In the 1990s a plan to strip mine the coastal sand dunes for titanium was finally laid to rest. Instead it was decided to develop the local economy though tourism. The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park was proclaimed - 260,000 hectares made up of a patchwork of 16 private and public parcels of land, including several existing nature reserves. In 1999 the Park was listed as a World Heritage Site.
It is an area of exceptional biodiversity with eight linking eco-systems and 220 km of coastline and beaches. On land the reserve ranges from one to 24 kilometres wide, at sea the Marine Reserve extends for five kilometres.
The area around St Lucia had been given over to the forestry industry but over the last few years more than six million trees, mostly blue-gum, have been taken out, along with many other species of alien vegetation, and the area has been given back to wildlife and the natural vegetation of the dune forest.
Now on a day or night game drive through the coastal forest one is likely to see rhino, buffalo, hyena, leopard, elephant, crocodile, hippo, mongoose, duiker and other species of antelope. The birdwatching is superlative – over 500 species have been recorded in the Park. At night there are turtle-watching tours between November and February.
Horse-riding is available –experienced riders on the beach for, the Park is for horse-trails. Laze on the beach, swim in the sea, take a boat cruise on Lake St Lucia, go whale watching or kayaking – the choice is yours. There is plenty to see and do.
The little town of St Lucia is a hub for all of these activities. It’s a pleasant and safe town, though beware of hippos who wander through the gardens at night! You can book all your activities there, or pre-book with us.
St Lucia is 30 mins drive from the N2 and 2½ hours from Durban.