Things to do in St Lucia
The Most Popular Things to do while in St Lucia
Herewith an Updated list of the most popular things to do while in St Lucia 2021
There can be no other destination that could possibly offer such a diverse and incredible array of things to do in such a small area when it comes to St Lucia, KwaZulu Natal South Africa. Set on the East Coast, KwaZulu Natal is synonymous for its warm tropical weather year-round. The area of St Lucia is surrounded by iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa's very first world heritage site. The area was proclaimed by UNESCO in 1999 and has since grown in popularity both nationally as well as internationally. Very few destinations in the world can offer such incredible beauty all be it wildlife pristine landscape and friendly people.
Let us discover why and what the most popular things could be that you do next while in the area.
Visiting St Lucia Town for the first Time
As one arrives in this small but quaint village one can but not be impressed, as you cross the St Lucia Estuary you are sure to be greeted by our resident Hippos. Less than 3 hours north of Durban you will be immersed in a place that smacks of wildlife.
Be it leisure travel, getaway, or adventure that you are seeking St Lucia has it all. The area is perfectly suited and has numerous accommodations, restaurants and tour operators ensuring that your stay is fully fil filled.
Note that driving into the town one quickly realizes that here motorists and pedestrians give way to the wildlife. Keep an eye out for Vervet monkeys, mongoose, and of course Hippos during daylight hours. The 800 or so Hippos wander regularly into town as the town is pretty much bordered by water on either sides. On the western side the St Lucia Estuary home to the Hippos and an additional 1200 Nile Crocodiles.
On the Eastern side the Indian Ocean with its warm tropical water year-round. To the North the vast expanse of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. At night a quick transformation as nocturnal wildlife becomes the order, new sounds such as Bush Babies as they make an eerie sound or the beating drums as the Zulu Dancers pass by the numerous restaurants but the best has to be the Hippos grunting in the distance.
Getting to St Lucia
Herewith a link to online car rentals, please note that should you like to drop off a car in St Lucia that only one car rental Avis is available.
Driving to St Lucia from Durban is a quick and a scenic route along the N2 toll road.
Getting Around St Lucia
St Lucia in all honesty is a small town with a permanent residence of 1000 people. Even the wildlife outnumber the residents. Getting around St Lucia is easy and convenient. One may easily stroll about and the town is within walking distance from all accommodation providers. Another way of getting around is by bicycle various tour operators do rent bicycles so why not enjoy a super and exciting way is discovering and exploring the town.
St Lucia Restraunts
One easy spoilt for choice when it comes to various types and styles of places to eat while in town. Herewith a link to all Restaurants while in St Lucia.
Herewith a few of the restaurants found within the town:
- Ocean Basket 035 590 1241
- Ocean Sizzler 035 590 1554
- Reef & Dune 035 590 1048
- Brazza 035 590 1242
- Baracca 035 590 1729
- Alfredos 035 590 1150
St Lucia Jetties
Odd to mention Jetties not all, St Lucia boasts 2 Jetties and the reason being is to enjoy a St Lucia Estuary Boat trip, departing every 2 hours from both jetties you too may be able to venture out and enjoy close up sightings of Hippos, Crocodiles and an abundance of Bird Species. Note that this is undoubtedly the most popular activity while in town and therefore bookings are essential.
Siyabonga Jetty is situated at the entrance to St Lucia on the left-hand side prior to crossing the St Lucia bridge on the left-hand side. From this jetty 2 tour operators offer St Lucia Estuary boat trips namely, Shoreline Boats (+27 35 5901555) and Ezemvelo Boat Trips (+27 033 8451999). Then the sunset jetty which is situated within St Lucia. This jetty offers you 3 tour operators namely Advantage Tours, Born Free, and Fannas boats.
St Lucia & Cape Vidal Beach
The St Lucia beach is approximately 2 km from town, a easy hike, and well worth it. To the south once on the main beach one will see the St Lucia Estuary and done be surprised should you see Nile Crocodiles basking in the sun or Pelicans enjoy a quick treat. One may also enjoy the boardwalk hike from here which once again navigates itself back towards town.
