Highlights of South Africa

Maputaland Forest Marine Reserve

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Around 20km north from busy Sodwana Bay is tranquil Mabibi, protected within the Maputaland Coastal Forest and Marine Reserve. The offshore coral reef and rich tropical marine life provides a scuba diving paradise with access to renowned dive sites such as Nine Mile with its stunning coral formations. Over 1,200 species of fish are found on the reefs off Mabibi, including parrot fish, blue surgeons, moorish idols, marble- and manta rays. Bottlenose dolphins, various sharks and turtles may also be seen as well as enormous whale sharks if lucky. The beach is long and unspoiled and the sea can be quite rough with strong currents.

Thonga Beach Lodge has exclusive rights to launch its speedboat from the beach and the ride into and out of the shore is certainly exhilarating! Rocks provide protection at low tide for some good snorkelling close to shore. The coastal forest offers good bird watching, though other wildlife is scarce with many of the forest-dwelling mammals such as bush-babies, large-spotted genets and porcupine being nocturnal. Nearby Lake Sibaya makes for an interesting excursion with crocodiles and hippos.

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