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The lakes of Maputaland

Take a sandy track along the coast from St Lucia to Kosi Bay – to your left crocodiles eyeball you from their lakes, and to your right beaches stretch out next to a tropical ocean. 

Maputaland in northeastern KwaZulu-Natal is a flat, sandy and wet region with Mozambique on its northern border, the Tugela River to the south and the Lebombo Mountains to the west. Geologists say the wide coastal plain was submerged 100 million years ago, and today Maputaland is characterised by dozens of lakes, lagoons, wetlands and grasslands, as well as huge dunes more than 150 m tall that remained after the sea receded.

If you stay on tar, you could easily drive the length of Maputaland in five hours, but why not take a back road? It first takes you through elephant country and from there along the coast to the Mozambican border. If you remember your passport – and lockdown rules allow – you could even visit Ponta do Ouro for shrimp, peri-peri chicken and 2M beer.

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