We provide lots of information so that you can experience and enjoy this extraordinary, still natural, wild environment around and nature on your doorstep. St Lucia offers activities for all ages, the fit and the brave. The weather is very humid all year and very hot in summer (November to February), always have sun protection and water with you.
St Lucia is a birding paradise. Within a 35 km area, we have 5 hot spots with different habitat. You can access all the spots yourself or get a qualified local bird guide for a few hours to help with "specials". Birding is excellent in summer with many visitors and breeding and very good in winter months too with a lot of visitors. The nearest hotspot is 50m. Visit www.birdlife.org.za for lists and other birding information. Just ask about the hotspots and we will gladly assist.
Rarities: Mangrove Kingfisher, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Southern Brown-throated Weaver
Specials: Greater Flamingo, Crested Guinea fowl, Gorgeous Bush-Shrike, Livingstone Turaco, Caspian Tern, Green Malkoha, Southern Banded Snake Eagle and Swamp Nightjar.
St Lucia offers for most types of fishing. Sea, surf, rock and deep-sea. Ensure you have your permits and license on your person when fishing and that you are familiar with minimum size and bag limits.
Fishing kayaks should launch at Cape Vidal, it is safest there.
You need your Certificates of Fitness (for boat) and Competency (skippers license) to launch in the sea at St Lucia and Cape Vidal. There are many skippers that offer deep-sea fishing at St Lucia. Ski- Boat captains must complete register at the Ski-Boat Club and acknowledge the beach safety officer.
There are 3 trails that you can walk without a guide that covers different habitats in and around the town. Ensure you have enough water and sun protection. The trails vary from 15 minutes to 2 hours and you may encounter Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Impala, Warthog, Leopard if you are really lucky and many species of birds. Do not cycle in the iGwalagwala Forest Trail, as there are many blind curves and people walking. The other trails are safer to cycle in the nature reserve area. There are No walking trails inside fenced Park areas of Western and Eastern Shores.
Drive yourself or go with a tour operator/guided from St Lucia. Wild animals/game are most active at dawn and sunset, especially during hot days. Colder, cloudy, rainy days also provide good viewing all day. Ensure you have enough petrol, food and sunscreen.
iSimangaliso Wetland Park offers the Eastern and Western Shores for game drives. Gate times: Summer (1 November) 05h00-19h00/Winter (1 April) 06h00 - 18h00. Entrance fee is per vehicle and person. The late-exit will result in a fine payable and long waiting for someone to open up.
The speed limit is 60, (beware of speed traps) drive slowly and do not kill the animals, birds and Chameleons cross the road or drive through dung with beetles. Be aware of Buffalo and Rhino when walking to the hides. Do not drive into unmarked or no entry roads, it will take hours to find you when you get stuck or lost. A limited number of vehicles over long weekends and peak season of 125 vehicles allowed into the park at any given time. Wait in line.
The area east of the lake is Eastern Shores and includes Cape Vidal and Mission Rocks with an entrance at St Lucia. There are several game-viewing roads (one-way loop roads), picnic spots, water pans, viewing decks and birding hides. The roads offer access through a variety of habitats like grasslands, pans and coastal dune forests.
The area west of the lake is Western Shores and includes Charter's Creek, a boat launch site. The entrance is on the R618 a few kilometres out of town at the Dukuduku gate. The game viewing road has one-way loop roads, picnic spots, water pans and viewing deck. The roads offer access to varied habitats like grasslands, pans and woodland forests and marshland. Speed limit applies, stay on the roads and keep within gate times.
Hluhluwe/Imfolozi Game Park has 2 entrances, Nyalazi gate (through the rural area) about 60km and Hilltop gate (via N2) about 110km. This is a big 5 park. Drive self or go with a tour operator. Entrance fees are payable at all the gates, domestic visitors take your id for discount. Gate times: Summer (1 November) 05h00-19h00/Winter (1 April) 06h00 - 18h00. Take your lunch and picnic (even braai) at one of the picnic spots. Some roads are for 4x4 vehicles only. Be aware of wild animals when at picnic areas and hides. Loop roads and viewing points along roads.
Entry is free. Park at designated parking areas. No beach driving. Be aware of ski boats and vehicles at launch sites driving on and off beaches. Car watch persons and sellers treat with caution. Ablutions at all beach access parking areas. Visit beaches during day times only. Do not take valuables onto the beach or leave your goods unattended. No alcohol allowed to be consumed whilst on the beach or car parks. Fishermen please remove your discarded bait and tackle when done fishing.
St Lucia: Be careful for sinking sand when walking close to the lakeside. You can walk to First Rocks (north) about 7 km when it is low tide.
Mission Rocks (Eastern Shores)
About 15km from St Lucia. This is a rocky beach with tidal pools and offers rock surf fishing. Low tide is best when the rocks are clear of water and the tidal pools are visible. En route to the beach, Mission Rocks offers a lookout point atop a vegetated dune (steep soft sand steps climb), viewing deck, picnic area and toilet ablution. At the beach, there is a shaded picnic area and toilet ablution. No shops, take everything with you. beware of sharp rocks (wear sensible shoes). Limited parking.
