The little town of St Lucia in KwaZulu Natal is about 300 km from Durban and nestles between the Indian Ocean and the St Lucia Estuary that is the southern most tip of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (formerly known as the Greater St Lucia Wetlands).
This little town serves as a center for tourists and visitors. It has grown from a sleepy little hollow, to a town that is geared towards tourism.
St Lucia has an infrastructure which supports a variety of shops and services to meet the needs of the many visitors to the area. There are many quaint restaurants, cafes and coffee shops along the main road, covering a wide variety of tastes and making use of the beautiful surroundings so that customers can enjoy great food along with spectacular scenery.
The town of St Lucia has always been a popular weekend destination for locals, and now international tourists are beginning to discover the wonders of the area. Accommodation options are plentiful, ranging from camping to self-catering chalets for the budget conscious to private game lodges and luxury hotels for those wanting more.
The climate of St Lucia is subtropical with hot summers especially in January and February and very mild winters. This, together with the warm Indian Ocean and the pristine white beaches, make for a wonderful holiday experience for the whole family.
St Lucia offers plenty of hiking trails and walks through the park, giving one the opportunity to see a wide variety of animal and bird life.
The animal life is abundant with many species of birds and the occasional sighting of local warthogs as well as small antelope. The cry of the solitary fish eagle can be heard echoing across the lake which is a spine tingling experience for visitors and locals alike.
While swimming in the lake is prohibited due to the presence of crocodile, there is little limit to what else you can do. There are whale watching cruises, hippo cruises, sun-down cruises, and kayak safaris that allow visitors to get up close and personal to an array of water birds, hippos and crocodiles – not for the faint-hearted.
You can dive on coral reefs or walk for miles along golden beaches; exploring and wandering through magical coastal forests; roam across grassy plains go fishing or take a boat cruise on Lake St Lucia. For visitors seeking a true wilderness experience, a trip to the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve is highly recommended.
Not many people take the extra two and a half hour journey to Kosi Bay, but those who do are rewarded with the most beautiful lakes and wetlands, papyrus islands and crystal clear channels offering magnificent kayaking and canoeing opportunities for the adventurous.
The iSimangaliso Wetland has been proclaimed a World Heritage Site. It hosts a spectacular and unique bio-diversity which supports the country’s largest population of hippos and crocodiles. Furthermore, it is also home to leather-back turtles, black rhino, leopards, over 530 species of birds, including flamingos, and some 36 species of amphibians.
The Park’s uniqueness lies in its combination of a subtropical coastline and classic African game park. The park takes in a 60-kilometer river mouth creating the huge St Lucia Lake Estuary, running parallel to the coast and separated from the sea by remarkably high sand dunes.
It has been said that ‘Here, and nowhere else in the world, you can find hippos, crocs and sharks all sharing the same waters…….’
During November the Leather-back (weighing up to 900kg) and the Loggerhead Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Late at night the females make their way up the beach to prepare for nesting. The young turtles hatch approximately two months later and once in the sea begin their own battle for survival.
Sadly, it has been estimated that only one or two baby turtles from every thousand will reach maturity. To watch a turtle laying its eggs or baby turtles hatching is a truly magical experience. Turtle nesting or hatching tours are only available at certain times of the year.
St Lucia Beach and neighboring Cape Vidal (which is a snorkeling, fishing and swimming paradise) are two of the most pristine beaches in the country where visitors can enjoy picnicking, walking, or just relaxing in the wonderful warm, sunny weather, while having some fun in the sun on their holiday.
‘iSimangaliso’ means miracle or wonder – words that so aptly describe this wonderful and unique place – if seeing is believing, then you have to go and see it for yourself……….
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