In the northern reaches of KwaZulu-Natal, the final stretch of South African coastline is a wilderness wonderland that is still largely unexplored and unexploited.
Kosi Bay is a rich network of lakes that stretches from Lake Zilonde, on the Mozambique border in the north, to Lake Amanzimnyama, in the south. Essentially it is a complex system of six large lakes, two smaller lakes and one of the best preserved estuaries on the Indian Ocean coastline. A number of lakes and streams enter the sea at Kosi Bay and the region is famous for its pristine beaches. Much of the area is protected within the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve. Kosi Bay’s lake system is part of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site, and is home to a large variety of birds, including a number of rare species; animals such as hippos and crocodiles and a great variety of fish and other aquatic fauna. This is the land of marshes, swamp forests – some of the largest in the country – mangroves (five species), coastal dune forests and palm communities.
Add to this already impressive picture the annual sighting of Humpback whales, just off the beaches, on their northerly migration to Mozambique, and the visit of loggerhead and leatherback turtles to lay their eggs on the beaches every year and you can understand why Kosi Bay is such an attractive place to visit.
Fishing is a way of life to many of the Thonga people of the region as a food source, but is also very popular amongst visitors, although ‘tag and release’ is encouraged. Fishing is usually only allowed in the reserves and with a permit and fly fishing has become popular, although the presence of hippos and crocodiles does tend to add an element of danger to the sport.
Kosi Bay is not only home to phenomena such as the two-armed Mudskipper fish and the one-armed Fiddler crab, there are now a number of game reserves and private farms in the area that offer access to other species of the animal kingdom – rhino, giraffe, warthog, zebra, kudu and elephant are all within easy access. Deep sea fishing excursions are also popular.