We travel a lot as a family, being expats and hubby with his work, but what we haven’t done for a very long time is just travel to one place as a family for a relaxing holiday. Holidays over the past 4 years have been visiting family in the UK and car trips for long weekends in Durban, the train to Cape Town and last year was from Joburg to Durban, the coast to Port Elizabeth, The Garden Route, Cape Town and home via the Karoo by car.
With the 15yo visiting from the UK for his summer vacation and it being winter in South Africa we decided to explore further north and booked 7 nights in St Lucia, taking the dog, Bob with us.
So here are my top 6 reasons as to why you must visit St Lucia.
Self catering accommodation with 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, enclosed gardens, a pool, air con and dog friendly. Dawn couldn’t have been any friendlier and more welcoming and was very knowledgeable about the area. The cost of staying there included a maid, DSTV and wi fi.
Bob had the most amazing time at St Lucia, he was able to run freely on the beaches, we could take him into cafes and restaurants and was welcomed by everyone, everywhere. He had the freedom of the garden and we could leave him at the accommodation if we wanted to go out at night or visit a local attraction. We walked through woods, by the lake, through the town. Our only concern was when stopped by a driver who said ‘you should be alright with the dog on a lead as there have been Leopard sightings in the area last week’ hubby replied ‘anymore good news you have for us?'
Although it did require plenty of baths as he rolled in hippo poo on more than one occasion.
Living in Gauteng, we are very conscious about personal security, we live in a residential estate with finger print access and 24 hour armed guards. There is no public transport available, apart from the Gautrain and less than 2 weeks ago the car was broken into and a case including passports stolen, from a secure car park. Having visited Durban and Cape Town a fortnight ago where there was no security at the hotels, we used buses, taxis and walked to sight see, it was nice to discover another area of South Africa where there is no security needed. However don’t switch off, there are no fences between the town, the lake, beach and the wild life. There are plenty of warning signs and information on keeping safe from hippos and crocodiles.
Hippo and crocodiles
We saw plenty while walking alongside the lake and shops displayed photos of hippos visiting the town at night. We visited a crocodile sanctuary and took a river trip to ‘get up, close and personal’ with the hippos and the crocodiles, seeing a monitor lizard, kingfishers, African Fish Eagle and a Blue Crane, the national bird of South Africa.
We booked a tour with Advantage at the cost of R950 each. Twice the boat trip was cancelled, before I realized it was because it was a beach launch and not from a harbor. We were offered the chance to go from Richard’s Bay, 40km away and the tour company would take us there to the boat, but fortunately the seas calmed enough for us to go out on the Thursday.
It was a fast trip out over the waves and we immediately spotted 2 Hump Back Whales in the distance and they had a young calf with them, we followed them along with the dolphins for 2 miles up the coast towards Mozambique and we even spotted a shark.
The boat approached the beach at 75km per hour, I braced for impact, but the boat just glided up the sand, it was so exhilarating that I asked if we could do it again.
Sea food and restaurants
We were spoilt for choice when it came to eating it, even though St Lucia is a small town, apart from a Braai and the odd breakfast at the accommodation and making up the odd picnic we ate out as and when we fancied. The fish and sea food was amazing, couldn’t get more fresh unless we caught it, gutted it and cooked it on the beach ourselves.