St. Lucia Town and history, Natal North Coast KZN.

 St Lucia Town and History:

St. Lucia is a small town located on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and it has a rich and fascinating history.

The area where St. Lucia is situated was originally inhabited by the Khoisan people, who were hunter-gatherers that lived off the land. Later, the area was inhabited by the Zulu people, who established their kingdom in the region.

In the 19th century, European settlers arrived in the area, and St. Lucia became an important port for exporting sugar cane and other products. However, the town also had a dark side – it was a center of the slave trade, and many enslaved people were brought to St. Lucia to work on the sugar plantations.

Today, St. Lucia is a popular tourist destination, known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse wildlife. The town is located on the edge of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that spans over 300,000 hectares and is home to an incredible array of plant and animal species.

In addition to its natural attractions, St. Lucia is also known for its cultural heritage. The town has a rich Zulu history, and visitors can learn about Zulu culture and traditions by visiting sites like the Veyane Cultural Village.

Overall, St. Lucia is a town with a complex and fascinating history, and visitors who take the time to explore its past will gain a deeper appreciation for the area’s natural and cultural treasures.

St Lucia KwaZulu Natal, was primarily known as a fishing destination.

World Heritage Status has fortunately not changed the town much, due to the fact that the entire area is surrounded by a green belt and water. This has ensured that the Town has remained relative in size. Numerous new accommodation establishments have opened on previously vacant land adding to economic stability in and around the area.

So what’s all the hype about then surely it’s just another town. It’s a small town with approximately 550 permanent residents.

All of which are involved directly or indirectly in the Tourism sector, and of course theirs the Hippos that are the main attraction all working together in a unison to promote this fantastic place of wonder.

The 800 or so Hippos and residents have a certain respect for one another.

Numerous homeowners have deliberately not fenced their properties purely for the fact that the Hippos graze on the grass in the evenings.

However, it’s not just Hippos that one may enjoy seeing, just imagine seeing Bush Babies in the trees with their somewhat eerie cries, Bush Buck, Duiker, Kudu and yes sometimes even Leopard.

The area is subtropical, near perfect year-round however quite warm during summer (February) being the warmest. The Indian Ocean offers the perfect setting for lazying about, fishing, snorkeling, and exploring its pristine beaches as far as the eye can see.

Nowhere else in South Africa can one enjoy such variety from its Estuary, Beaches and Wildlife. Not enough well hopefully not, 3 km from town one will enter the iSimangaliso Wetland Park journey towards Cape Vidal and be immersed by the abundance of wildlife. This is a Big 3 to 4 Park. Odd as that may sound the Elephants cross the Estuary every so often from the Western Shores.

With numerous hides and off roads to enjoy while en-route to Cape Vidal be on the lookout for the second highest vegetated sand dunes in the world.

Along the coast during Summer, one may encounter numerous Turtle nests as they come ashore to lay their eggs, this super occurrence takes place every year from November to end February. Then as we enter winter the mighty Humpback Whales return and its one of those incredible scenes to enjoy from the beach as they breach. Cape Vidal offers numerous picnic areas, protected bay for some amazing snorkeling and swimming.

Within the park (Eastern Shores) be on the lookout for Black and White Rhino, Buffalo, Leopard and of course the Elephants that occasionally visit. Let’s not forget about the smaller wildlife Kudu, Water Buck, Impala, Duiker, Warthogs, Hyena, and much more I assure you.


Visiting the Western Shores, (opposite of the Estuary) offers the Big 4, yes, the Elephants are here more often than on the Eastern Shores.

The Western Shores has a different feel to it than its counterpart. It feels more bushy large open grasslands, woodlands and more. Numerous upgrades to the park has seen an influx in tourists and I can truly say it’s a very nice destination.

Still not enough well then how about the oldest proclaimed game reserve in Africa (Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park) a mere 40 minutes’ drive from St Lucia KwaZulu Natal. This is a Big 5 Park with some magical history and of course tremendous wildlife. If you should travel from St Lucia, then the Imfolozi Gate would be the closest. It’s a large park 96000 hectares in size, phenomenal wildlife, hides and picnic areas.

From St Lucia, KwaZulu Natal one can also enjoy numerous other destinations that are close enough for a day outing, Emdoneni Cheetah Interaction, Bayete Elephant Interaction and Zulu cultural Tours ( Veyane Village).

When one speaks of St Lucia, really one is referring to the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, South Africa’s third largest park. On the north-eastern coast of KwaZulu Natal, this wilderness reserve covers some 280 km of coastline, stretching from Kozi Bay in the north to Cape St Lucia in the south and was the first park in South Africa to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.

The Park includes Lake St Lucia and its estuary, a surround of wildlife reserve, a number of islands and a section of the Marine Reserve along the coast. It is home to five recognisable ecosystems and includes swamps, lake systems, coral reefs, beaches, wetlands, woodlands, and coastal forests.

The Great St Lucia Wetland Park supports the country’s largest population of hippos and crocodiles. It is also home to leatherback turtles, black rhino, leopards, over 530 species of birds, including greater and lesser flamingos.

During November sea turtles come to the beaches to lay their eggs.

whales frequent the waves from June through September, making their way southwards and the park is a very popular fishing destination, providing surf fishing, kite fishing, fly fishing, spear fishing and deep sea fishing.

There is no limit to activities in the area. There are hippo cruises, kayak safaris, game safaris and the beautiful beaches with their high sand dunes are perfect for walks, volleyball and sunbathing. The town of St Lucia proper is at the most southern entrance to the park, about 300 km from Durban.

When one speaks of St Lucia, really one is referring to the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, South Africa’s third largest park. On the north-eastern coast of KwaZulu Natal, this wilderness reserve covers some 280 km of coastline, stretching from Kozi Bay in the north to Cape St Lucia in the south and was the first park in South Africa to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.

The Great St Lucia Wetland Park supports the country’s largest population of hippos and crocodiles. It is also home to leatherback turtles, black rhino, leopards, over 530 species of birds, including greater and lesser flamingos, and some 36 species of amphibians.

How did St. Lucia get its name?St. Lucia was first named in 1554 – “Rio de Areias de Ouro” (River of the sands of gold) by the survivors of the Portuguese ship Saint Benedict. At this stage the Tugela River mouth was known as St. Lucia.


Where is St Lucia located in South Africa?St Lucia is situated in the northern part of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, just 2.5 Hours North of Durban.

St Lucia lies within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s very first World Heritage site

St Lucia, KwaZulu Natal deserves world heritage status, it’s a quiet place and definitely the place to be should you love wildlife.

Cape Vidal- St Lucia South Africa

It’s not the typical landscape you would expect from a Big Four game park (No Lions). There are no flat little thorn trees and dry dusty roads. Here a beautiful, tarred road stretches along ancient coastal dunes (the second-highest vegetated sand dunes in the world).

Early morning the mist hugs the tree canopies, but the fierce sun quickly burns it away and by the time you reach Cape Vidal (28 km) beach only blue skies, and the tropical Indian Ocean awaits.

The beautiful stretch between St Lucia and Cape Vidal is a mesmerizing piece of pristine beauty.

Along the way, there are many stops over’s and viewpoints each with its own unique sights and sounds, packed with history and stories of times gone by.

What makes this little Park truly amazing is the beautiful mini-game drive through the park. There is such an array of animals to see from Elephant, Hippo, and Rhino to the elusive Leopards which are a common sight in this stretch of the park.

There is also a number of plains game species, and the birding is world-class no doubt.

Cape Vidal beach is also home to the endangered Samango monkeys that also have a very ancient and wise look about them, please keep in mind that one is not allowed to feed the wild at any time.

Once you reach the beach parking area you can’t really see the true jewel until a short walk over the dune. Once over that, you look out onto the aqua blue sea with the sun shimmering gold lines over the white waves as they break. As far as the eye can see unspoiled stretches of white Sandy beaches entwined with black shining titanium. A truly unforgettable sight. A short walk to either side of the main beach and you find yourself completely alone and isolated.

In the few hours on the beach, the temperature can quickly change from chilly and misty to a warm and clear blue sunny sky.

If you are a water lover, you can enjoy some snorkeling. On a low tide and no wind, there is some great visibility and an array of fish species to be seen (please note that 1 should only snorkel at Low Tide due to the rip currents that may follow)

So whether you enjoy the Bush the Beach the Birds or the Whales this little trip will not disappoint you. You can do a game drive en-route, fish at Cape Vidal, swim or snorkel in the sea or simply like me take in the sights and smells of what this stunning place has to offer.

Make Cape Vidal a priority on your tick list while in St Lucia South Africa.


The climate St. Lucia offers, is great all year round.

Lets have a look at it:

Hottest/ Summer months: from November to end February.

  • The hottest months have been found to be November through to February.
  • Temperatures can easily attain 35 degrees Celsius.
  • Care should be taken to protect skin against sunburn from the harsh South African sun.
  • Night time temperatures will rarely be below 15 degrees.
  • During summer months high humidity is present.
  • During the December school holidays makers flock to St. Lucia.
  • To such a extent that the seems of St. Lucia want to break open through its seams.
  • The summer months is best suited to the holiday makers.
  • It is common to be fully booked from early December until January in the new year.
  • During the months February through to end of April, bookings are also good.

Autumn/ Winter months: March to July.

  • Plenty holiday makers prefer the autumn/ winter months to visit t. Lucia.
  • The weather conditions are not extreme heat or cold.


