Springbok Diaries - 4 December 2020

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Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia
December 5th 2020
Published: January 20th 2021
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St Lucia is a tourist town famous for its wetland park declared a UNESCO world heritage site for biodiversity in 1999. iSimangaliso Wetland Park, as it is called today, is the largest estuary system in the world. Its waters are in average only 1.5m deep and they are home to 115 species of fish and 530 types of birds, including migrating birds from Europe, some of them flying over 18’000km to reach this summer camp. And of course, they house over one thousand hippopotamus (hippos) and several thousand crocodiles from the Nile Crocodile species. Swimming there is not a good idea we guessed. We will be heading for a wetland boat cruise in the afternoon, hoping the rains will take a break then. We decided to ignore the weather and once more head to the beach area for a stroll. The strong and volatile monsoon weather wind from last night did not change. Big waves and the wild weather gave the beautifully white sandy dunes however a special charm. We enjoyed the wind in our faces and the noise of the waves..... and Nui was on the constant lookout for hyenas and leopards who could may be possibly be there, even I assured her they do not like Thai food.......

The Wetland Park and hippo & crocks tour was a bit too touristy even though again as in so many placed there were literally no tourists. Nevertheless it gave us a good impression of the habitat of the birds and mammals. Hippos are very territorial and very aggressive animals. They can not swim !!! but walk on the bottom of the river or lake where they live and move. And move they can fast. On land they can run with more than 40km/h and in water they move with up to 15km/h speed. More people get killed in Africa by Hippos every year than by any other species. Next time you buy a hippo soft toy for a kid as a present you may remember this. The app. 1500 crocks and 1000 hippos live in harmony next to each other, as they do not compete for food. Hippos are vegetarians. Crocks have learned not to go after the baby hippos, as they easily will be caught by the mama hippo and bitten to death.

This is South Africa's third-largest protected area established in 1895. It lies in the province of KwaZulu-Natal South of the border to Mozambique. Surrounding the wetland park one can find nature reserves with all the famous South African mammals incl. elephant, leopard, lion, African buffalo etc. The coastal waters not only have the mentioned sharks but are regularly visited by whales, especially the humpback whale. Many attractive activities are on offer. However do not go there during the monsoon season, as we did; the monsoon is intense and the weather can wash away many plans. And yes of course, Covid shut down many activities as well due to the risk of infections. For us it was a quiet, wet and windy stay, nevertheless full of new and interesting observations. And Nui could stock up on fresh seafood especially "gung".

Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17


Nile Crocodile Nile Crocodile
Nile Crocodile

most common type in SA
68 sharp teeth68 sharp teeth
68 sharp teeth

open mouth is for cooling

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