Surprisingly in a land, where the water reserves are shrinking every passing second and bringing the life threatening natural habitat disorders that man feared for centuries, there are still places shine hope in the eyes of the beholder. In the land of struggling wild life for water and resources, that have brought the prey and the hunters together, there are still some regions so heavenly that it can make you forget the adversity and strengthen your believe once again in “nature”, an outrival master who knows very well its trait to tame. One such place, a beauty, or natural way of spreading lavishness on the land is the lake “Sibaya”, the largest fresh water lake in South Africa. Gorgeously widespread on the coast of the Indian Ocean in Natal Province, South Africa, near the boundary of Mozambique, Lake Sibaya covers an area of 60 to 70km2. The miraculous goddess of water “Lake Sibaya” forms the only permanent source of water for birds and mammals often when the surface water in the surrounding coastal plain disappears completely during dry years.
Apart from keeping the natural balance of habitat, Lake Sibaya also serves as a magnetic tourist spot and offers all kinds of and means of entertainment that one can expect from a lake of such importance and heavenly location. Here, let me also tell you that reaching Lake Sibaya is not as difficult as you may find going to many other famous lakes round the world (mostly on high altitudes). You can enter through Mozambique as well, yet the best way is to Travel from Johannesburg or Cape Town. Besides Lake Sibaya, both larger cities of South Africa namely Cape Town and Johannesburg both offer exclusive holiday attractions, parks, museums, natural reserves and much more. From any where in UK, such as Heathrow, Belfast, Manchester, Gatwick, there are many direct and indirect flights operating on daily basis from and to Johannesburg and Cape Town. Cheap Flights to South Africa are mostly offers with Arabic Airlines such as Qatar, Emirates and Etihad. Cheap Flights with KLM, Air France and British Airways are also available but mostly for limited times and only on early bird offers.
The lake Sibaya is surrounded by indented shorelines and has two elongated bays extending to the north and west. The surface area and mean depth are 77.5 km2 and 12.6 m. It is separated from the sea by coastal dunes only 2 km in width, and was presumably derived from an old lagoon which later became isolated by sand deposition. The water level is now 23 m above the sea surface, and fluctuates widely depending on rainfall and evaporation, because of the lack of out flowing rivers. Lake Sibaya contains the second largest population of hippopotamus and crocodile in KwaZulu-Natal. Eighteen species of fish occur in the lake and feeder streams. One of these, a freshwater goby Silhouetta sibayi, is endemic to the system. Twenty two species of frog and eight reptile species are associated with Lake Sibaya. Of the 279 bird species recorded in the area, 60 are closely associated with the lake for breeding, feeding and roosting. Numerous other Red Data species occur in the system including the only known population of Vanilla roscheri (a climbing orchid). The most numerous are Red and White Breasted Cormorants; Pied, Giant and Malachite Kingfishers; Fish Eagles and a variety of herons, darters and egrets. Waders include White-Fronted Sand Plover, Black-Winged Stilt, Avocent, Greenshank and Spoonbills. The sheltered bays are home to jacana, crakes, gallinules and bitterns. Also recorded at the lake are the much sought-after Pel’s Fishing Owl, Pygmy Goose, Palmnut Vulture, flamingoes, Woodward’s Batis and Rufousbellied Heron.
It is indeed a marvelous sight of beauty with the rarest of natural leisure to stare at the amazingly extravagant and rare creatures, plants, dive in the purest of fresh waters and have a picnic to remember for a long time.
“A thing of beauty is joy forever” …. .William Wordsworth