  • Ocean Basket
  • Braza
  • Ocean Sizzler
  • Pizza Perfect
  • Cape Vidal Restaurant
  • St Lucia Ski Boat Club
  • Reef and Dune
  • Wimpy
  • Beach Bums
  • Alfredo’s
  • Fisherman’s

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and there may be other restaurants in the area that are not included here.

Arts and Culture

Arts and culture options in St Lucia, Natal North Coast, South Africa:

  • Ubhejane Marimba Band – a local marimba band performing traditional and modern African music.
  • St Lucia Arts & Crafts Centre – a centre featuring local handmade crafts and art pieces, including traditional beadwork, carvings, and paintings.
  • Zulu Cultural Village – a cultural village that offers a unique insight into Zulu culture and traditions, including dance performances and guided tours.
  • Veyane Cultural Village – a village that offers a unique insight into traditional Zulu culture and daily life, with guided tours and cultural experiences.
  • Zulu Croc Reptile Park – a reptile park that showcases local reptile species and offers educational talks and demonstrations.
  • Local Heritage Sites – including the Dukuduku Forest, the Makhasa and Mzinene rivers, and the Maphelane dunes.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and there may be other arts and culture options in the area that are not included here.

Canerat Crafts

Our shop is filled with beautiful handmade crafts and also gifts. We also stock curios. We have a wonderful stock of cakes, biscuits, jams, sauces and much more.




St Lucia Arts & Crafts Market hosts a huge variety of handmade crafts made by local community members.

Products vary from fresh seasonal fruit to handmade gifts, baskets, ornaments, tablecloths, jewelry, wooden bowls and bags to name a few.

Located in the main street of St Lucia, the St Lucia Arts & Crafts Market is a short walking distance from shops.

  • Lee’s laundromat
Bars & Lounges
  • Ski Boat Club Bar
  • Anew Hotel Ingeli Forest Lounge
  • Monzi Country Club Bar
  • Lake St Lucia Lodge Bar
  • iSimangaliso Adventure Centre Bar
  • Fisherman’s

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and there may be other bars and lounges in the area that are not included here.

Outdoor and Adventure

Here are some outdoor and adventure options in St Lucia, Natal North Coast, South Africa:

  • iSimangaliso Wetland Park
  • Whale watching tours (seasonal)
  • Game drives at Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve
  • Crocodile Centre
  • Estuary Boardwalk
  • Beach walks and swimming
  • Fishing trips and charters
  • Kayaking and canoeing on the estuary
  • Horse riding on the beach or in the bush.
  • Rock and surf beach fishing, Fat bike fishing tours.
  • Boat rides on estuary lake with Fannas tours.
  • Snorkling at Cape Vidal.
  • Hiking to Bats Cave.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and there may be other outdoor and adventure options in the area that are not included here.

Day Trips

Hippo and Crocodile Cruise on a 15-Seat Vessel

  • Hop aboard a comfortable 15-seater vessel and cruise through the “Home of the Hippo.” Look out for these massive beasts and other endemic creatures.
  • Listen to fascinating facts about the area from the onboard skippers.


  • We mostly see Humpback Whales throughout the season, and on the odd occasion Bryde, Minke, Southern Right and Sperm Whales are spotted. A variety of prolific bird life and other marine mammals like Whale Shark, Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Flying Fish, Marlin, Sailfish and Shark can be spotted.


  • We take the horses out along Iphiva Beach at the northern end of St Lucia where there are many kilometers of clean white sand with the Indian Ocean rolling in alongside.


  • St Lucia Beach is particularly popular amongst fishermen that love to stand on the shores and cast straight into the open ocean or the nearby estuary.
  • A number of fish species can be found,
  • The sandy stretches are fabulous for lazy strolls, energetic jogs, or building sand castles and playing ball games.
  • Although the water is warm and inviting, visitors are advised to stay in the very shallow areas, because there are rip currents that can carry you out to sea.


The high coastal dunes that skirt the beach are not only beautiful but are also loads of fun to climb and explore. They make for the perfect backdrop to your vacation pictures, and the kids will love rolling down them. Just south of the estuary, there is a great walk that takes you to the estuary of the Umfolozi River. Here, but fishermen most often catch shad (also known as elf) for the table.


Tucked away in St Lucia at the end of McKenzie Street you will find the most wonderful market. Here you can find a vast selection of curios and fresh produce. Local farm producing paw-paws, bananas, avocado pears, macadamia nuts and so much more bring this fresh produce to the market.


A river, a forest and an ocean are all individual attractions that a good getaway can be planned around. Where there is river, brown earthy soil; where there is ocean, a blue coastal swell; where there are trees, green leaves to swing under.

A twenty-three-meter-high lighthouse made of a round reinforced concrete tower was coated in a distinctive yellow paint to guarantee its visibility against its forest dense background and ocean deep foreground.

10 April 2023  ckp

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