kosi Bay.