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St. Lucia is the tourist center of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (formerly Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park). The small town lies at the mouth of the Lake St. Lucia lagoon on a narrow landmark, bounded by the St. Lucia Estuary in the west and the Indian Ocean to the east.
The subtropical climate, splendid expansive beaches, the world ‘s tallest sand dunes, hippos, crocodiles and a diverse bird world, excellent fishing possibilities in the lagoon and the sea, hiking trails, numerous accommodations for every purse, restaurants and bars, supermarkets, boat rental and tour organizers Everything makes St. Lucia the most popular resort on the Elephant Coast.
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There are several daily boat trips from the boatmen to the lagoon of St. Lucia. For the participants, the whole variety of this unique wet biotope opens up with its enormous wealth of plants and animals. The boats ride very close to the hippo families, so you can observe and photograph the fascinating – but very dangerous – colossi from the smallest distance. In the evening one sees hippos often in the gardens of the hotels and occasionally even pull through the streets of the place.
Crocodiles can be seen on the lagoon. If you want to get close to them, you should visit the Crocodile Center north of the village center. Immediately afterwards the Mfabeni Wildlife Reserve begins. In the 30000 hectare nature reserve, buffaloes and elephants are found – along with river horses and crocodiles. The park offers excellent opportunities for multi-day wilderness hikes.
From Durban you drive about 300 km north to the small town of St.Lucia, right on the coast of KwaZulu-Natal. The place is located at the mouth of the Lake St. Lucia lagoon on a narrow landmark, bordered by St.Lucia Estuary to the west and the Indian Ocean to the east. The island of St. Lucia on the Indian Ocean is the starting point for Hluhluwe Park and the St. Lucia Wetlands with blown sand dunes and green scrub lands. They make a boat safari across the St. Lucia River and discover grunting hippos in the river and crocodiles along the river bank. Alternatively, we can book a safari in the Hluhluwe Park, where you can be lucky to see not only the Big Five, but also the endangered black rhinoceros. You’ll stay in a small guest house near the centre of St. Lucia, within walking distance of the many restaurants.
Along the R618 you can see many sales stands for carving on the roadside, here also beautiful bizarre roots are polished and offered as sculpture. Unfortunately too much big for a holiday suitcase. Just before the bridge over the water arm of the St.Lucia Estuary and thus the village center, a path branches off to the left from the main road to the Siyabonga Craft Market.
The location of St.Lucia is the ideal starting point for a visit to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and why not only the most sought-after metropolitan oasis in this green subtropical oasis, but also numerous tourists from overseas. In August one should avoid the place, then it becomes extremely crowded here.
The village was mentioned for the first time in 1554 by survivors of the Portuguese ship Saint Benedict. One called the place “Rio de Areias de Ouro” – river of the golden sand, the Tugela river was called St.Lucia. In 1575 river and place received the present name.
Just 60 kms take the R618 from St.Lucia Village west to Nyalazi Gate, the nearest entrance to the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve. Quite far for a day trip, because one also in the park still several kilometers with low speed.
The cityscape of St.Lucia is very manageable, the few streets are chessboard-shaped and almost everything life takes place along the main road, the Mackenzie Street. Here there are wide citizen walks for the pedestrians and partly dense tree tops, a small market and various restaurants, shops and cafes. They are joined by boat rental companies and tour organizers, which makes St.Lucia one of the most popular resorts on the Elephant Coast.
The manageable remnant of the place is pure residential area and like most tourist centres in South Africa generously laid out. If you are walking at night, you should pay attention to Hippos. The animals come to eat on land and also in the gardens of the residential areas, a direct encounter should be avoided if possible. A torch is useful, especially for the drivers to see one better.
On the country side of the village is the canal, which drains the St.Lucia Wetlands, where numerous hippos and crocodiles live and you can enjoy wonderful sunsets.