Pictures from St. Lucia
October 17 Swaziland to St. Lucia
October 18 Cape Vidal
October 20 St. Lucia to Johannesburg
We arrived in St. Lucia late in the afternoon, so we went to the boat dock on the estuary to watch the sunset. Most evenings we were in St. Lucia the clouds were thick enough so that we couldn't see the sunset, but this one was not too bad.
The bumps in the estuary at sunset were sandbanks exposed by low water, not hippos. But there are around 1,000 hippos living in the estuary.
In keeping with the “hippo” theme, we stayed at a hotel called Hippo Hideaway. Besides the polished wooden hippo next to the swimming pool, there were also real hippos who from time to time would come up and graze in the garden.
The sign warns you not to swim, because of the presence of hippos and crocodiles. Both are dangerous to humans, and in fact more people in Africa are killed by hippos than by any other animal. A few people are killed every year in St. Lucia by hippos and crocodiles, mostly people who failed to pay attention while fishing.
Finally we were on the shores of the Indian Ocean. It was windy but warm, and along the beach were people surfing and surf-fishing and riding horses.
We drove from St. Lucia through coastal sand dune forest out to Cape Vidal. As in Kruger Park, because of the presence of dangerous animals like Cape Buffalo, we were prohibited from getting out of the car except at designated places. The lookout near Mission Rocks had a view over the ocean, where we could see whales spouting, and landwards towards the estuary.
At the entrance to the park there had been signs warning us that dung beetles had the right of way on park roads. So we had to stop while this one crossed the road in front of our car.
And right at the side of the road were about two dozen of its friends busily working away at a big pile of dung. Then we realized that they were the big black beetles that had been buzzing into our faces at the lookout.
On the way from Cape Vidal back to St. Lucia, we drove through grassy areas close to the estuary rather than bushy areas farther away, so there were not as many large animals. But there were a lot of flowers blooming.
And there were a lot of birds to be seen, such as this African Cuckoo Hawk on a telephone pole right beside the road.
Back in St. Lucia, the rain showers were drying up so we went over to the beach near the outlet of the estuary.
One evening we went on a two-hour boat tour of the estuary. Of course the primary object of the tour was to see hippos, and we did see lots of hippos. The tour operator also passed around a hippopotamus tooth for us to look at.
Goliath Herons were also quite common around the edges of the estuary. These are large herons that stand nearly a metre and half tall, so the estuary must contain a lot of fish to feed them and the pelicans and storks that were there as well.
People were selling little stacks of pineapples like these in the streets of St. Lucia, and even at the side of the N2 highway. Usually they were in stacks of eight, and the ladies were quite taken aback when we said we only wanted to buy one pineapple. The pineapples grown in the Maputaland area around St. Lucia are a variety that are meant to be eaten fresh, unlike the pineapples that are grown for juice elsewhere in South Africa.