Today our travels took us from Swaziland back into South Africa, St Lucia. We entered back into South Africa via the Lavumisa border crossing. Our journey from Silverstone Lodge to St Lucia took around 5 hrs with a stop. It was pretty uneventful journey except that I got stopped for speeding, 82km in a 60 zone. Which in fact I was guilty of but I was only keeping up with every other car on the road at the time, but we got picked on as we were tourists in a hire car. The police officer was very pleasant and had a nice smile on his face. He asked us if we were having a good day, to which we replied yes. He then told us he was going to spoil it (this appears to be the standard phrase for police officers throughout the world). He told me the fine would be 150 rand about £7.50, to which I replied no I will take the ticket. He then came out with the line that the nearest police station was miles awayand would be better if I paid him. I then replied that we had no money and to issue us with the ticket. He looked at us and with a smile he admitted defeat and let us off, so our day was still good (There are no such things as road side fines in South Africa. South African police are very corrupt. See previous blog post on how to deal with them). I would recommend a stop at ? which is a short distance from the border for a nice coffee or something to eat.
We arrived at Kingsher B&B aroud 15:00. The place was amazing, just perfect. Our room had its own terrace with large sofa in which we wiled away the rest of the evening drinking excellent and cheap, compared to UK, South African wine.
Our first full day we were awoken by the sound of the Vervet monkeys running all over the roof chasing one another in some mad game of tag. Then after an excellent breakfast, we embarked on an walk along the estury down to the beach. In fact the walk ended up being some 7 mile round trip. It turned out to be worth our while. We took the woodland trail and noticed all along the way were signs warning you about the dangers of Hippos and crocodiles in the area, which was quite alarming but not surprising due to the large concentration in the area of bothe species. It was not until we reached a clearing on our walk and noticed a memorial to a young girl who had perhaps been playing, where she had been attacked and killed by a crocodile, hitting home the dangers of the area further. We walked along further and came to a boardwalk leading to the beach. We saw a lot of people walking along to the estury entry and decided to investigate. “The beach at St Lucia is vast, lovely white sand and stretches for miles, and the roar of the sea coming in was amazing.” When we arrived at the mouth of the estury we immediately saw a herd of hippos wallowing in the water. I still cannot get my head around the fact that they grow so big, but only feed on grass and vegetation. In the water alongside the Hippos were quite a few crocodiles, their heads just visible above the water line. Whilst I was taking photo’s of the group of Hippos, I heard a splash and just caught a glimpse out or the corner of my eye as a huge Crocodile running into the water. Then I noticed two more Crocs just a mere 40 feet away. So yes do beware of the crocodiles.
After dinner and when it was dark, we decided to take a drive around the area that we had walked earlier in the day, to look out for some hippos that had come out to graze. We drove to the clearing where we saw the memorial, and as we turned the corner we saw a group of hippos happily grazing. It was a bit nerve racking seeing them out of the water and so close. A perfect end to a perfect day.
So stay safe, and keep following.