After our jeep safari in  Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, we embarked on another safari adventure but of a different kind –  a boat safari. We headed to St. Lucia,  a small town in the east coast where the population of hippos and crocs outnumber the people. It is home to one the largest estuary in Africa, which is  teeming with wildlife and is the first UNESCO Heritage site in South Africa.

Hotel Warning Sign, St. Lucia, Estuary, South AfricaWarning sign in our hotel lobby.  Should we be nervous?

Warning Sign, St. Lucia, Estuary, South AfricaMore warning sign on the river bank. I don’t they should worry; we wouldn’t think of feeding the crocs in a million years.

Boat Safari, St. Lucia Estuary, South AfricaAll set to board  the boat for a safari in the tidal estuary. Although it was called “Hippos and Crocs Boat Cruise,” we saw a lot of other wildlife that inhabit the wetlands.

Hippopotamus, St. Lucia Estuary, South AfricaOur first sigthing was a huge crash of floating hippos. The wetlands of St. Lucia has the highest concentration of hippos in South Africa

Hippopotamus, St. Lucia Estuary, South AfricaHippos are known to roam the streets of the village at night.  They were probably relaxing here after a wild night out.

Hippopotamus, St. Lucia Estuary, South Africa


Waterbuck, St. Lucia Estuary, South AfricaThis waterbuck swam across the river and struggled to get our of the water when it reached the bank. We watched the poor thing struggled for several  minutes.

Waterbuck, St. Lucia Estuary, South AfricaThe waterbuck changed its course and finally got out of the water. Everyone in our boat cheered.


Heron, St. Lucia Estuary, South Africa

The area is also bird’s lover paradise. This was one of the many graceful herons we saw.

Kingfisher, St. Lucia Estuary, South AfricaA Kingfisher was  one of the many bird species we identified.

Boat Safari, St. Lucia Estuary, South AfricaWe had not seen any crocs at this point, To make up for it,  the boat captain handed us a model of a crocodile head.

Crocodile, St. Lucia Estuary, South AfricaAnd soon after, as if hearing that we were looking for them, the crocs started to come to view.

Crocodile, St. Lucia Estuary, South AfricaHere’s a huge one basking in the sun.

Hippos, St. Lucia, Estuary SouthMore sighting of huge crash of hippos lounging on the river bank.

Hippos, St. Lucia Estuary, South AfricaHippos on lunch breach.

Hippos, St. Lucia Estuary, South AfricaA bunch of healthy rumps. Don’t they look delicious?

Market in St. Lucia Estuary, South AfricaAfter cruising the estuary, we walked around town and checked out the market selling fresh produce and souvenirs.

Market in St. Lucia Estuary, South AfricaA lovely girl in the market.

Seeing the wildlife from the boat was  a delightful  experience. It was a beautiful day and the cruise was quite relaxing. For more information about the boat cruise in  St. Lucia Estuary, click here. Don’t forget to bring your binoculars and zoom lens.

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About Marisol & Keith

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

34 responses to “South Africa: Boat Safari in St. Lucia Estuary

    • Hi Marcia, it really was relaxing and enjoyalbe. The hippos were surprsingly graceful and adorable.

    • Hi Phoebe, thanks. It really was a fun and relaxing way to see the wildlife.

  1. Katie

    The signs are hilarious! I can’t imagine trying to feed a crocodile, haha. Looks amazing! I am hoping to plan a trip to South Africa next year, so I will be back here looking through everything again. I especially liked your photo of the heron, it’s gorgeous. The hippo butts and the market girl are close runners up.
    Katie recently posted..Indonesian Food – yes, please!My Profile

    • Hi Katie, we thought the hotel sign was scary but yes, the crocodile sign was pretty hilarious. We thought that maybe some super crazy people might have tried to feed the crocs in the past, hence, the sign. Glad you enjoyed the photos.
      Marisol & Keith recently posted..South Africa: Boat Safari in St. Lucia EstuaryMy Profile

  2. Marisol, I wish I had done this while we were in South Africa. I love a boat ride, and hippos…not so sure about crocodiles. I’ve seen my fair share of them by now, and they’re kind of scary. Beautiful photos, as always!
    Corinne recently posted..Weekend Travel Inspiration – The ListMy Profile

    • Hi Corrine, thanks. If you love boat rides and hippos this would be a delightful experience for you.. Too bad you missed but hey, there’s always a next time.

