Maphelane is a popular base for both fishermen and nature lovers alike and lies at the point where the Mfolozi River enters the Indian Ocean. A short distance to the south lies Mjakaja hill, iSimangaliso’s highest vegetated dune, at 183m. From a distance this enormous dune looks like a small mountain range.

Maphelane is isolated with no petrol or provisions available, but the excellent surf and fishing, abundant bird life and hiking trails through unique coastal forest, keep visitors coming back time and time again. 4X4 vehicles are recommended.


  • Maphelane is in a malaria area so please take precautions. 
  • Due to the presence of crocodiles swimming or even wading in the Mfolozi river is not permitted. 
  • Pets are not permitted into the reserve.


The 45 km road is difficult in places and there are restrictions on vehicles and boat sizes:

  • Vehicles cannot exceed 1.5 tonnes. 
  • Boats cannot exceed 5,79 metres.
  • Caravans of a single axle class only and only if towed by a four wheeled drive vehicle.

Please phone the Natal Parks Board for validation.

Hiking trails

For the energetic there is a choice of two self-guided walking trails. One winds along the edge of the estuary and the other climbs up along the dunes, providing the hiker with stunning views of the ocean and river mouth.


Mapelane camp, is a Natal Parks Board resort consisting of camp sites and log cabins and lies on the southern bank of the Mfolozi River mouth. The camp is tucked away between thick bush and sandy beaches with a giant dune towering behind it and consists of :

  • Ten 5-bedded fully equipped log cabins
  • 45 camp and caravan sites

Hutted camp bookings and inquiries are handled by the Natal Parks Board reservations office in Pietermaritzburg, and camp site booking by the officer-in-charge at St Lucia.

Contact details

iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority

The Dredger Harbour

Private Bag X05

St Lucia 3936

Tel: +27 35 590 1633

Fax: +27 35 590 1602



24 Hour emergency hotline: +27 82 797 7944