St Lucia
Sand, Sea and Safari

St. Lucia, nestled in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, boasts diverse ecosystems and cultural richness. Visitors enjoy encounters with hippos, crocodiles, and the Big Five, alongside beach adventures and Zulu cultural experiences. St. Lucia promises an unforgettable blend of wildlife, culture, and natural beauty.

Safely tucked at the southern end of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal, the quaint little town of St Lucia forms part of the picturesque Elephant Coast and occupies the most beautiful part of the coast. It has a unique ecosystem with lakes, swamps, and pristine beaches. The area’s diversity is an adventure on its own, as visitors experience a teeming hippo populace, crocodiles, varieties of bird species, and even the famous Big Five. Furthermore, KwaZulu-Natal prides itself on its rich culture and history. Therefore, visiting cultural villages in the area is another memorable must-do.

The first point of departure when visiting St Lucia is a visit to the iconic iSimangaliso Wetland Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its diverse ecosystems, from estuaries to coral reefs; visitors to this unique town and its surroundings can expect to come across the country’s largest 800-strong pod of free-roaming hippos, over 1200 crocodiles, and is a prime bird-watching spot. For a full immersion, take a St Lucia Estuary boat tour to witness the estuary’s rich birdlife, including flamingos and pelicans, and an opportunity for an up-close encounter with aquatic mammals and reptiles in their natural habitat. As the hippos are slightly more active in the afternoon, the recommendation is to take the last tour of the day and experience their fun side on a stunning sunset cruise.

Beach and Sea Adventures.

Embark on an enchanting journey along the sun-kissed shores of St Lucia, where the allure of beach and sea adventures awaits. Feel the powdery sands beneath your toes as you wander along pristine beaches fringed by lush coastal vegetation. Here are some must-try beach experiences:

Spend a day at Cape Vidal Beach: Forty-five minutes from the Bhangazi Gate on the Eastern Shore lie the stunning beaches of Cape Vidal, offering pristine soft golden sands and clear waters, ideal for swimming, snorkelling and picnics. This mesmerising shoreline with its azure waters is also where bush and beach meet, creating a rare convergence of sea, desert and grassland. Cape Vidal’s beauty and warm tropical waters will have you adding a day or three to your St Lucia itinerary. Who doesn’t need a day of lazing around at the beach when on holiday?

Enjoy a Turtle Tracking Adventure: 

Indulge in a captivating experience during the turtle nesting season, when the leatherback and loggerback hatchlings make their way to the sea.

This rare and unique activity must be experienced at least once in your lifetime. To witness this magical moment, tourists join guided tours organized by local conservation organizations, with minimal disturbance to the nesting process. The tours often occur after nightfall and always at low tide, when the turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.

Go Deep-Sea Fishing: For those seeking an adrenaline rush, St Lucia offers the perfect opportunity to explore the generosity of the Indian Ocean through deep-sea fishing adventures. Popular along the St Lucian coast, this activity invites visitors to cast their lines into the ocean’s waters, teeming with game fish like marlin, sailfish, and tuna. Experienced charters provide all the necessary equipment and guidance, ensuring a thrilling experience for both novice and seasoned anglers. The breathtaking coastal scenery and the chance to reel in impressive catches position St Lucia as a premier destination for those seeking an exhilarating deep-sea fishing experience.

Get to Know the People.

An old saying suggests that to understand a place fully, one must know its people and their way of life. In St Lucia, this involves immersing yourself in the rich Zulu culture by visiting a traditional village, where you can witness traditional dances and music, taste local cuisine, and learn about the Zulu people’s way of life and the Zulu Kingdom’s fascinating history. The locals are always willing to take you down memory lane and give you value for your money. Beyond mere storytelling, this experience offers a lived encounter with one of South Africa’s most renowned tribes, leaving a lasting impact and a wealth of knowledge.

Time Out in the Wild.

St Lucia is known for its impeccable beauty and the broad spectrum of wildlife it harbours. It is famous for offering visitors the best of both [beach and game] worlds. With these three activities, you will never go wrong, and your trip to St Lucia will leave you longing for more long after you depart:

Game Drive through Hluhluwe-uMfolozi Game Reserve: Exploring a game reserve is an essential and highly rewarding activity in St. Lucia, and Hluhluwe stands out as a prime example. As one of Africa’s oldest game reserves, it has earned global recognition for its dedicated conservation initiatives, particularly in safeguarding the endangered white rhino population. Hluhluwe proudly distinguishes itself as one of the select nature reserves in KwaZulu-Natal, home to the complete Big Five. While spotting all members of the Big Five in a single game drive is rare, opting for an afternoon game drive enhances your prospects of encountering these majestic creatures.

Eastern Shores Game Reserve: Another delightful way to unwind is a self-drive safari in this section of iSimangaliso Wetland Park. This reserve delivers stunning vistas, including lakes, grasslands, and coastal dunes. It features wildlife such as rhinos, buffalos, and species of antelopes. For the fearless, the park allows adventure-seekers to take guided safari walks in addition to self-drives and boat safaris.

Bhangazi Horse Safaris: Completing your St. Lucia adventure with bush and beach horse riding would only be comprehensive.

Racing on robust horses through the bush, surrounded by grazing wildlife, promises a lasting sense of joy that lingers well beyond the conclusion of your journey.

The close encounters with other wild creatures, such as zebra and antelope, become the focal point for many embarking on this thrilling escapade. The passionate guides add an extra layer of delight, elevating the entire experience to a worthwhile use of your time.

Visiting St Lucia provides a unique blend of wildlife, cultural experiences, and natural beauty. The region’s diversity, from wetlands to game reserves and cultural villages, offers a well-rounded experience catering to nature enthusiasts and those seeking beach living and cultural immersion. Nothing screams “put me on your bucket list” more than the beautiful town of St Lucia. Hop on that plane and experience this unique part of KwaZulu-Natal.

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