I Love St Lucia Because …
GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN AT the estuary mouth with a backdrop of Mapelane, the highest vegetated dune in the world.
THE BEST wildlife PICTURES CAN BE TAKEN while on a safari with one of the many tour operators who will guide you on an unforgettable journey through the famous uMfolozi/Hluhluwe Game Reserve where the Big Five will be happy to pose for you.
OTHER HAPPY SNAPS AT Cape Vidal, which one of our international guests described as “the most spectacular beach in the world”. There you can snorkel, swim, suntan, kayak, walk along the beach and picnic at the many picnic spots while spotting a Samango monkey or two!
WHEN THE WEATHER’S GOOD, which is often, I LIKE TO visit the pristine beach to either relax on the sand, swim or surf in the sea or walk for miles in either direction along the uninhabited coast line. Alternatively I love to drive through the iSimangaliso Wetland Park or iMfolozi/Hluhuwe Game Reserves to spot an animal or five!
WHEN THE WEATHER’S BAD, which is rare, I LIKE TO visit the Crocodile Centre and watch the array of crocs, snakes and terrapins. Or take a cultural tour to the Zulu village to experience tribal dancing and ethnic food!
I THINK THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT IS all year round, BECAUSE there are more than three hundred days of sunshine a year and the climate is mild in winter and hot in summer. From May to December you can enjoy whale watching, while from December through to March, turtle tours are a must!
MY FAVOURITE BREAKFAST SPOT IS on the beach at dawn, where the spectacular sunrises will feed your soul.
FOR LUNCH, I SUGGEST St Lucia Ski-boat Club, where you can sit on the deck and watch the hippos and crocodiles basking in the sun on the sand banks.
MY FAVOURITE RESTAURANT IS Ocean Basket, TRY THE Sushi and seafood platters.
MY FAVOURITE chill-out SPOT IS Catalina Bay where you can witness the most amazing sun-sets while enjoying a sun-downer.
FOR A NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN TRY only ‘night club’ in town – it’s the largest in the world. Entrance is free, it is well air-conditioned, and we often have over a million stars appearing on any of the more than three hundred nights that we open for business. As well as our super stars, we have a number of nocturnal antelopes, owls and crocs that can be seen by driving the streets and scanning the estuary on the way home from dinner.
Our ‘night club’ also runs a ‘day club’ on a regular basis. Entrance is also free – doors open from first light over the ocean and close with beautiful sunsets over the estuary. All you have to do is walk, jog or cycle through the streets at your leisure, and you will have a good chance of bumping into a variety of our furry or feathered friends. Warthog, Bushbuck, Kudu and Red Duiker play hide and seek in the park thickets or surrounding bush. Vervet Monkeys can often be seen getting into some sort of mischief among the houses and Banded Mongoose troops will surprise you by popping out of the street drains in their search for forage.
Over five hundred bird species are found in and around the village. You are bound to see a Hornbill telling anyone who wants to listen that he has the whole world on his shoulder. Or the noisy “bark” of an impatient Toraco calling his mate to join him. High above, the distinct clarion call of the fish eagle can echo across the sky while pink-back pelicans, with out-stretched landing gear, are sometimes seen as they head for the fish-full waters of the estuary mouth just south of the village.
IF YOU WANT TO MEET LOCALS, GO for an after dinner stroll around the village. Just be careful you don’t bump into a hippo family wandering along the pavement, grazing the sweat sidewalk grass!
St Lucia’s BEST KEPT SECRET IS the fact that it’s the “undiscovered eco- jewel of the east coast!”.
Former president, Nelson Mandela, once said “The St Lucia Wetlands Park must be the only place on the globe where the world’s oldest land mammal (the rhinoceros) and the world’s biggest terrestrial mammal (the African elephant) share an ecosystem with the world’s oldest fish (the coelacanth) and the world’s biggest marine mammal (Whale)”.
MY FAVOURITE THING TO DO WITH FRIENDS IS head for the beach on a starry night and enjoy a braai or picnic while one of the many talented locals strums away on his guitar.
