Right on the doorstep of Bushlands Game Lodge, St Lucia is not to be missed. With beaches that you just can't wait to sink into, the sand is very hot, remember your flip flops and of course a trip by boat over the waters to get right up close to the hippos and crocs whilst enjoying a sundowner on board, you can't beat it.
Mkuze is apart of the Kwazulu-Natal Park system. It is really an extention of the St. Lucia Greater Wetlands park. You can rent a car at Imperial rent a car and use St. Lucia Resort as a base to explore the park, although it is a bit far. You may want to camp at Mkhuze as it is a great option and cheap. Animals are free to move into both areas. Here you kind find wildlife in a beautiful landscape. The best part about the reserves in Kwazulu-Natal are the game hides. They are the best in South Africa and quite possibly the best in Africa (Quite a daring statement I know).
There are no lion or buffalow in the park. However, leopard and hyena are here as well as elephant (which are now in the northern part of the park and can be difficult to spot). This is a great place for birders. The varied terraine, the shallow lake system as well as the location makes Mkuze a great place for resident and migratory birds.
The Kumasinga Hide here is one of the most amazing hides I have ever seen. You can sit by the hours and watch the animals. No driving! It's great, it really is.
There are no tours to Mkhuze that I am aware of. Go to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserves if you want a tour.
Check out my Mkuze Page for more detailed information.
A Cruise up the St,Lucia Estuary &, there are two trained guides on board . The boat tour takes approximately 1 1/2 , and it was a great tour , it would have been better yet if it did not rain that day.We saw many Hippos whole Herds of them. The Santa Lucia tour boat is comfortable and seats 80 passengers, it has two decks (top deck best view) and it has bathroom facility and you can buy a cup of Tea or some other refreshments.
Three daily Trips 8.30 ,10.30 , 14.30 pm. Fridays and Saterdays a Sundown trip will leave at 16.00 pm.
You should not miss the sundown on the beautiful waterways of St. Lucia.
You can take also a boat cruise into the big wide ocean and go on a whale watch cruise. This is no fun cruise, this is an adventure, a fast boat will take you in a high speed into the deep ocean and will hunt for you the whale, the chances in St Lucia for seeing a whale is very good and so we did and it wasn't a disappointment. Just be prepared to get socking wet, go with light cloths and sandals for this trip, but maybe also something to keep you warn from the sea wind.
The St Lucia Wetlands Park is heaven for bird watching, you will see and hear birds where ever you go, they are everywhere, by the sea, lake and in the forest, not always easy to catch them on camera but here are few nice one I did manage to catch.
Make sure you take the 2 hour boat tour. You will see lots of crocodile and hippos as well as many birds including goliath heron, grey herons, and african fish eagles. You may have excellent opportunties to get up close to the hippos and crocs.
There are several boats that leave from St. Lucia Resort from the pier on the west side of the village near BiB's International Backpackers. The tours leave in the morning at 8am, 10:30am and in the afternoon at 3pm. I recommend the afternoon tour so you can be on the water during sunset.
The cost is R100 and can be booked at the backpackers or the many travel agents in town.
Make sure you get to the pier 20 minutes early.
The St Lucia Wetlands Park is the 3rd largest national park in South Africa, offering wide range and diversity of activities and opportunities to see the nature the way it is. In the next few tips I just try to describe in brief what I saw in this beautiful place.
Inside the St. Lucia Game Reserve you can take several nice walks from Mission Rocks located 13 km north of the Croc Center and park gate. The Emoyeni trail and Mziki trail heads are here. Now it would seem from the literature that you need to book these trails. The whole Mziki trail is a self guided trail that costs around R40 per day and takes 3 days walking 40 km. The Emoyeni trail requires a guide and costs R30 per day takes 5 days walking 65 km.
I don't see what is keeping one from make day walks of these trails. The Mziki trail goes out to Mfazana Pan and to several lakes. These lakes are great places to see a variety of water birds including these that I spotted:
great white egret
black smith plover
You may also see hippos in the pools as well as red duiker, kudu, impala, waterbuck, wildebeest, steenbok. We were also very fortunate to see a savanah monitor lizard and a leopard.
Along the trail we saw leopard prints and hippo tracks everywhere and sure enough at one of the pools the leopard came out to check things out and jumped back into the jungle. Fantastic!
The Emoyeni trail goes to the catalina wreck in the St. Lucia lake. Those catalinas were very active during WWII to hunt German subs.
I really recommend taking one of these walks.
Take care and look out for dangerous animals. Buffalo, elephant, black rhino, leopard, hippo, and croc live here.
