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Lake Shazebe.Sodwana Bay - photo by Payge Tanner

About Sodwana Bay

"The little one on its own"

Sodwana is a tiny, very rustic, rural Zululand town. Due to the National Park the town is not on the beach but set inland,a couple of km's from the beach in the bush, nestled behind high vegetated sand dunes.


Centuries ago the Nguni tribes migrated southward along the Mozambican coastal plains to the eastern shores of Lake St. Lucia. During their migration they made extensive use of the marine resources along the coast by harvesting oysters and mussels from the sea. Evidence of this occurs in the form of shell middens which occur sporadically along the coastal dunes.

In 1822 the Royal Navy sent the ships Leven, Barracouta, and Cockburn to survey the coastline. The captain of the Barracouta was Lieutenant A.Vidal, after whom Cape Vidal was named, and Leven Point was named after the sloop HMS Leven. The various points along the coast: Jesser, Liefeldt’s, Gobey & Hully were named after officers on the ships who died of Malaria.

Because of its inaccessibility, the area was relatively unexploited by Europeans for a number of years, and in the period prior to 1945 was virtually unknown.
Subsequently safari parties traversed the area on periodic trips to Kosi Bay, but exploitation remained at a very low level. In the early 1950's The Natal Parks Board displayed some interest in Sodwana Bay and it was proclaimed as a Nature Reserve in December 1950.

The only buildings at the time were a thatched hut and a toilet. In the early 1960's the Natal Parks Board (now known as Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) established the first visitor facilities at Sodwana Bay.




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