10 things to do in St Lucia

Posted by Fatima Anter on 11 June 2012 Tags:, ,

St Lucia, about 240 kilometres from Durban in northern KwaZulu-Natal, forms part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and its estuary has one of the highest concentrations of hippos and crocodiles in southern Africa. What also makes this area magnificent is that the park is South Africa’s first World Heritage Site and includes nine per cent of the country’s coastline.

Be sure to have your camera ready – not just for the beautiful beaches, lush coastal forests, dunes, savannas, wetlands, sunsets over the lake or even the leatherback turtles laying eggs (in summer), but also the extensive game and birdlife and fascinating scenery.

Here are ten things to do while you’re there.

 

1. Cruise on the St Lucia Estuary

St Lucia Estuary is the largest estuarine system in Africa. The two-hour, 10-kilometre boat cruise operates up to four times daily.

Contact: St Lucia Safaris tel 035-590-1063, email [email protected], www.stluciasafaris.com.

Advantage Tours tel 035-590-1259, www.advantagetours.co.za.

Elephant Lake Group tel 035-590-1001, email [email protected], www.elephantlakestlucia.co.za.

Heritage Tours and Safaris www.heritagetoursandsafaris.com

 

2. iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Do a day (self drive) or a guided night game drive at iSimangaliso Wetland Park‘s eastern shores. Here you could spot four of the Big Five (no lions) and antelope, hippo, zebra and more.

Contact: Heritage Tours and Safaris Tel 035-590-1555, email [email protected], www.heritagetoursandsafaris.com.

 

3. St Lucia Crocodile Centre

Visit the St Lucia Crocodile Centre at the entrance to iSimangaliso Wetland Park and see various African and exotic crocs, American alligators, tortoises, snakes and there’s a cycad garden to walkabout. The best time to go is during feeding demonstrations on Saturday at 15h00 or Sunday at 11h30.

Contact: Tel 035-590-1386, email [email protected], www.kznwildlife.com.

 

4. Isiphaphalazi Butterfly House

See the displays of  indigenous butterfly species and there are walking trails, an interpretation room, tea garden and plant nursery to enjoy while you’re there.

Contact: Tel 035-550-4445, www.butterflyroutes.org.

Read more about the butterfly house in this blog by Roxanne Reid.

5. Chané Cheese Farm and Lodge

Stop in at Chané Cheese Farm and Lodge (open Monday to Saturday 09h00 to 15h00) to sample homemade organic cheeses. There’s also a coffee shop that serves breakfast and light lunches and you’ll probably spend a while in the gift shop with its quaint wares.  Kids will love the goat-milking opportunities and educational tour.

Contact: Cell 082-321-5000, email [email protected]

 

6. Veyane Cultural Village

On a cultural village tour you’ll experience what it’s like in a traditional Zulu community of the Khula Village (just outside St Lucia), complete with huts, a singing performance and daily life re-enactments.

Contact: Tel 035-550-4325, email [email protected], www.veyane.co.za.

 

7. Cape Vidal

Drive to Cape Vidal (through iSimangaliso Wetland Park), a renowned fishing and snorkeling spot (at low tide) or just enjoy the unique bush and beach experience in this sheltered bay.

Contact: Tel 035-590-9012, email [email protected], www.kznwildlife.com

 

8. Kayak on the estuary

Kit up with a kayak, paddle and nerves of steel and hit the water for a two-and-a-half-hour guided cruise with a difference.

Contact: Tel 035-590-1233, email [email protected], www.kayaksafaris.co.za.

 

9. Horse riding with Bhangazi Horse Safaris

Horse riding at iSiMangaliso Wetland Parkis a great way to explore thewildlife in the area. Rides take place in the south of the park where you could see zebra, wildebeest, bushbuck, warthog, duiker and impala. Beach rides are also available.

Contact: Tel 035-550-4898, email [email protected], www.horsesafari.co.za.

 

10. iGwalagwala Trail

Go for a walk on the iGwalagwala Trail, close to the estuary banks and just a leisurely 1,5-kilometre stroll with a variety of bird spottings including fisheagle, kingfisher, terns and herons. There’s a number of guided trails in the iSiMangaliso Wetland Park and the Iphiva Trail at Iphiva Camp Site in St Lucia is also a favourite (3 hour-walk near the estuary).

 

And one more thing to do in St Lucia, as if these 10 weren’t enough:

A game drive at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve is about one hour from St Lucia and worth the trek for Big Five sightings. Heritage Tours and Safaris offer half and full-day tours from St Lucia.

Contact: [email protected], tel 035-590-1555, web http://www.heritagetoursandsafaris.com