  3. Fantastic shots – it would be difficult to choose between them to pick a favorite; although I have to admit that little girl brought a smile. What a great adventure and even better because you saw everything you did unlike some safaris that don’t result in any sightings.
    Jackie Smith recently posted..That Dovecote Day on Tinos IslandMy Profile

  4. Amazing shots as usual. Thankfully the water buck did not cross in an area infested with crocodiles, otherwise instead of cheering you would have witnessed a horrific ‘national geographic drama’.
    Rachel M recently posted..Saving Mount KenyaMy Profile

  5. the hippos are so much fun to watch i think. i wonder if they have the same type of boat safari in the bayou of lousiana :)
    Photo Cache recently posted..Random SkywatchingMy Profile

  6. Leigh

    What a great outing. I never think of South Africa in terms of boat safaris but good to get another view.
    I have seen hippos en masse and now understand the term “when the shit hits the fan”. Their pooping display was like nothing I’ve seen in my life – with the stuff flying through the air like a fan had caught it.
    Leigh recently posted..Hiking in Calgary’s Nose Hill ParkMy Profile

    • Hi Leigh, Oh no, we missed that great pooping scene.! I guess it was not a pooping time when we visited. Sounds like a really interesting sight.

    • Hi Nancie, Yeah, Leigh’s comment is really funny. We think the villagers are used to seeing the hippos on the street that it’s just like bumping into neighbors when they see them on the street.

  7. I definitely want to do a boat ride along a hippo filled river in Africa. The Heron photo is stunning and I love the clarity of the hippo photo. I liked the first one because it was so surprising, but the rest are equally as good. :) We saw a croc on the bank at Dungeness this week, but it was quick to enter the water so no photo though. It was about 6ft long. Loving your African trip.
    budget jan recently posted..Have you caught Crabs on Holiday?My Profile

  8. Agness

    What a great day! I am a big fan of farmers’ markets so I would also head straight to this fruit and veggie market to buy some organic products! This boy in the last picture stole my heart <3!
    Agness recently posted..Visiting Düsseldorf On A BudgetMy Profile

  9. Erica

    I love your photos, they’re beautiful and capture everything so perfectly! St Lucia is really close to my hometown, and I remember going there on a school outing, I loved it!
    Erica recently posted..MayMy Profile

  10. I somehow never realized that people did safaris via boats, too. It must have been so wonderful seeing all those wild hippos, although I don’t think I’d want to encounter one on a street at night. I imagine they must have to put a warning sign up about the crocodiles because some person thought it’d be a good idea to feed them. Glad that you are wiser!

  11. Bama

    I heard that hippos kill more people every year than crocodiles. They surely are easy to aggravate, but when they just soak in the river, they look kind of adorable actually. At least for me. :)
    Bama recently posted..Food of the Fragrant Harbor Part 1: Earth & SeaMy Profile

  12. noel

    What a fun tour, it’s so amazing to see the variety of wild animals in their natural environments, would love to do a photo excursion like this some day. Thanks for sharing meanwhile.
    noel recently posted..4th Street in BerkeleyMy Profile

  13. I have a fascination with hippos and this is my kind of boat safari :) Love all the gorgeous wildlife photos here! What a wonderful way to see the wildlife and looks relaxing too. And a safer way to see the crocs. Those signs are hilarious. You’re making my S Africa so enticing!
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Cruising the San Diego Big BayMy Profile

  14. ladyfi

    What amazing shots! Such an adventure.
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  16. I’ve never seen these animals outside a zoo! I really hope I can visit South Africa someday. Gotta save up more :)

  17. Mike

    Sorry, we are so late to the party Marisol and Keith! Your pictures are once again spectacular. I was just reading yesterday on another blog that the most common cause of death for tourists by hippos is them attacking people in boats?? Had you heard of this occurring while you were there? I love that crocodile warning…I would have no desire to feed them in an open environment! What an absolutely amazing trip for you! We hope you’re doing great, our friends! :)

  18. Anda

    Wow, what an exotic post! You don’t see hippos in travel blogs every day. Excellent photos, by the way.

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