FOR SOME LIVE MUSIC, I LIKE TO GO TO Ocean Sizzler and listen to Brian, one of the afore-mentioned musicians, singing and playing his guitar.
TO RELAX AND RESTORE MY SOUL, I LIKE TO drive along the Eastern-shores of Lake St Lucia to one of the prettiest beaches in the world – Cape Vidal.
IF YOU’RE FEELING ADVENTUROUS, TRY kayaking on the estuary among the hippos and crocodiles with an experienced guide.
MY FAVOURITE WALK IS along the iGwala Trail to spot one of the more than 500 bird species that are found in the area.
MY FAVOURITE DRIVE IS through the Wetland Park, along the eastern shores of Lake St Lucia, where you can spot Rhino, Warthog, Wildebeest, Zebra, Buffalo, Monkeys , many Antelope species and even the elusive Leopard against a backdrop of coastal dunes and the wonderful ,wild,wetland sounds that emanate from the many large marsh pans that abound.
MY FAVOURITE hippo WATCHING SPOT IS aboard one of the Estuary cruise-boats that do regular two-hour trips every day.
MY FAVOURITE BUILDINGS ARE the log cabins nestled into the dunes,wrapped in climax forest and overlooking the sea at Mapelane.
TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN? Outdoor activities for children, in fair weather, are endless including hiking, cycling, swimming, kite surfing, jogging and many more. As the village is surrounded by a natural heritage site the norm is early to bed early to rise so ‘clubbing” is very limited. If you have young children be sure to bring cards and games to keep them amused during inclement weather that occasionally arrives to water our wonderland.
BEST CHEAP AND CHEERFUL OUTING IS packing a picnic lunch and taking the dogs for a stroll for as long as we like in either direction along the uninhabited beaches, catching a bit of sun and then cooling off in the waves.
WHEN MONEY’S NO OBJECT, I LIKE TO take a whale-watching trip out to sea to watch the whales, dolphins and flying fish.
THE MOST UNUSUAL THING I SEE HERE ARE hippos grazing on the side-walks at night or walking along the village pavements under a bright star-lit sky.
MY FAVOURITE WEEKEND GETAWAY IS driving slowly through the lake St Lucia eastern shores to Cape Vidal taking in the beautiful coastal dune landscape and all the wild animals that happen to cross our path. On arrival, to set up camp in the recently upgraded campsite and then head on down to the beach so the kids can go snorkeling and surfing, I can put a line into the ocean with all my tension build-up and stress tied to my sinker – and my wife can park off on the beach with a good book to relax in the sunshine.
WHEN I WANT TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY, I can assist the iSimangaliso Wetland Park authority with a number of local empowerment schemes they are actively promoting.
I Love St Lucia BECAUSE we do not have to have festivals or major events to promote the village as its natural beauty, interlinking eco systems,and outdoor activities are enough of an attraction to both local and international tourists . The area was recognised as the first South African conservation area over a hundred years ago and it has remained a protected area ever since. We have the biggest museum in the world. It has no walls and what we have on display is not found in glass display boxes as they are alive and need lots of room to present themselves.
iGwalagwala Guest House
iGwalagwala Guest House is located in The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, now known as Isimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s first natural World Heritage Site. This entire coastline including the surrounding big five game reserves is known as the Elephant Coast. iGwala is the Zulu word for the Turaco (Loerie) bird found in abundance in the tropical gardens of our establishment and the surrounding area. The whole area is a birders’ paradise.
St Lucia Kakay Safaris: +27 (0)35 590-1233
Crocodile Centre: +27 (0)35 590-1386
St Lucia Ski-boat Club: +27 (0)35 590-1376
Ocean Basket: +27 (0)35 590-1241
The Ocean Sizzler: +27 (0)35 590-1554
Hippo Cruise: +27 (0)35 590-1162
Whale Watching Cruise: +27 (0)35 590-1259