Nestled between the Indian Ocean and the St Lucia Estuary, and surrounded by a UNESCO World Heritage Site, St Lucia town lies surrounded by magnificent, natural coastal forests, wildlife, majestic bird life, and breath-taking beaches.
The area’s ecological significance for wildlife and fish resources were thankfully recognised in the late 19th century, soon after the region saw extensive hunting for ivory, rhino horn and hippo. The area was then declared a nature reserve in 1897, and the original 36 826 hectares of protected land is now considered the oldest, permanently proclaimed reserve in Africa. Presently, the park is believed to be the richest mammal conservation area in the whole of South Africa!
Nowadays, St Lucia has two well-stocked supermarkets, a dozen restaurants, two fuel stations, several fishing tackle shops, a hairdresser, a variety of curio shops and sellers, as well as a popular fruit and craft market, a post office and there’s even a library, amongst other services.
Boasting 300 sun-filled days a year, and a subtropical climate – St Lucia offers hot summers (November to March), and mild winters (June to August), with a summer rainfall season. These conditions make the sleepy town perfect for holiday visits the whole year round.
St Lucia Estuary
The St Lucia Estuary system is the largest in Africa and is fed from the South by the Indian Ocean, bringing salty water in on a tidal basis every 12 hours. The Estuary system reaches a depth of 1.2 metres, has a maximum width of around 21 kilometres, and stretches for an extensive 80 kilometres.
The lake started forming about 140 million years ago; stretching from the mouth in the southern part of the park, and then northwards to the Mkuze swamps.
The whole Estuary system covers a total of approximately 300 square kilometres and forms the now iSimangaliso Wetland Par. The Park was listed as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site in December 1999 in recognition of its superlative natural beauty and unique global values.