One of the great things about birding around St Lucia is the series of self-guided trails and hides. Birding on foot with waterbuck and reedbuck grazing in the background and hippos snorting from the pans makes for an extra special birding experience. The greater St Lucia Wetlands Reserve is a recently proclaimed World Heritage Site and one of South Africa's oldest reserves established back in 1895.
It includes the conservation areas of the Eastern Shores, Cape Vidal, Sodwana Bay, Charters Creek, Fanies Island, False Bay, Phinda Resource Centre and Mkhuze Game Reserve. The lake itself covers an area of about 38 000ha and is one of South Africa's most important waterbird breeding areas. For birding tours in the St. Lucia area see Extreme Nature Tours.