St. Lucia in a photo. That's a baby croc on top of a hippo giving a nice yawn. The ferry boat guide said he had never seen it before but I am sure he says that too all the ferry cruise patrons. I was a little disappointed that there weren't any crocs and hippos dancing ballet to the Dance of the Hours. Fantasia really warped my expectations out there.
One of the larger pods of hippos. There were so many there that by the end of the trip, I was no longer astounded by seeing enormous hippos out in the wild. What you see them doing there is what they do most of the day. Watch out cats and sloths, you have a rival for "laziest creature in the world".
So what do people do in St. Lucia? The short answer is "lots". Close-by and most famously, is the estuary which is home to an impressive number of hippos and crocodiles. There were a couple of ferries that did short jaunts a couple of times a day. A very entertaining and worthwhile experience for sure. While the crocodiles were more elusive (I didn't get a nice picture of any), the hippos are very easily seen. In fact, I would think it is impossible to go there and not see any hippos. There were guided tours to the close by game parks iMfolozi and Hluhluwe which I did go to but will talk about in another post. There were trips to snorkel, to see leather back turtles, to deep sea fish, to kayak, to go to other popular spots in the park like Sodwana Bay and Cape Vidal, and night drives. I didn't do any of these things, I am sure they are quite fun but they were simply not in the budget.
The fruit stalls. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the town- beautiful to look at, pleasing to smell, delicious to eat. I survived off of liche and mango for a few days.
I now know that there are creatures that lay their eggs in mangoes. Those white things on the right are maggots. Hey guys, if the mango is a little mushy, just throw that one away. I took it easy on the mangoes after this one.
Besides the ferry cruise, I went to the beach and went hiking everyday. It was everything I could want out of the vacation. There were enough trails that I hiked for hours every day without going on the same trail. And although it was very crowded, there was hardly a soul on the trails which was fine by me. The beach was not the finest in the world. It had the bare minimum requirements to make it a beach, these things being the ocean and sand but it's proximity to the estuary made the water brackish and absolutely clogged with hippo poop. Also, I fell asleep on the beach for a little too long the first day I was there and the South African sun let me know that I am not completely resistant to sunburns. Turns out my gin and tonics proved useful for another reason other than preventing malaria: numbing the senses!
This sign gave me pause. Although I new it would be extremely unlikely that I would run into any of the animals the sign was warning me about, I still had to take a few focusing breaths before I crossed the threshold. Best case scenario: I see a leopard or something from a distance and escape with all my limbs attached. Worst case scenario: I get mauled immediately. Ultimate Awesomeness Case Scenario: I encounter a buffalo, rhino, hippo, elephant, leopard and crocodile that have all teamed up and I fight them off gaining their respect and earn the King of St. Lucia title.
Hippos tracks. I could tell from my years as a hippo tracker. Also there were hippos across the river so I kind of assumed.
One of my favorite moments of hiking. Came through a copse of trees to see this. Nice spot for lunch.
I enjoyed the place quite a bit. I certainly was ready to leave when I did because I did just about everything there was to do without spending money in the place. I am ready for the next WHS site. With my sister coming next week I am hoping to knock out the two located close to Cape Town.