Big Five Game Reserves and Safaris
Hluhluwe Game Reserve
Hluhluwe Game Reserve Less than 15 minutes drive from Country Rose. What awaits is 2 world renowned big 5 game reserves – Hluhluwe and the Imfolozi . Hluhluwe/ Imfolozi is a big 5 game reserve – Set in the heart of Zululand, the oldest game reserve in Africa where Zulu kings such as Dingiswayo and Shaka hunted and put in place the first conservation laws, where today the “big five” of African legend stalk the verdant savannah.
Imfolozi Game Reserve
Imfolozi covers some 96 000 ha and an immense diversity of fauna and flora occurs in this region. Larger mammals to be seen include buffalo, blue wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, elephant, and large numbers of impala, waterbuck, common and mountain reedbuck, nyala, kudu, bushbuck, steenbuck, duiker, warthog, black rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyaena and jackal. In excess of 300 species of birds have been recorded.
Isimangilso World Heritage Site
Quote by former President Nelson Mandela regarding the St. Lucia Wetland Park, World Heritage Site.
“Sun, Sea, Sand & Safari All in One Area – The St. Lucia Wetland Park must be the only place on the globe where the world’s oldest land mammal (the rhinoceros) the world’s largest terrestrial mammal ( African elephant) share an ecosystem with the world’s oldest fish (Coelacanth) and the world’s largest marine mammal (whale).”
The Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park is a United Nations World Heritage Site located on the Indian Ocean coast of South Africa near the borders with Mozambique and Swaziland. The park encompasses several different conservation areas centered on Lake St. Lucia, its tidal estuary, neighbouring game reserves, and the St. Lucia Marine Reserve, which extends offshore into the Mozambique Strait.
Kit up with a kayak, paddle and nerves of steel and hit the water for a two-and-a-half-hour guided cruise with a difference.
Wildlife around the St Lucia Estuary
Wildlife is plentiful but you need to really look for it. There are many antelope in the forests (and in the Cape Vidal campground – see pic) including Reedbuck, Kudu, Nyala, Waterbuck, Impala and Duiker. Warthhogs and bush pigs are relatively easy to surprise.
Wildebeest can be seen in the grasslands. You can also see hippo and crocs in the water. Buffalo and elephant are in the forest, so they say. We have seen hyena spoor on the beach. Birdwatching is great – there are 3 habitats to be found: forest, grassland and water. 420 bird species have been recorded in the park.
The St Lucia Wetlands 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.
Cape Vidal is more of resort area than a park. It has beautiful beaches where people like to sun themselves, kick the football around, fish, and snorkel. The dunes here run all along the coast and are 150 m high. The dune forests are fascinating and have an abundance of interesting life in them.
Look out for the rare Samango Monkey. There are also plenty of vervet monkey so look out for them. They will steel your food.
Horse riding at iSiMangaliso Wetland Park is a great way to explore the wildlife in the area. Rides take place in the south of the park where you could see zebra, wildebeest, bushbuck, warthog, duiker and impala. Beach rides are also available.
The shoreline in northern Kwa-Zulu Natal and Mozambique is regarded as some of the best fishing spots in the country.
Cape Vidal is well set up for fishing – bait is available from the main shop. In the village of St Lucia, you can buy everything you possibly need for fishing, if you have left it at home.
You will need a permit to fish at Cape Vidal – in the reserve. This can be bought from the reception office in the resort of Cape Vidal. There, you will also get a guide on what fishes are allowed, and the required sizes to keep your catch.
The Park provides opportunities for mountain-biking at False Bay and the St Lucia Estuary. These rides are suitable for the novice to intermediate rider and vary in length from 15 to 25 km on sand tracks, trails, gravel roads and tar.
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
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Diving in Kwa Zulu Natal and specifically around Cape Vidal is a blend of some of the best scuba diving in the world, pristine beaches, sunshine, game parks, animals and safaris – all set against a tropical Indian Ocean paradise.
There are over 1200 species of Indo-Pacific tropical fish. Hundreds of species of hard and soft corals and sponges have been identified to date along with at least 25 shark and ray species.
Five species of sea turtle, the hawksbill, green, olive ridley, loggerhead and leatherback (Sodwana is a nesting site for loggerhead and leatherback turtles) not to mention the big stuff like humpback whales, whale sharks, nurse sharks, manta rays, dolphins, marlin and sailfish all found along this coast-line.
Enjoy a round of one of two of the best “9-holers” in South Africa (as listed by Golf Digest). “Monzi and Umfolozi, two notable, albeit remote, 9-holers close to each other in Zululand, north of Richards Bay.
Monzi is in sugar-cane country on the R618 between Mtubatuba and St Lucia, while Umfolozi is at Riverview, where there’s a sugar mill. Both provide memorable and challenging golf experiences in pleasant settings.” Monzi
There are also tennis courts at Mozi as well as a bowling club in St Lucia.
The Turtle Tours are seasonal trips where you experience the miracle of the reproduction of the Leatherback Turtles (weighs up to 900kg) and the Loggerhead Turtles on the beaches north of St. Lucia in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Step into the world of these amazing and ancient reptiles as they dodge sharks offshore and humans, crabs, badgers and jackals on-shore to return to and hatch from these ancient nesting grounds.
Up close and personal with the magnificent Zulu people… Embark on a tour of Khula Village and initiate yourself into a history and culture that is alive and rich in its diversity. Conducted by tour guides who themselves are Zulus and local residents, this is an opportunity that should be embraced by every South African and tourist alike. On arrival at Khula Village the visitor is met with an exact replica of a traditional Zulu “Kraal”.
The mysticism of the Sangoma (witch doctor) is unveiled with a visit to her “hut” where an introduction to her herbal and magical medicine takes place. For a nominal fee you can receive a personalised fortune telling from this ancient soothsayer. A tour of the surrounding area portrays Zulu life in the region today with many of the local people opening their homes to tourists. It is here that they will show off their beautiful beadwork, various crafts and the looms that produce their much sought after mats which often form the basis of their livelihood.
If you want to go whale watching in St. Lucia, this tour is for you. Cut across the tranquil turquoise blue of the Caribbean as your whale and dolphin spotting tour leaves from the North Island. As you cruise the beautiful calm of St. Lucia’s waters, your captain will direct you to the best spots for viewing a host of whales and dolphins.
See sperm whales, pilot whales, spinner dolphins, bottle nose dolphins and more! Snap photos of St. Lucia’s tropical coastline, fishing villages and deserted coves. This St. Lucia whale watching excursion makes for a highly memorable day – be sure to bring your sunscreen and your camera!
Tucked away in St Lucia at the end of McKenzie Street you will find the most wonderful market. Here you can find a vast selection of curios and fresh produce. Local farm producing paw-paws, bananas, avocado pears, macadamia nuts and so much more bring this fresh produce to the market.
Everybody loves a bargain, so be prepared to haggle with the friendly vendors to agree on a price suitable to you both! This market has a great atmosphere, is busy and is filled with an array of interesting people with fascinating things or services to sell.