Day trip from Durban to St Lucia wetlands 13th May 2015

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Day trip from Durban to St Lucia wetlands 13th May 2015

 

I collected my client from Hillcrest, West of Durban city center and we began our 3 hour drive up to Isimangeliso wetland park aka St Lucia Wetland park South Africa’s first world heritage site.

On route I covered the history of Durban, kwaZulu Natal and South Africa as well as the history of St Lucia and the surrounding area.

 

We arrived in St Lucia for the early boat cruise at 09:15 and got settled in to enjoy the day and the 2 hour ride on the boat.

 

We had some amazing sightings of Hippos and Crocodiles so much so that the videos I took I had to put in this blog post. Before we got to the Estuary I must mention we stopped to look at a sign I always like to show my clients, see below:

 

 

 

 

Durban day tour; St Lucia interesting sign for Hippos

Durban day tour; St Lucia interesting sign for Hippos

Durban day tour; St Lucia interesting sign for Hippos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we got going on the boat cruise on our day trip from Durban we spotted some Hippos and a couple of Crocodiles and lots of bird life. The water on the estuary was like glass it was so smooth.

 

 

 

 

 

Durban day tour; Nile Crocodile in St Lucia estuary

Durban day tour; Nile Crocodile in St Lucia estuary

Durban day tour; Nile Crocodile in St Lucia estuary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These amazing creatures the Crocodile have around 45 replacements of teeth in their lifetime which can span 100 years depending on what they eat and where they are found.

The best way of aging a Crocodile is by cutting on of the ridges off the back and counting the number of rings on it like you would do with a tree.

 

Further up stream there was Hippos and lots of them.

 

 

 

 

 

Video – Durban day tour – Hippos calling at St Lucia


 

 

 

Durban day tour; Pod of Hippos showing aggression

Durban day tour; Pod of Hippos showing aggression

Durban day tour; Pod of Hippos showing aggression

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video – Day trip from Durban – Pod of Hippos get aggressive with each other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also captured this photo of a Goliath heron in flight over the estuary which was really beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

Durban day tour; Goliath heron in flight over St Lucia estuary

Durban day tour; Goliath heron in flight over St Lucia estuary

Durban day tour; Goliath heron in flight over St Lucia estuary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our cruise of St Lucia Estuary continued and we spotted a Goliath Heron walking on the backs of Hippos which was great. I even made a video, the only problem was I missed the best moment. Just as I stopped the video one Hippo lunged at the Goliath Heron almost grabbing it in its mouth! It was amazing to see!

 

 

 

Video – Durban day trip – Goliath Heron walks on the back of the Hippos


 

 

 

 

 

 

Durban day tour; Goliath heron walking on Hippos backs

Durban day tour; Goliath heron walking on Hippos backs

Durban day tour; Goliath heron walking on Hippos backs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were lucky on the Durban day trip to also get a Hippos on a couple of occasions with its mouth open. This is usually a sign of aggression and to tell us not to get any closer. The Hippos here have had the boats around them for 30 years so they are used to us but that does not mean they wont express their feelings.

 

 

 

 

 

Video -Durban day safari tour – Hippo bulls size each other up

Durban day tour; Hippo with mouth open

Durban day tour; Hippo with mouth open

Durban day tour; Hippo with mouth open

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video – Durban day tour – Hippo marks his territory


 

 

At we made our way back we saw the second largest vegetated sand dune in the world Maphelane South of the Estuary. We also were lucky enough to see an African Fish eagle perched on a branch.

 

 

 

 

 

Durban day tour; African fish eagle

Durban day tour; African fish eagle

Durban day tour; African fish eagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the amazing 2 hours on the St Lucia estuary we made our way through St Lucia town to the Estuary mouth for the board walk which goes to the Indian ocean. It is a lovely walk and from here you can see Maphelane, the Indian ocean, the national park/World heritage site and the Estuary!

 

 

 

 

Durban day tour; Maphelane and the Indian ocean

Durban day tour; Maphelane and the Indian ocean

Durban day tour; Maphelane and the Indian ocean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After showing my client on our Durban day tour/trip the Titanium in the sand and venturing onto the beach we returned into St Lucia town for some lunch and then made our way to the Crocodile breeding center at the other end of St Lucia.

 

Here we saw lots of Crocodile and I run over some of the information of the area and why the Crocodiles are being bred etc. Here too there are interesting signs like this one below:

 

 

 

 

Durban day tour; St Lucia interesting sign for crocodiles

Durban day tour; St Lucia interesting sign for crocodiles

Durban day tour; St Lucia interesting sign for crocodiles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was not the end of the time in St Lucia and we had to get the clients back early as they were meeting family for dinner. When ever I leave a tour early something always happens to make it a longer day than usual and today was no different. What was a 3 hour trip back to Durban took up over 4.5 hour because of one accident on the highway! Can you believe it. Non the less it was still worth it as we all had a great time and the tour from Durban was a huge success.