Turtles weighing just shy of 400kg, and in some cases more than a ton, glide effortlessly through the warm Indian Ocean. They are on their way to a place they know only from a few hours spent there after their birth. They drag their gravity-stricken bodies from the waves and haul themselves towards some of the highest forested dunes in Africa. Their smaller, mollusk-crushing cousins follow...
This could be a description of a scene from a science fiction movie, but it's not.
This turtle season (November to March) you have the unique opportunity to view the gigantic Leatherback- and smaller Loggerhead Turtles at their ancestral nesting ground - bringing forth a new generation. Our search will take us into the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park Marine Sanctuary, North of Cape Vidal - even as far as Kosi Bay.
Late at night the mystery unfolds as female turtles make their way up the beach to a chosen location. Once the area has been prepared for nesting, the eggs are deposited into an egg pot (burrow), covered and concealed. Most females nest an average of 10 times in a season, and this, of course, improves our chances of seeing them.
The young hatch approximately two months later, and begin their own battle for survival. Watching these little creatures scurry towards the relative safety of the ocean has been described as a spiritual experience.
Departure times vary according to the tides. Rates vary from season to season, and include a delicious dinner and drinks on the beach.
Compare to many other places in Africa, in some of the areas here it is perfectly safe to hike and take a walk in the wild. Actually there are even guided 4 days Wilderness Trail if you wish including overnights stay in a camp.
It seems fishing is rather popular here, I saw many do so, in this photo you can see well equipped vehicle going fishing by the sea. Did he get anything? At the time I was watching I didn’t see anything coming up.
The St. Lucia Croc Centre was set up to help protect and conserve St. Lucia’s Nile crocodile population. There are many pools of crocodiles on displace from various ages and types. There are baby crocs, juvenile crocs, some old crocs, as well as some North American alligators, dwarf crocodiles and long snout crocodiles from other parts of the world. Croc feeding takes every Saturday at 15:00 as well as 18:30 on Wednesday.
There is also a snake collection featuring many of the regional poisonous snakes. There is a snake demonstration given every Saturday afternoon at 14:00
There are some displays of the ecology and geology of the St. Lucia lake system including the sea, beach, dunes, grasslands and lakes. Some are little cheesy but still informative. There is a curio shop with some interesting croc souvenirs and books as well as a cycad plant nursery.
Light lunches, dinners, and drinks are served at the Tea Garden.
One of the most hysterical signs can be seen here. Check it out on my St. Lucia Page
From the Croc Center there are several trails that actually go into St. Lucia Game Reserve. There is a loop trail and a lake trail that takes you to the lake side. The trails are fairly well marked. You have a good chance to see zebra, wildebeest, warthog, and hippo if you go to the lake. I also spotted crowned hornbill for bird enthusiats, a mangrove crab if you enjoy shell fish, and a dung beetle if your hobby is entomology. Along the lake you have an opportunity to see a mangrove forest. It's quite facinating.
Look out though! This is leopard, buffalo, elephant, croc, black rhino and hippo country. So be carefull
One of the best parts about coming here for a walk is it's free. You don't get charged admission.
Hluhluwe (shlo-shlo-wee) is apart of the Kwazulu-Natal Park system and is located 15km West off of the N12. You can rent a car at Imperial rent a car and use St. Lucia Resort as a base to explore the park. If you don't like this cheaper and better option there are full day and half day tours of the area that can be booked at the backpackers or many of the travel agencies in town.
Hluhluwe is really one park with Umfolozi to the South. Both are connected by a corridor so the animals can move freely between both parks. Here you kind find wildlife in a beautiful landscape. The best part about thereserves in Kwazulu-Natal are the game hides. They are the best in South Africa and quite possibly the best in Africa (Quite a daring statement I know).
These parks are particulary known for their populations of white rhino and wild dog.
See my Hluhluwe Page for more detail information.
Umfolozi is apart of the Kwazulu-Natal Park system and is 50 Km North North-West of Mtubatuba and about 80 from St. Lucia. It is really one park with Hluhluwe to the North. Both are connected by a corridor so the animals can move freely between both parks.
You can rent a car at Imperial rent a car and use St. Lucia Resort as a base to explore the park. If you don't like this cheaper and better option there are full day and half day tours of the area that can be booked at the backpackers or many of the travel agencies in town.
Here you kind find wildlife in a beautiful landscape. The best part about the reserves in Kwazulu-Natal are the game hides. They are the best in South Africa and quite possibly the best in Africa (Quite a daring statement I know).
The park is particularly known for its large populations of white rhino. They can be found just about everywhere, but always seem to swing by the water holes late in the day and hang out for a long time. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi was one of the last bastions for white rhino and now many other parks get their rhinos stocked from here.
See my Imfolozi Page for more detailed information.