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GREATER ST. LUCIA WETLANDS PARK RENAMED TO ISiMANGALISO WETLANDS PARK

iSimangaliso Wetland Park is situated on the Eeast Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal, about 275 kilometres north of Durban. It is South Africa's third-largest protected area.

UNESCO:

UNESCO is the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, established soon after World War II with an aim to build peace in the hearts and minds of people of the world. Initially the organisation was established by 20 countries of whom South africa was one some seven decades ago. Heritage sites were included into the mandate of UNESCO in 1972. To be include on theUnesco World Heritage Site List, a site must be regarded to possess outstanding universal value by the World Heritage Site Committee, and it must alsomeet at least one out of ten specified selection criteria, six of which are based on cultural an four on natural significance. Thr Isimangaliso Wetlands Park, the first World Heritage Site of South Africa was awarded World Heritage Site status on three of the four natural significances. Isimangaliso Wetlands Park was added to the list in December 1999.

Geographics:

The park is spanning 220 km of coastline, from the Mozambician border in the north to Mapelane south of the St Lucia estuary, and made up of around 3,280 km²(239 566 ha)of pristine natural ecosystems, managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. The park includes the St Lucia Game Reserve, False Bay Park, St Lucia Marine Reserve, Sodwana Bay National Park, Maputaland Marine Reserve, Cape Vidal, Ozabeni, Mfabeni, Tewate Wilderness Area and Mkuze Game Reserve.

History:

The park was previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, but was renamed effective from 1 November 2007. The word 'isimangaliso' is Zulu for 'a marvel'. Kosi Bay, Manguzi, eManguzi, KwaNgwanase are all different names for the same place. Manguzi is the community in which the town is settled and KwaNgwanase is the district name. Limited information is avalable about the culture of the region's earliest human inhabitants, howver the oldest known evidence of ritual burial, religion and the use of counting tools were found at Border Cave juat 50 kilometres from the isimangaliso Wetland Parks western border.

In 1488, the Portguese navigator, Bartlomeus Dias was the first Eurpean to sail around the Cape Peninsula while seeking a trading route to India, he however turned back to Europe at what is today known as Mossel Bay. Ten year later, Vasco da Gama set anchor in deep waters in Natal that is today known as Durban harbour. For 150 years after that, no attempt was made to create an European settlement South of Mozambique. The earliest Portugese name for for the coast around St. Lucia was Terra dos Fumos(Land of Smoke)

The name Kosi is said to be derived from the word Nkosi which means king. Ngwanase is the name for the Thonga King who fled from the Portugese Colonists in Mozambique. The original king was Mabhudu which the Portugese and English colonists mispronounced and misspelled respectively to Maputo and Maputa. The region is still known as Maputaland. The region is also known as Thonga Tembe Land. Historically this region was the orphan of South Africa and none of the previous governments made any effort to develop this region.Maputaland was/is completely self-governed by the Thonga people. The current king is Mabhudu Israel Tembe. Even today the Tembe Tribal Authority retains power and oversees everything regarding everyday life.

St. Lucia was first named in 1554 as >"Rio de la Medaos do Oura"("River of the Dows of Gold") by the survivors of the Portuguese ship Saint Benedict. At this stage, only theTugela Rivermouth was known as St. Lucia. Later, in 1575, the Tugela River was named Tugela. On 13 December 1575, the day of the feast of Saint Lucy, Manuel Peresterello renamed the mouth area to Santa Lucia.

In 1822, St. Lucia was proclaimed by theBritish as a township.

In 1895, St. Lucia Game Reserve, 30 km north of the town was proclaimed.

In 1971, St. Lucia Lake and the turtle beaches and coral reefs of Maputaland get listed by the Convention.