While sitting at Sunset Jetty admiring a resplendent sunset we met a young Spanish couple. We started chatting and they asked what there was to do in St Lucia – they only had one day. “One day!” (I thought). “How crazy is that, you need a minimum of 3 days”. Oops, then I remembered I was only in St Lucia (part of Isimangaliso Wetland Park) for a day.
This was our itinerary:
Our first stop was the beach.
A scenic boardwalk takes you to the beach along the estuary.
To get to the beach we followed the scenic boardwalk along the estuary. In the distance were two crocodiles but this time no hippos
This is a favourite spot for tourists, locals, families and also birders. The walk is only about 500m long so takes about 20 minutes. For us birders however, it takes longer as it is impossible to not to peer through our bins (affectionate word for binoculars) at the amazing bird life. We found pelicans, gulls, herons and many terns. Closer to the beach in nearby bushes were weavers, dusky flycatcher and Bar Throated Apalis to name a few.
At the end of the boardwalk you’re on the beach. It’s pristine, free of huge crowds, there may be a handful of fisherman and if you’re lucky, whales (winter only).
As the sun began to set we detoured to Sunset Jetty a hot spot among photographers.
There are a number of restaurants in St Lucia to choose from, but my favourite is the local Ski Boat Club. I love the relaxed laid back atmosphere, cheap meals and draft beer. It overlooks the estuary so is also a good lunchtime venue. Make sure you sit outside on a warm day.
Our overnight accommodation was at Monzi Backpackers in a tent. This is not backpacking or camping like I know it. Friendly staff welcomed us to this little paradise in the main street of St Lucia. The tents were comfortable and well equipped for all our electronic gadgets, ablutions fresh and clean. The outside kitchens were well equipped, and we were given our own container to keep our food separate in the fridge. I will definitely be back and not for one day only.
Monzi Luxury Backpackers for the Night
The next day started early when we roamed the mere 2km Igwalagwala Forest Trail, a bird lover’s haven. We enjoyed the company of red duiker, two bushbuck, and vervet monkeys, never mind a huge variety of birds including three specials, the Green Malkoha, Livingstones’s Turaco and Rudd’s Apalis
From there, we rushed back to Monzi Backpackers for breakfast and then headed for the Western Shores. It’s hard to choose between the Western and Eastern Shores, both have their own charm. If you have more than one day then most definitely visit both.
Western or Eastern Shores?
I personally love the Western Shores – it’s wide open spaces, waterholes and a boardwalk is a huge attraction. The Eastern Shores is also appealing with beautiful views of the lake, Mission Rocks and of course Cape Vidal, a marine paradise.
On both sides of the lake there is the opportunity of not only finding exciting birds, but also wild animals such as various buck species, giraffe, elephant and our precious rhinos. Leopard sightings is often reported.
Too soon it was time to head for home – one day is not enough for St Lucia but it’s better than nothing and better than being at home.