Cape Vidal Beach is a mere 28 km from St Lucia and makes for an amazing self-drive or organized tour. With its numerous loop roads, lookouts, and hides you are sure in for a super treat. Scenery like no other the biodiversity is magnificent, to say the least. The Cape Vidal Beach area has an elongated stretch of natural reef which makes for some amazing snorkeling which should be done only at low tide due to strong currents. The area has numerous picnic spots with some awesome sights, be on the lookout for the naughty and insistent samango monkeys though they will try their very best to get whatever is in your cooler.
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park offers two completely beach fronts one being the pristine white sand beach and then the amazing Mission rocks halfway between Cape Vidal and St Lucia. A stop here offers a very different perspective from Mission rocks one may enjoy a short hike north towards Bats Cave please do only do so at low tide. Mission rocks has a picnic area nestled away ideal for a relaxing day.
Eastern and Western Shores of iSimangaliso
From St Lucia one may visit either the western shores or eastern shores of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The two parks yet close to one another are divided into two by the St Lucia Estuary. The western shores' access point is 3km prior to entering St Lucia town on the left-hand side, this park is home to wildlife creatures such as Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino both species and Leopard to nake but just a few. The landscape is entirely different to that of the eastern side and makes for an amazing day outing. Numerous hides, lookout points, and picnic areas litter the park. Please note that there are no shops and one should take provisions along.
The eastern shores is accessed from St Lucia town and is 3km from town. This is the most popular destination and is truly one that has to be visited. During the summer months, both leatherback and loggerhead turtles frequent the beaches and one may be surprised to witness Humpback whales breaching from the Cape Vidal beach during the winter months as they migrate past the shores. From Cape Vidal, one may enjoy numerous charter fishing and should be interested please note that one has to have a fishing license prior to departure.
St Lucia Estuary
The St Lucia Estuary has to be the reason for 90 % of visitors to St Lucia. With the abundance of hippos, crocodiles, and birdlife. With one of the largest free-roaming Hippo Populations in South Africa, it's no wonder.
Enjoy a two-hour boat cruise along the estuary and get up close for some amazing and incredible pictures of Hippo yawns and crocs lying basking in the sun.
The most popular time to venture out on a boat trip is either early morning or late afternoon. The early mornings are a lot quieter and maybe the best trips, late afternoon trips are awesome however with the number of operators quite busy. Prior bookings are essential.
St Lucia Birding & Hikes
Two hiking routes are available namely the Iphiva hiking trail and the Igwalagwala birding trail. The Iphiva hiking trail is situated close to the Cape Vidal gate and one should get a map from the crocodile centre. This hiking trail is more for wildlife sightings and animals such as antelope may be witnessed. The duration may be up to 2,5 hours should one opt to do the entire route.
Igwalagwala Birding trail is situated within the town this route is ideal for early morning walks and is extremely popular with birders. Continuing from the Igwalagwala trail one may enjoy the St Lucia Boardwalk. The boardwalk walk is shorter however meanders along the Estuary towards the Indian Ocean (Beach).
Should you like to only walk the boardwalk then drive towards the St Lucia Ski Boat Club, pass it and you will find a large parking lot. From here one may enjoy the walk.
Two operators offer varied types of Zulu Cultural Tours just outside of St Lucia, Veyane Cultural Centre and Theo's Tours. Veyane has daily authentic Zulu dancing and cultural tours, see beehive huts and get a chance to meet a sangoma.
Theo's tours offers authentic visits to Khula village, traditional Zulu meals and a visit to the local schools.
This magnificent event takes place during the summer months along the iSimangaliso Wetland Park coastline. Venture on a tremendous outing at night and see both species Loggerhead and Leatherback Turtles come to lay their eggs on the beach. Mesmerizing and a have to do while in the area. For more click here
And the list just seems to go on and on, yes Whale Watching as well during the winter months one too may enjoy this splendid outing as the Humpback whales migrate past the shores of St Lucia. Boat-based whale watching takes place every day weather permitting and is a surf launch. For those not wanting to a chance to see these amazing creatures from the land purely take a walk along one of the beaches and you too stand a chance of seeing some Humpbacks whales breaching. For more click here
Horseback Riding St Lucia is a different way of exploring the area, fortunately, you have two options one horse riding along the beach or horseback riding in the bush. Bhangazi Horseback riding has offered this amazing outing for years and you too may enjoy one of these fantastic options while in the area.
