The Pondoland Marine Protected Area
What is known to most South Africans as The Wild Coast is actually called the Pondoland Marine Protected Area (MPA), so named for the vibrant community living here – the Pondo people. Considered by many to be the best travel destination in South Africa, this area boasts gorgeous natural scenery. The Pondoland MPA is the largest of its kind in the country, stretching over 90km along the pristine coastline between the Mzamba River in the north and the Umzimvubu River in the south and extending approximately 10-15km out to sea.
In a world where our natural resources are fast diminishing, marine protected areas (MPAs) such as this are the most effective means of conserving the marine environment and wildlife. This can be compared to the game reserves that South Africa is known for the world over.
In terms of marine biodiversity, the Pondoland coast lies within the Natal Bioregion; however, it forms a unique transition zone with elements of both sub-tropical and warm-temperate ecosystems. The area is therefore characterised by a high diversity of marine organisms with a large number of endemic species unique to this region. The Pondoland MPA includes a wide range of marine and coastal habitats with some of the most pristine estuaries in South Africa, extensive rocky and sandy shores and large sub-tidal reefs.
Offshore, whales and dolphins course through the blue seas. When the annual Sardine Run happens (usually around June and July), they are joined by dozens of different bird species and other ocean predators. The coast, with its high cliffs, soft, sandy shores and sub-tidal reefs, is home to dozens of species that are found nowhere else in the world!