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Published: July 19th 2017
To get to St. Lucia from Coffee Bay was a long haul, so we decided to take the Greyhound to Durban for a couple of nights first.
All we really did in Durban was stuff ourselves full of Indian food and walk along the waterfront promenade, surprised by how diverse the people are. The Florida Road area was ideal.
From the taxi rank in Durban, that an employee at Tekweni Hostel kindly drove us to, we first took a 2 1/2-hour shared taxi (a bit torturous since the driver blasted elevator jazz with the treble turned up high) to Mtubatuba, a commercial center and travel hub along the coast north of Durban. We were the only tourists wandering through an organized chaos of outdoor markets, big box stores, and taxi ranks. From there it was only a half hour more through some Zulu villages and to the posh tourist mecca of St. Lucia. We stayed in a permanent tent at Monzi Safari's Tented Lodge; this was one of our nicest accommodations on this trip.
Night Game Drive
The guide picked us up in a converted Landcruiser. Once in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, he left the blacktop and drove
onto the trails. While we didn't see the leopard we were hoping to spot, we saw plenty of other game, like Cape buffalo, giraffes, hippos and wildebeests, but our favorites were the fleeing porcupine, with its quills fanned like a peacock, and a docile chameleon that the ranger somehow sighted in the bush. Just being out there at night, with the sounds of the frogs with the moonlight on the grasses made it worth the trip.
I scoped out the area on a run our first day there, carefully jogging along beach road, past warning signs for hippos and crocs. The beach was a surprise - a deserted swath of sand a km deep and 10 km long.
Hippo and Croc Tour
This boat tour reminded us of a bayou / alligator tour in Louisiana. The company offered a refund if we didn't see any hippos, but the likelihood was the same as not seeing any water. We saw hundreds- often in families of 15-20. It's disquieting to be that close to the most dangerous animals in the world, but they didn't seem to be too bothered by us.
Tot: 1.105s; Tpl: 0.043s; cc: 15; qc: 61; dbt: 0.0381s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb