PRIVATE GAME PARKS
Hluhluwe iMfolozi Game Park
Manyoni Private Game Reserve
(previously Zululand Rhino Reserve)
PROVINCIAL GAME PARKS
B&Bs & HOTELS
St Lucia Eco LodgeSt Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal
St Lucia Ecolodge is nestled between the St Lucia Estuary, the Indian Ocean and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and is an ideal point from which to explore South Africa’s first World Heritage Site. The region is blessed with an all round summer, making it comfortable throughout the year.
St Lucia Ecolodge has been a favourite with South African and overseas leisure & business visitors for the past eighteen years. A Lodge of this nature is a rare find on the sought after Elephant Coast of KwaZulu-Natal and is within easy reach of the major cities and the newly booming metropolitan areas of Richards Bay and Empangeni.
The lodge adjoins the rich diversity of Zululand's wetland lakes and forests, while the sea and game reserves are a mere stones throw away. In fact hippo, leopard and a myriad of smaller mammals are residents or frequent visitors to the gardens of St Lucia!
St Lucia Ecolodge offers accommodation consisting of a large bedroom, lounge, full bathroom and shower, fully kitted out kitchenette and verandah with garden furniture. Enjoy our warm, extremely comfortable and relaxed home from home atmosphere.
Accommodation choices are bed and breakfast or self catering.
We have two superbly appointed conference facilities.
A swimming pool and deck overlooking the wetland.
80-seater Hog & Hippo Bistro.
Comfortable executive lounge, bar and deck with views over the wetlands.
The swimming pool is set in the lush tropical gardens.
There is ample secure parking on the premises.
The Lapa with its wooden sundeck and cosy bar offers magnificent views over the wetlands.
Tours and Activities
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) and 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 iSimangaliso 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 Straight.
Wildlife in and around the Estuary
Wildlife is plentiful! There are many antelope in the forests including Reedbuck, Kudu, Nyala, Waterbuck, Impala and Duiker. Warthogs 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. We have seen hyena spoor on the beach. Birdwatching is great - there are 3 habitats to be found: forest, grassland and water. 526 bird species have been recorded in the park.
Hippo and Croc Tours
Lake St Lucia is home to thousands of hippos and crocodiles and a boat trip on the estuary is guaranteed to have great sightings. Keep an eye out for fantastic birdlife including African Fish Eagles and Kingfishers. The Mangroves lining the lake are both beautiful and interesting. Sunsets on the boat are fantastic, a perfect way to end the day.
Cape Vidal Wetland Tours
Part of the Eastern Shores Game Reserve, Cape Vidal 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 150m high. The dune forests are fascinating and have an abundance of interesting life in them. Look out for the rare Samango Monkey. Contact us to book a Wetland tour which will explore everything the park has to offer.
Eastern Shores Night Drives
Discover a new way to explore the iSimangaliso Wetland Park - under the cover of darkness. This tour offers opportunity to see chameleon, porcupine, various antelope, hippo, nocturnal birds and occassionly hyena and leopard. Along with fantastic animal sightings, the star gazing offers great views of the Milky way from the open top Unimog vehicle.
Horse riding at iSimngaliso 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.
St Lucia Ecolodge and Conference Centre is the only property in the iSimangaliso area that has two dedicated and fully equipped conference rooms that can seat up to 100 delegates.
St Lucia Ecolodge and Conference Centre is the only property in the iSimangaliso area that has a dedicated and functional teambuilding department.
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 produced paw-paws, bananas, avocado pears, macadamia nuts and so much more can be found at 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.
The Park provides opportunities for mountain-biking around 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 iSimangaliso Wetland Park is heaven for bird watching. The estuary attracts a variety of seabirds water birds and waders. The iGwalaGwala forest at the edge of the town offers some of the best forest birding in South Africa. iPhiva trail offers a variety of habitats which provides excellent birding close to the town. Local bird guides can be booked to help you find the rare and special birds for your lifelist.
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 display 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 on Wednesdays 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.
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.
Cultural Village Tours
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.
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 marine life including whales and dolphins.
This St. Lucia whale watching excursion makes for a highly memorable day – be sure to bring your sunscreen and your camera!
Hluhluwe Game Reserve
Hluhluwe 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 000ha 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.
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.
Sports including Bowls, Golf and Tennis
Enjoy a round of one or 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”.
There are also tennis courts at Monzi as well as a bowling club in St lucia.