On a recent holiday in KwaZulu Natal, we visited Cape Vidal from St Lucia. Cape Vidal is one of South Africa’s hidden gems. Seriously beautiful and yet sufficiently remote that it is difficult to visit unless you either stay at Cape Vidal in their rather basic log cabins or at nearby St Lucia.
So why should you go to Cape Vidal? The simplistic answer is because it is the ultimate bush & beach destination – all within the space of one day if you please!
Cape Vidal lies 30 km north of the small sleepy town of St Lucia which is its only access point. The Isimangaliso Wetlands Park starts almost immediately. You leave St Lucia and here you pay a very reasonable fee for your car and per person. The Park is bordered to the east by the Indian Ocean & surrounds the vast Lake St Lucia with its many hippos & crocs. This game reserve has developed tremendously in recent years. With the good summer rains we were bowled over by the quantity of game we saw from our rental car. From zebra, hippo, blue wildebeest, impala, waterbuck, warthog to the impressive buffalo & white rhino. The nocturnal leopard is also frequently seen if you take a guided night drive in the park. Or you can choose to stay until just before the park gates close for the evening.
Bush and Beach:
As it was winter our day began with a relaxed breakfast at our lodge (Lidiko Lodge – recommended!). Followed by a slow meander through the park – the “bush” part of the day. If it had been summer, we would have started earlier to see the animals in the early morning. Before they started to seek out deep shade away from the midday sun.
At lunchtime, we arrived at Cape Vidal and began the “beach” part of the day. We relaxed on a beautiful golden sandy beach. This northern part of KwaZulu Natal is about the only part of South Africa which has a climate suitable for beach days year round. We enjoyed a picnic lunch under the shade of the forested dunes. Then enjoyed a spot of snorkelling on the reef which lies just off the beach & is easily reached at low tide.
In the spirit of full disclosure, this was not the most epic snorkelling experience I have enjoyed in South Africa. Not much further north I would recommend Thonga Beach Lodge in South Africa. Or White Pearl Resort which lies just over the border in Mozambique. However we saw quite a few colourful fish including some giant crayfish (lobster). It is great for kids because you are snorkelling so close to the shore.
Later we meandered back through the park stopping for a snack at one of the picnic spots. Enjoying the panoramic view of Lake St Lucia before returning to the charming little holiday village of St Lucia. Actually St Lucia makes for a great base to stay in the area offering visits to Cape Vidal, visits to the Umfolozi-Hluhluwe Game Park only 30 minutes away, as well as boat cruises on Lake St Lucia itself.
As well as self-guided trips like the one we enjoyed, you can also book a guided bush & snorkelling trip, a night drive or in the summer season a turtle-tracking excursion which is a Must-Do activity between November and February.
See one of my earlier posts about Turtle Tracking….
Contact us if you would like to discuss a holiday in KwaZulu Natal or check out our KwaZulu Natal Pages.