Fauna and Flora at Kosi

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The Kosi Bay area is home to a variety of ecosystems hosting an abundance of flora and fauna. The freshwater lake environment and adjoining marine environment are host to an abundance of fish species and other aquatic life. Many birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates are also to be found in the lake system as well as the adjoining conservation areas of coastal and dune forests, grasslands and wetlands.
The most common fish species in the lakes include grunter, rock salmon, kingfish, mullet, stumpy and perch. In the sea off the coast whale sharks, manta rays and dolphins can be spotted. Humpback whales can be seen on their northerly migration to waters off Mozambique where they calve in the summer.
The Kosi Estuary is an important “nursery” environment for the many juvenile fish which mature there before migrating to the open ocean. The Kosi Mouth is known as “the Aquarium” due to the clarity of its water and abundance and variety of fish species to be seen when snorkelling. The dominant species of mammal in the lakes is the hippopotamus; crocodiles are also to be found in the lakes with both of these large animals mainly inhabiting the southernmost lake in the Kosi system, Lake Aminzimnyama.
Notably there are five species of turtle which occur along the adjoining coastline. The most common of these, the Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles lay their eggs on the beaches from October to February.
The hatchlings then return to the hazards of the sea and only 1 in 1000 will find its way back to the same beach 2 decades later to breed. The beaches on this stretch of coastline are regarded as the only undisturbed nesting site for turtles in South Africa.
There is an abundance of birdlife to be found with approximately 250 species of birds including the Palm-nut Vulture, Pel’s Fishing Owl, White-backed Night Heron, Narina Trogon and several kingfisher species to name but a few. Endemic species include the Rosy-throated Longclaw and the Swamp Nightjar.
The Kosi Bay area is home to a variety of different floral environments including marshland, mangrove swamp, sycamore fig and grasslands as well as Raffia palm and wild date palm. The Raffia palm has the largest leaf of any plant and is the home of the Palm-nut Vulture. Endemic species include the Kosi cycad and Kosi fern. Kosi is one of the few areas in the world where five different species of mangrove are found together in one place