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Tour boat on St Lucia Estuary

St. Lucia

travel advice

St. LuciaAccess
St. Lucia - tourist centre of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (previously St. Lucia Wetland Park) - is accessed from Mtubatuba on the R618. After crossing the estuary on a bridge, leave the traffic circle towards the right into McKenzie Street. Along this 500 metre long main road one finds basically all the shops and stores, supermarkets, Internet caf├ęs and restaurants and many accommodation venues. If you leave the traffic circle straight, you get to the beaches.

St. Lucia Estuary Boat Cruises
It is best to learn about the estuary by cruising it on a boat with a knowledgeable guide. The trips take about 2 hours and provide in-depth information on the fauna and flora. There are a few tour operators with similar programs. They all conduct several trips each day. There are also deep-sea fishing trips and whale-watching tours. Bookings at any of the tourism outlets in McKenzie Street.

Crocodile CentreCrocodile Centre
The Crocodile Centre is run by KZN Wildlife. It lies about 1 km north of the centre of town on the road to Cape Vidal. Besides the crocs it also offers a snake exhibition and a Cycad Park. The centre is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm.. Public crocodile feedings only on saturdays at 3 pm and sundays at 11 am. Tel 035 5901386.

HeronMfabeni Wilderness Reserve
The nature reserve at the eastern shore of Lake St. Lucia is 30000 Hektar in extent and reaches to Cape Vidal (and even. 20 kms further north). There are hippos, crocodiles, several antelope species, buffaloes, leopards and elephants. The game ranger station lies near Mission Rocks. From here, wilderness hikes are being conducted. The easiest trail is the Guided Wetland Walk. Guided by an armed ranger it goes through coastal forest, swampland and grassland. Duration: 1 day. More hikes are available: Wilderness Trail, duration: 4 days, Emoyeni Trail, duration: 5 days, Mziki Trail, duration: 3 days. Overnight stays in plain huts and the Bhangazi Tented Camp. Booking is necessary. Tel 035 5909002, Fax 035 5909090.

Cape VidalCape Vidal
The camp of Cape Vidal is situated some 35 kms north of St. Lucia Village, easily accessed on a tarred road. It lies amidst high dunes and dense ievergreen coastal forests and offers beautiful wide beaches. In December giant marine turtles (Loggerheads and Leatherbacks) leave the sea to lay their eggs.

Thanks to the offshore reef, this part of the coast is ideally suited for swimming, snorkeling and diving. No protection by shark-nets, however. Cape Vidal is also popular with anglers and deep-sea fishermen, who launch their boats here and speed off into the surf. In Cape Vidal one can go for beautiful hikes. Particularly recommendable is the 2-hour Mvubu-Trail - guided by a ranger - through the coastal forest to the shores of Lake Bhangazi. Booking office tel (035) 5909012.

Accommodation is available in camping spots and some log houses with 5 or 8 beds in 2 or 3 bedrooms with kitchen and bath. The chalets are nicely positioned right behind the dunes in the forest and are usually fully booked.

Cape Vidal Camp
Type Max Pers. Rate


R 72
Log Cabin
R 222
Rates per person/night. Plus Conservation Fee of R20 per person and day. (No guarantee)

EzemveloReservations and bookings:
Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife
PO Box 13069, Cascades 3202,
KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Tel (033) 8451000, Fax: (033) 8451001

Ocean BasketRestaurant Recommendation

To enjoy good seafood at a good price visit the Ocean Basket Restaurant in McKenzie Street. Whether you order crayfish, prawns, angelfish or tuna, everything is fresh, freshly prepared and tasty. One doesn't need to wait long for the food and the service is excellent. The interior decoration is light and modern. One has a view of the lively buzz in McKenzie Street. Ocean Basket outlets can be found in many other places in South Africa.

Accommodation in St. Lucia

Lidiko Lodge
Central location; en-suite rooms with aircon, TV and private patio. Parklike gardens and pool. Tel +27 (0)35 5901581. eMail

Ndiza Lodge & Cabanas
Panoramic view; B&B or self-catering; aircon; DSTV; deck; pool; bar, tropical garden. Tel +(0)35 5901113. eMail

St. Lucia Wets Guest House
Friendly atmosphere; en-suite rooms; tropical garden; large pool; scrumptious breakfasts. Tel +27-(0)35 5901098. eMail

Charters Creek / Makakatana Bay

Makakatana Bay Lodge
In the Greater St Lucia Park. Hippo wander through; suites with aircon and tel; pool. Tel +27-(0)35 5504189. eMail



Hippopotami - "Hippos" in short - belong to the most dangerous wild animals. Each year more humans are killed by them in southern Africa than by all the other animals together. These mammals weigh up to 2 tons, measure 4 metres in length and can move at so high speeds that no human could outrun them. They are herbivorous and feed on grass. But they closely monitor their territory, and if it is being invaded, they first threaten by "yawning". If the intruder doesn't retreat, they don't hesitate to attack. At highest risk are smaller boats, which a hippo can easily capsize. Hippo teeth are very sharp and the victim's chances of survival are slim.

Hippopotami are numerous in the St. Lucia Estuary. During the day one can see them in the shallow waters of the estuary. In the evenings they come on land. In St. Lucia one can often see them in the backgardens of houses near the lagoon. Sometimes they even cross the Main Road and have a walk through town. They are not really aggressive on land, away from their own territory, but - keep your distance.

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