Country & Coastal Touring

A Day Tour to the St.Lucia Estuary

Way back in 1824 Francis Farewell, one of the original settlers to Durban, landed off what is today the town of St.Lucia, some 200km’s north of Durban. His intention was to land at Durban (or rather Port Natal as it was then known) but obviously an error was made and here he was. The coast line being what it is, both treacherous and unmapped, the vessels he and his fellow settlers traveled in were unable to get too close to the beach, and so Farewell and his men landed on the shores of St.Lucia in rowboats.

Curious Hippo investigating a basking Croc on the St.Lucia estuary bank.
Curious Hippo investigating a basking Croc on the St.Lucia estuary bank.

A Day Tour to the St.Lucia Estuary

What’s fantastic about St.Lucia is that it’s as wild today as the day Farewell stepped dripping onto it’s shores (Farewell’s boat overturned in the heavy waves). A day tour to St.Lucia estuary is a privilege, and one I love conducting.

St.Lucia Estuary

I picked up my clients from their hotel in Ballito and we headed north to wards St.Lucia. Along the way I chatted about the history of the Zulu people, the British and of course related some of the history of St.Lucia itself.

St.Lucia was originally named Rio dos Medos do Ouro (River of Gold Dunes) and only became named St.Lucia by Manuel Peresterello who renamed it St.Lucia on the day of the feast of St. Lucy back in 1575.

Crocodile basking on the backs on the St.Lucia estauary
Crocodile basking on the backs on the St.Lucia estauary

Crocodile Park

Our first stop when visiting St.Lucia is the crocodile park. The Nile Crocodile is common throughout Africa, and certainly there are many too see in the St.Lucia estuary, some 1200 in the estuary alone! The crocodile park is great to visit as you can get fairly close up to the croc’s, safe in the knowledge you’re behind a fence!

Cruise on the St.Lucia Estuary

After visiting the park and exploring it, we headed off to the next item on the itinerary which is the 2 hour long cruise on the St.Lucia estuary. We departed the Sunset Jetty (which is aptly named!) and headed northwards up the estuary. Unfortunately I couldn’t accompany my guests on this part of the tour as the vessel was full, but based on all that the told me after, they thoroughly enjoyed their 2 hours!

A "pod" or "raft" of Hippo in the St.Lucia estuary
A “pod” or “raft” of Hippo in the St.Lucia estuary

Walking Along the Boardwalk

After the cruise, we had a spot of lunch at a favorite restaurant of mine, where the most delicious seafood is served (hake and prawns is the only way to go in my opinion!). After lunch we decided to burn off calories with a walk along the boardwalk.

The boardwalk takes us alongside the estuary right up to the estuary mouth and onto the beach. It’s here I look forward to personally. Walking up onto the beach and gazing back to the estuary, you can see exactly what Farewell and his men saw all those long years ago.

Black Headed Heron walking along the bank of the St.Lucia estuary
Black Headed Heron walking along the bank of the St.Lucia estuary

What a fantastic adventure it must have been. The St.Lucia estuary is home to about 800 hippo today, but we know from t he journals of the early explores that the estuary was absolutely chocked of hippo; sounds terrible but in one hunters diary he speaks of shooting some 200 hippo a day over a two week period!

Of course back then, there would have Elephant roaming nearby, Lion and Wild Dog (mistakenly called wolves by those early hunters) and of course loads of Rhino. What a fantastic place is must have been.

A croc basking alongside the St.Lucia estuary in the Isimangaliso park.
A croc basking alongside the St.Lucia estuary in the Isimangaliso park.

Back to Durban After our St.Lucia Day Tour

it’s a fact of life that all good things must come to an end, and so we headed back to Durban. Along the way we chatted about the country in general. South Africa is a very new democracy and it stands to reason we will go experience some growing pains such as we’re having right now. But at the end of the day, I do believe South Africa has so much potential to offer the rest of the world that I for one cannot wait for what 2016 and further beyond brings.

The aptly named Sunset Jetty at the St.Lucia Estuary in Isimangaliso
The aptly named Sunset Jetty at the St.Lucia Estuary in Isimangaliso

Booking a Day Tour to St.Lucia

If you wish to book a day tour to St.Lucia, or any of the other day tours we offer, simply send us an email and we’ll start planning your tour today!

St.Lucia estuary in Black and White
St.Lucia estuary in Black and White

Country and Coastal Touring

Country and Coastal Touring are registered tour guides and operators based in the city of Durban, South Africa. We offer cultural tours, safari tours as well as adventure tours. Country and Coastal Touring are registered with all relevant state departments and all guides are qualified and licensed.

Hippo Grazing the bank of the St.Lucia estuary
Hippo Grazing the bank of the St.Lucia estuary