Cape Vidal (Eastern Shores)
This is a small bay with a rocky ledge on one side. Offers a camping site and log cabins managed by KZN Ezemvelo. There is a limited snack shop, outside showers, ablutions, picnic areas and a boat and fish cleaning area. The tiny bay is a popular beach for swimming (stay within the bay), basic snorkelling (no corals) and fishing. Take everything (chairs, gazebos) with you especially water to drink, braai grid too. Noting to rent there. Many fishing competitions so watch out for boats launching. Note the rip currents.
Guided only (with a tour operator), into iSimangaliso Wetland Park Eastern and Western Shores. Tours offered: sunset/sunrise drives, full night drive is 3 hours from about 20h00 to 23h00. Always check with operators the times of departure. The night drives are mostly not suited for small children and it can be really cold on the vehicles. Experience the forests at night and see nocturnal wildlife. Some tour operators include refreshments.
Known as Hippo & Crocodile boat cruise on St Lucia lake/dam. The tours are informative and educational for about 2 hours. Snacks and drinks are for sale on some large boats (carry 30 to 70 persons). The smaller 15 person barge boats, excellent for small groups. Serious photographers and birders arrange with offices. The larger flat bottom ferry type boats are accessible to disabled persons, wheelchairs and more comfortable for small children.
Outside of whale season only. These are boat-based deep-sea trips that take you for about 2 hours looking for sea mammals (dolphins, flying fish etc.) It is an activity for those who have never been on a boat in the sea, a once in a life time adventure experience. (No persons with back problems or pregnant ladies). You will get wet so wear shoes and clothes that can get wet. (Minimum persons and weather dependant).
Seasonal from 1 June to 31 November. One legal permit holder for Whale watching in St Lucia and Richards Bay. This is a deep-sea boat-based trip. Trips are weather permitting and you have to sign an indemnity form. Trips start very early in the morning and are about 2 hours. Be totally blown away by the size of the Humpback Whales, see flying fish and dolphins too. Pregnant women, those with spine and back problems and small children should rather opt for the whale watching from Richards Bay as the launch is safer through the harbour. It is then a 4-5 hour trip including 2+ hours drive there and back.
Leather-back and Loggerhead Sea Turtles nest on the beaches from St Lucia northwards. Guided tours only on the beach at Cape Vidal. The tour is from early evening to early morning depending on the tides. The tours include night drives to and from Cape Vidal, driving on the beach northwards and snacks and refreshments and a walk on the beach. From January the eggs hatch and a few lucky people witness the scurry to get to the water and others see the enormous females dig and lay eggs, conceal it and return to the sea. Turtle Tours are offered at Sodwana Bay too.
Horse rides offered are on the beach or in the bush or a combination of both. Tours are from 1 hour and you do not have to know how to ride. Maximum weight of the rider is 90kg. Booking is essential. Beach rides are only done during low tide. Wear long pants and shoes. Children must be accompanied by parents as this is not pony rides.
Bring your own or rent. The town itself offers a ride around the town of just under 10km. Safety helmets must be worn. Sandy and forest trails behind the crocodile centre and beach road through a nature park with Zebra and other animals. Not as easy at it looks and not flat area.
In St Lucia, entrance fee payable. Open daily 8 am to 4 pm. It is an educational museum tour with live crocodiles of different ages and different types and cycad garden. Saturdays from 14h00 there is an educational talk with live specimens and they feed the big crocodiles. Sundays some feeding too, confirm at the centre. The centre has a small curio shop and tea room which is open sometimes.
The highest vegetated sand dune in the Wetland Park is 183m at Maphelane. The road there from N2 is in terrible condition and is managed by KZN Ezemvelo/Wildlife. Can walk on the beach if the river mouth is sanded closed.
This activity can only be done at Sodwana Bay only about 175 km from St Lucia. There are many reefs and experienced guides, skippers and trainers. Bring your own equipment or rent. Lots of speed humps on road at and potholes the last few kilometres from Mbazwana. Day visitors fee is payable to access the beach. Spar and other shops at Mbazwana, restaurants and coffee shop. Dives are very early and it is best to stay over at Sodwana. You have to use one of the diving operators.
This little town is about 87 km and you can easily make a day trip there. In town you can visit Ilala Weavers Basketry export showroom and museum, there is also a restaurant and a small coffee shop.
At Bushlands (just before the town) you can visit the Emdoneni Cat Breeding Project – booking essential. Open to the public twice a day only, so enquire first and feeding of cats is late afternoon. Also visit the traditional Zulu kraal Dumazulu with curio shop and coffee shop, 3 shows per day. Bird park next door.
En route, stop at Zamimpilo Craft Market for Zulu pottery, mats and other wooden craft as well as fruit in season. The market is operated and managed by women of the community, many of them making the craft for sale, themselves. Cash only.
About 12 km from St Lucia is a farmer's community. Monzi also boasts a 9 -18 hole golf course shared with wildlife, country house (lunch & bar), Cane Rat home industry offers fresh farm produce (in season) eggs, frozen meals and delicious treats also tea garden, Maywood Plant Nursery is also close by. CaneCutter's Bird Park offers a lot for small children with games and petting animals and also a small coffee shop on site.
Ster Kinekor movie house in Zinkwazi Shopping Centre/Mall. Small Craft Harbour has restaurants and picnic areas. Beach access is free but very crowded from noon.
INDEMNITY: St Lucia Wilds cc and staff are not affiliated or endorse any activities, tours or tour operators mentioned. The information is purely advertising and informative. We are not a booking agent and take no responsibility for changes in details below.
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