Visit the iSimangaliso Wetland Park by night and enjoy some nocturnal wildlife, options include the western or the eastern shores by night. Sunset trips are also available. Wildlife species include Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant, Hippos, and many other species. No safari to Africa can ever be complete without enjoying a true African night drive safari.
Deep Sea Fishing
St Lucia has numerous permitted deep-sea fishing concessionaires. Being the Indian Ocean one may enjoy a tremendous day fishing. Numerous game fish species may be bagged and please do note that no bottom fishing is permitted. Also prior to departures that one has to have a fishing license.
Game Fish Species Include: Dorado, Cuta, Mackeral, Snoek, Sailfish and Marlin
Big 5 Safaris
Incredibly St Lucia is situated a mere 54km from the oldest proclaimed game reserve Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. Daily Big 5 Safaris are available from St Lucia and options include either full-day or half-day safaris. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park is a 96000-hectare wonderland home to the African Big 5, Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo. With its meandering Umfolozi river and hilly topography, it is but a wildlife spectacular.
One may opt for either a self-drive safari or an organized safari. On a guided safari please note that all operators include gate fees and are all catered for. For more info click here
Rent a Bike or Enjoy a Organised Bike Tour
Being a wildlife destination, one has the option of renting a bicycle for the day and enjoy the numerous areas to discover. Fat Bikes have fast become quite popular as one may enjoy a ride up the beach or even go as far as first rocks. Alternatively one may opt for an organized Bike tour with a guide. These tours are run daily and what a way to learn more about the area all the while enjoying the sights of wildlife.
The Most Popular Things to Do in St Lucia 2020-2021
So now that you have a better understanding of what there is to do in St Lucia let's mention the most popular things to do in St Lucia, herewith the 2020-2021 latest list of things to do.
- Explore the St Lucia Estuary by Boat
South Africa's largest estuary, iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a magical place, to say the least. Home to the largest population of free-roaming Hippos and Nile Crocodiles in the country. What could possibly be better than exploring the estuary by boat as the sun rises or sets? A number of operators offer this outing on a daily basis. All trips are for 2 hours and during high season it is imperative that one pre-books a seat to avoid disappointment.
For Online Bookings
2. Explore iSimangaliso Wetland Park
As mentioned above while in St Lucia, one may enjoy a visit either to the western or eastern shores of iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The eastern shores is the most popular due to it offering both a bush and a beach destination. Numerous off roads, hides, and lookout points are available along the road towards Cape Vidal. Mission rocks makes for a superb stopover and also has picnic areas should Cape Vidal be full. Either parks may be explored by self-drives or one may enjoy an organized safari tour.
For Online Bookings
3. Explore iSimangaliso Wetland Park by Night
Here as the bush comes alive at night, eerie and fascinating Elephants trumpeting in the distance, Hippos grunting and Bush Babies calling. A night drive offers a completely new concept and understanding of who are the predators and who are being stalked.
For Online Bookings
4. Explore iSimangaliso Wetland Park Boardwalk
Why not take a hike into the Igwalagwala Hiking trail and then add the iSimangaliso Boardwalk to the hike. A superb way to discover the very beauty that attracted you to the area. Here and see Hippos, numerous bird species as well as various duiker species along the hike. Prior to venturing onto the boardwalk, one may stop at the St Lucia ski boat club for a quick treat as it also offers some amazing views of both the Estuary and the Indian Ocean.
5. Explore the Local Curio Markets in St Lucia
Situated on the main road in St Lucia one take a walk through the local fruit market, local vendors sell their weirs here. Maybe enjoy a locally sliced pineapple or some traditional crafts.
