Cruising for Hippos in St Lucia

St Lucia is a laid-back holiday town off the north coast of the KwaZulu-Natal region. It’s part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and famous for South Africa’s largest hippo population. You may be surprised to hear that hippos are considered the most dangerous land animals in Africa, and we saw a number of signs all over town warning us to beware of them, especially after dark when they stroll into town to snack on someone’s sweet lawn grass or take a dip in a holiday home’s pool.

Fortunately for us, the only encounter we had with them was from a riverboat on an outing along the St Lucia Estuary on a hippo and crocodile cruise. We didn’t see any crocodiles this time, or many birds for that matter, but there were hippos aplenty, their little ears twitching just above the water to warn us that what looks like a grouping of rocks are in fact hippos.

Their grunting and huffing, and the quiet chug-chug of the boat, were the only sounds we heard as we cruised serenely down the river. For two blissfully relaxing hours we sat, sipping cold drinks, watching the shore slowly pass by, occasionally being treated to a display of a large toothy hippo yawn, or a little baby coming up for air alongside its mother.


It’s not the most thrilling of excursions, as hippos tend to just laze about in the water, but it’s a good way to spend a lazy afternoon, enjoying nature and quietly chilling.

Have you been on the St Lucia hippo cruise? Did you get to see crocodiles or any other animals or birds? What was your most memorable experience in this town?

For more posts in the Babymoon 2015 series, click here.

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