The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park is South Africa's first Natural World Heritage Site and was declared on 01 December 1999 by UNESCO protocol. The Park comprises 328000 hectares with 280km coastline. The Lake St Lucia is 85 kilometers long from north to south and is home to hippo, crocodiles, 114 fish species and 526 species of birds. For a large number of migratory brides and also the endangered leather back turtles this is the end of their route. The natural scenery comprises rivers, lakes, marsh, mangrove swamps and vegetated sand dunes. The Spirit of Africa is alive in St Lucia and enough to come back for!
Illala Weavers Craft Village:
Was established 30 years ago to assist woman whose husbands worked in cities elsewhere. Today it supports 1500 local Zulu crafter who produce carvings, bead work and woven baskets of superb quality. Many of these craftsmen have received International acclaim locally and abroad. Some work pieces can bee seen in Museums and in the South African Parliament.
Dumazulu Cultural Village:
Dumazulu meaning "Thundering Zulu" and is the only Cultural kraal in Zululand which have been personally opened by the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, a direct decent of King Shaka. The kraal residents form part of the "living Museum" and carry out age old manufacturing traditions including spear, shield, clay pot making, bead work, basket making and Sangoma bone throwing. The cultural show culminates in spectacular and vibrant Zulu dancing. Lunch is served at 12h30 and consists of typical South African cuisine.
This unique facility was established to conserve the diminishing numbers of Nile crocodile and has been expanded into an education center with a curio shop, snake park and cycad garden. A Number of other crocodile species have also been added. Guided tours are available and bi-weekly feedings are done on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 15h00. Self walk visits can also be done at any time during office hours.
Boat Tour - Hippos and Crocs:
There are over 1000 hippos in the St Lucia Lake and is an important component of the aquatic ecosystem in feeding a massive food chain. Feeding at night in the vast grass marshland and releasing tones of nutrient rich dung into the lake during the day. The nutrified waters support fish, birds, crocodiles and invertebrates. Estimates of crocodile population in the St Lucia Lake numbers more than 1500 and they feed on fish and birds. Organized boat tours allow you to access the fringe mangrove forests, basking hippos, crocodiles and a variety of aquatic birds.
Mfabeni Game Park and Cape Vidal:
A Guided visit to the Eastern Shores and Cape Vidal will give you the opportunity to explore the resident fauna in the Mfabeni Game Park during a game drive while on the way to a magnificent swimming and snorkeling beach at Cape Vidal. Also visit the Bat's Cave at Mission rocks and other breathtaking viewpoints.
Guided Fishing safaris:
These offshore adventures are expertly guided by registered guides and boats. Various fish species can be caught and especially during the early summer months game fish such as Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, Barracuda and Dorado are available.
Seasonal whale watching trips from May to October are done daily, weather permitting, to view some of the thousands of Humpback Whales migrating to the tropics. The Humpback whales are usually in groups of ± 4 and feed on schooling fish and krill. They weigh approximately 700kg at birth and reach up to 40 tones once fully grown. Boat-based tours are done and allow you to get within 200 to 300 meters from the whales. Although the Humpback whale is the dominant species that occur in these waters the Minke whale and the Southern Right whale also often appears.
Turtle tours: (In Season)
The entire coastline of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park is an important breeding ground for the Leather back and Loggerhead turtles. The ancient nesting ritual starts towards the end of October every year. Turtle tours are available from November to March, and seats are limited. Regular sightings are made of Leather back (900kg) and Loggerhead turtles nesting in the Titanium-rich sands. This tour starts at 19h00 and often lasts until 02h00 in the morning and includes a light dinner and a night drive.
Various Riding trails are available on to the beach and to view the fauna and flora. These are conducted daily, weather permitting, under the guidance of an expert horseman and qualified field guide.
Game drives at night:
During a guided vehicle tour can be done after dark to explore the nocturnal activities of resident fauna on the Eastern shores in the Mfabeni Game Park. Here you can see everything from chameleons, aardvark, Bushpig, various antelope, porcupine, night jars, owls, hippos, elephant and leopard.
Hluhluwe and Umfolozi Game Parks:
One of the largest Game Parks in South Africa, the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Park is renowned for its wide variety of birds and animal life. Besides the Big Five, cheetah, wild dogs and many other well known bush veld species inhabit the Park, offering the visitors a rich game viewing experience. The Park covers 96000 hectares, and comprises three reserves: Hluhluwe and Umfolozi - two of Africa's oldest game reserves, both founded in 1895 - and the linking Corridor Reserve, proclaimed in 1989. Game drives are done daily in game viewing vehicles under the guidance of well qualified guide.
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