Prior to entering the boardwalk local craftsmen also sell some incredible curios here. Another curio market is situated at the Siyabonga jetty, this curio shop has a local selection of crafted curios and definitely worth a browse.
6. Turtle Tours & Whale Watching
Unfortunately, both outings are seasonal however incredible. Turtle Tours take place in Summer from 1st November and end on the last day of February each year. You too stand a chance of witnessing either Logger Head or Leather Back Turtles are they retrace their steps to lay their eggs along the same stretch of beach from where they were hatched. All tours take place during night time and sets are limited and therefore prior bookings are essential. Clients are fetched from their accommodations within St Lucia and then travel into iSimangaliso Wetland Park towards Cape Vidal, once in Vidal you will be transferred along the beach in search of these magnificent creatures.
Whale Watching takes place during the winter months of June to end November each year. The mighty sight of Humpback Whales breaching can only be incredible and one that you surely will not forget. Please note that this is a boat-based operation and that all outings are a surf launch. Whales may be seen from the various beaches in high season so keep an eye out should you be on a walk or bathing.
For Online Bookings
7. St Lucia by Bicycle
What an amazing and splendid way to discover St Lucia, enjoy a cycle around St Lucia, and be surprised at what you may encounter.
Theo's tours also offer organized cycling tours and their guides will undoubtedly enjoy showing you everything there is to see in the area.
8. St Lucia by Horseback
Beach or Bush or both options are available and truly an epic way to enjoy the sights and sounds. Witnessing wildlife from horseback is unobtrusive and majestic all guides have years of experience and will ensure that you have a superb time out in the wild.
For Online Enquiries
9. Big 5 Safaris
Organized game drives depart from St Lucia at 05:00 am this quick 45 drive to the park offers scenes of tribal Zulu villages as the sun rises over Africa.
Full or Half Day Safaris are available, included is all gate fees and all catering. Its a magical destination and being the oldest in Africa you are sure to have a fun-filled day. All game rangers are exceptional with years of experience and without wasting to much time they will quickly get you to the best locations within the park.
For Online Bookings
10. Elephant Interaction
Bayete Zulu situated on the outskirts of Hluhluwe offers one to get up close to some elephants, their stories are incredible and understanding why and how they are here is amazing.
11. Cheetah Rehabilitation Centre
Situated just before Hluhluwe Town Emdoneni Lodge has a super Cheetah Rehabilitation centre, tours are available daily however prior bookings are essential.
One can easily enjoy most outings on a self-drive adventure. All that is needed is a bit of research and knowing what it is that you would like to try and see.
Let's start off with a simple 2-day self-drive planner.
Arrive midday get checked in at your accommodation and let's start exploring, take a walk into town, and get familiarized with the lay of the land. Knowing where you might have dinner makes for a quick and easy reservation. Stroll up the main road and grab some delicious tropical fruit at the market. From the market why not enjoy a walk towards the beach on the boardwalk and then along the beach back towards town.
Freshen up and dinner time. Walk to town and keep an eye out for those roaming Hippos, keep your distance, and enjoy a nice dinner. You are sure to have the local Zulu dancers pass by as they do their dancing at all restaurants during the evening rush.
Should you not have seen the hippos then why not jump into your car and take a drive around, you are sure to see some type of wildlife that's for sure. The next morning you have two wonderful options either a full day self drive to Cape Vidal or Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park whichever it is take some snacks along and of course beach towels if you venturing to Cape Vidal. Most accommodations will have masks and snorkels so make sure to ask. Once again should you enjoy some snorkeling at Cape Vidal please do so only at Low Tide due to the strong currents at high tide.
Should you be going to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park please do purchase a map at the reception as the park is massive and you could possibly get lost. Stop the game drive vehicles and ask them what they have seen they regularly get stopped and are more than eager to give you their sightings.
As a treat why not book a late afternoon Hippo cruise, you are sure to enjoy it.
At Heritage House Packages
At Heritage House is super proud that we offer a multitude of the above safaris and excursions in conjunction with Heritage Tours & Safaris. Our packages have been designed to include the very best and offers you a better understanding of this place that we call home.