Blogs from Saint Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Africa


Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia March 8th 2021 8th March - A safari & Estuary walk - iSimangaliso Wetland Park - South Africa iSimangaliso Wetland Park (previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park) is situated on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, It is South Africa's third-largest protected area with no fewer than 328 000 hectares of pristine natural ecosystems. A considerable part of the park centres on the huge estuary, Lake St Lucia – part of the largest estuarine system in Africa that runs parallel to the coast line with the world’s highest forested sand dunes sandwiched between the estuary and the sea. Today we took a walk with our virtual guide Ash, it was his first tour with Virtualtrips and I’m sure it won’t be the last he gave so much information on what we were seeing, This ... read more

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia December 5th 2020

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 ... read more
and dunes
welcome to the wetlands
proud fish eagle

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia December 4th 2020

Today we make our way to the wetland park a World Heritage Site in St. Lucia. The longest one-day drive is awaiting us. 608 km from Hazyview to St. Lucia a coastal town on the Indian Ocean, close to the border to Mozambique. Due to Covid the borders to Swaziland are closed. Our original plan to drive through this small, independent country had to be changed. Swaziland, officially called eSwatini covers an area of 17,364 km², it is one of Africa's smallest countries, slightly smaller than the U.S. state of New Jersey. The country is known for its game reserves with diverse wildlife. But also for the highest tuberculosis and HIV rate in the world. Swaziland has a population of 1.4 million people (est. 2015). Autonomy for the Swazis of southern Africa was guaranteed by the ... read more
wide country views
in Piet Retief

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia May 12th 2019

Hippo and Crocodile Cruise Today, the VESA group got the opportunity to enjoy a hippo and crocodile cruise along Lake St. Lucia. St. Lucia estuary park is home to around 1200 Nile Crocodiles and 800 hippopotamus. I find hippos intimidating as they are one of the most aggressive animals in the world. Nevertheless, I felt safe on the boat as I watched the various hippos interact with their families. There were baby hippos and their moms and dads as well. It was really interesting seeing the hippos families interacting in the water and also seeing them sunbathe on land. Hippos make this really distinct and interesting sound when they are trying to communicate with each other above water. I was really cool and a great experience overall It was more difficult to spot a crocodile as ... read more
Hippo Cruise
Hippo Cruise
Hippo Cruise

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia May 11th 2019

Meeting the iSangoma Today we got the chance to meet the Zulu iSangoma. The iSangoma is like a spiritual psychic which is in charge of protecting the clan against evil spirits. Bad luck is considered to be the work of evil spirits and the iSangoma gets rid of the spirits through communication with the help of prayer and herbs. It was pretty interesting seeing this aspect of Zulu culture and although I do not believe in fortune tellers it was interesting getting my fortune read by the iSangoma. For a small fee I was allowed to ask 3 questions to the iSangoma. I don't remember the questions I asked but the answers were vague something like I choose my own happiness or destiny. Nevertheless, it was pretty interesting seeing how psychics are able to answer questions ... read more
the iSangoma house
Inside the iSangoma house

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia May 9th 2019

Teaching Grade 3 Math and English At the nearby Khula village school, Renata and I got the opportunity to teach one of the Grade 3 classes, Math and English. Although it was fun getting to know the children I found it extremely difficult teaching English and Math to the kids. Firstly, the class size was large and it was incredibly difficult tutoring even a small group of 8 students. Secondly, there was a language barrier. Although many kids could speak pretty good English it was still not their first language and my Zulu was minimal at best. Thirdly, I had to really think back to my English and Math lessons in elementary school in order to understand and explain proper English grammar to the children. I think in the end the kids were more excited about ... read more
Playing with bubbles at Mama Doris
Meeting the Teacher
The Grade 3 Class

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia May 7th 2019

Constructing Houses For the next two days Renata and I and the rest of group B volunteered in the construction of two houses. One of the sites was for the Gunede Family. Eddie is the father of the house. Currently he and his wife and 3 children live in a one-room house. The second site was for the Jobe Family. Currently on their plot of land there is ten residents living in three one-room houses including one grandmother, her two sons and six children. Cement and Concrete Flooring For the two houses we worked on mixing concrete for the concrete foundation in the two five room houses down the road from one another. Other member of the group worked on laying bricks for the septic tanks. It was an amazing and educational experience. I learned how ... read more
Construction Site
Construction site

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia May 6th 2019

Saint Lucia Crocodile Center Today is an exciting day as we get to volunteer at the Saint Lucia Crocodile Center and learn about the different types of crocodiles including the Nile Crocodile, Dwarf Crocodile, Slender-Snout Crocodile as well as the American Alligator. The role of the center is to monitor and research crocodiles in the area and rehabilitate and release problem and injured crocodiles. The Six Enclosure Project When we reached the Crocodile Center our group was separated into two teams. For half of the day Renata and I worked on the Six Enclosure Project. The enclosures will be used to rescue and rehabilitate more crocodiles. Our job was working on clearing the area so that they could start work on the enclosure. It was tiring work as we machete through the long grasses, and cut ... read more
Painting the crocodile enclosure
Crocodile Tour
Crocodile Tour

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia May 5th 2019

Veyane Cultural Village Today is our first volunteer day with VESA. Our first stop was the Veyane Cultural Village where we learned about Zulu culture. We learned some Zulu phrases which I have now forgotten. Furthermore, we witnessed and took part in some interesting Zulu dances, wore some traditional Zulu dress and explored comforting Zulu homes. After the Zulu cultural center tour we had lunch at the village and then it was off to our first volunteer destination: The Emdoneni Cheetah Project. The Emdoneni Cheetah Project At the Emdoneni project we didn't have time to volunteer but we got the opportunity to learn about the conservation efforts at the lodge. The aim of the Emdoneni Cheetah Project is to care for and rehab orphaned or injured Cheetahs, Serval Cats, African Wildcats and Caracals (Lynx). Also they ... read more
Zulu Village
Zulu Village

Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Saint Lucia May 4th 2019

Durban airport We arrived at the Durban airport around 11:00am. At the airport we had to wait for rest of the group members and their flights to arrive. Finally by late afternoon all the flights arrived and we were introduced to the VESA team leaders who were managing the trip for the next two weeks. VESA Team Leaders The team leaders for the trip included Damaris, Zine, Andrew, Frankie, Jake and Cassie. We also got to meet fellow travelers from all across Canada, Thailand and United States. Then we were off for the long drive from Durban airport to the picturesque Saint Lucia, a small town in a World Heritage site. Saint Lucia We arrived in the evening in St. Lucia where we stayed at Bibs International Backpackers. Renata and I were lucky and got our ... read more
Bibs International Backpackers
Bibs International Backpackers
Bibs International Backpackers

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