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Hiking, Snorkelling, Turtle Tours & Canoe Safari's in a Tropical Paradise

Right up in the north-eastern reaches of KwaZulu-Natal on the Elephant Coast, hugging the Mozambican border, is the incredible Kosi Bay. Falling into the protective arms of the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, a world heritage site, the bay comprises four interconnected lakes which filter into the sea via a sandy estuary. The outstanding water quality of Kosi bay is partly what has made it such a prime beach destination.

Tropical beach vibes abound in Kosi Bay, the warm weather and mellow atmosphere will have you walking barefoot in no time along with the locals who rely on the lakes for subsistence fishing. Their 'fish kraals' made from the surrounding vegetation, make for beautiful geometric shapes in the lakes which are fantastic to photograph.

Stepping from fern and swamp forests, into mangroves, then grasslands and up to coastal dune forests; one begins to get a feeling for the diversity of ecosystems that exist in this unique conservancy. The best way to explore Kosi Bay is generally by foot, and the forest and dune paths that have been specifically designed with an ecotourism mindset make hiking an absolute pleasure. With Active Escapes slack packing options, one can really walk carefree as bags are transported from one beach lodge to the next.

Once you've had your fill of banana trees, Lala and Raffia Palms, ferns, cycads and mangroves; taking to the water for snorkelling in the Kosi Bay River Mouth is a must. Knick-named 'the aquarium' due to its clear water and abundance of fish species, the river mouth is also a breeding and nursery area which makes fish-viewing an extra special experience. If you're keen on checking out different areas too, Ponta do Oura is just over the border, while Rocktail Beach is accessible for world class scuba diving.

From November to February, the magnificent Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles can be seen coming ashore to lay their eggs and Active Escapes are able to arrange guided viewing tours for interested parties. However it should be noted that the heat can be exceptionally extreme from December to February; so March through to October is preferable for hiking.

The Pongola River is another asset of the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal, and as it flows through the Lubombo Mountains towards the coast it makes for excellent canoe trips as well as prime tiger fishing territory. There is absolutely no shortage of outdoor activities to keep one occupied, from dune hikes to swimming with dolphins and game viewing, Kosi Bay is an absolute South African treasure.

Kosi Bay and surrounds offers such a variety of landscape that you’ll never run short of exciting activities. From snorkelling in Kosi mouth, diving at Ponto or the world class site of Rocktail Bay,  hiking through fern forests,  tiger fishing on the Pongola, or camping under the stars... we’ll tailor an adventure for you to remember!



  • hiking over sand-dunes to blue ocean below on the Kosi Bay slackpacking trail

    4 Night/3 Day guided Slackpacking Trail along the Kosi Bay lakes, finishing at Kosi mouth. Overnight in comfy bush and beach camps and enjoy a boat trip with snorkelling in the mouth & lake channels.

  • just hooked a baby tiger on the Pongola River, KZN Elephant coastPONGOLA RIVER-TRIP
    Day & overnight canoe safaris down the Pongola River. Cast for a tiger, or keep your bino's close at hand for a glimpse of the elusive African Finfoot. Overnight at a tented camp on the riverbank.
  • jumping down a sandbank in MaputalandKOSI ADVENTURE TOUR
    Hop-on and off the 4x4 support vehicle making tracks from Sodwana - to Mabibi and on to Kosi Bay: swimming, snorkelling, fishing, diving or canoeing along the way.

Maputaland - Tour Packages


hiking through fern forests on the Kosi Bay trail

This walking trail is an escape into one of the most inaccessible and ecologically diverse parts of Southern Africa. Forming part of the protected iSimangaliso Wetland Park, hikers will enjoy a diverse array of terrain. From fern and swamp forests, open savannah and along secluded beaches; the daily hike distances range from 10 17km a day, with overnight stays in comfortable bush and beach camps. Daily luggage transfers, meals, guiding, snorkelling, and a boat-trip across the 3 lakes and channels are all included.


fly fishing for tiger fish near a clay bank & deep pool - Pongola River

Watch the river bottom slip seamlessly by as you glide downstream the Pongola River. With water as clear and smooth as molten glass, giant Sycamore Figs and white sandbanks, one feels like an early explorer paddling down unchartered waters. Whether it's the reel screeching take of a Tiger on fly, or that glimpse of a shy African Finfoot that you after a canoe safari down the Pongola River holds much promise. Starting from just below Lake Jozini, we offer half or full daytrips, as well as overnight safaris.


snorkelling trip at Kosi Bay Mouth

For families with non hiking or younger/older members.... or during the heat of summer: we recommend the Kosi Adventure Trail. With a dedicated 4x4 support vehicle, groups can chose to hop-on and off the land vehicle as they chose, with greater emphasis placed on the myriad of activities that can be done enroute. These include: snorkelling, canoe trails, turtle tours (in-season), ocean experiences (diving and deep-sea boat trips to go dolphins & whale viewing), quad-biking, birding, swimming and fishing.

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sunset on Kosi Bay first lake

Wanting to add a day of diving or deep-sea fishing to your Kosi Hike; or spend some time birding in neighbouring Tembe/ Ndumo Reserves? Perhaps you looking for a combo of 'leisure' and 'play' with a few nights of 'luxury' in-between? Or maybe you've been tasked to organise the next family holiday with enough activities to keep the kids off their blackberry's, and give Mom and Dad some much needed R&R. Video Link

Kosi Bay and surrounds has it all!

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