St Lucia Walking Trails
John Muir said: “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks”. I experience this every time I go exploring the walking trails around St Lucia.
One with nature, wild animals around, birds chirping in the trees, a soft breeze on your face, every walking trail in St Lucia offers something unique.
iGWALAGWALA FOREST TRAIL
The iGwalagwala Forest Trail (also known as lovers lane) on the Southern end of St Lucia is like a mystical forest. Tall trees, butterflies drifting around, birds chatting and insects marching around. The Red Duiker is a familiar sighting on this trail. The circular iGwalagwala trail is coastal forest conjoined to St Lucia Estuary, which makes for a great number of Hippo paths (and sometimes a hippo sighting) all over the trail. The hippo paths leading into thick forest foliage instill a certain amount of fear in the hearts of those brave enough to walk the trail. Just kidding, but to be honest, I am a bit wary when walking there. I would suggest avoiding this trail from late afternoons to early mornings as hippos are active during those times.
This trail is perfect for bird watching enthusiasts. iGwala is the Zulu name for the Purple-crested Turaco, which is a common sighting along with the White-eared Barbet, Red-capped Robin-chat, Crested Guineafowl, Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird and Southern Boubou to name a few.
Other animals that can be spotted on this trail are Vervet Monkeys, Tree Squirrels and Bushbuck.
The 1.5km trail is open to the public and entrance is free of charge. No bikes and motorcycles are allowed on the trail. Dogs must be on leashes as wild animals are around. Insect repellent is a must when doing this trail.
The Estuary Boardwalk is a wooden walkway right next to St Lucia estuary. The walkway is about 600m long and travels through scenic vegetation to Estuary Beach.
Crocodiles and hippos on the banks of the estuary can often be seen from the boardwalk. Birds such as the African Fish Eagle, Kingfishers, Herons and Pelicans to name a few can be spotted.
The Sugarloaf Market, situated at the starting point of the boardwalk, hosts a variety of handmade crafts made by local community members. The St Lucia Ski Boat Club is also close by for a quick lunch.
The Estuary Boardwalk is open to the public and free of charge. No bikes and motorcycles are allowed on the boardwalk. Dogs must be on leashes as wild animals are around.
SELF-GUIDED NATURE TRAIL
The Self-guided Nature Trail is near the Bhangazi Gate of iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The trail stretches into a section of the Park which presents sightings of Zebra, Impala, Warthog and Hippo to name a few.
The trail is in close proximity to the St Lucia Crocodile Centre, a sanctuary for crocodiles and other reptiles. The Centre also features a curio shop.
The Self-guided Nature Trail is open to the public and free of charge. No bikes and motorcycles are allowed on the boardwalk. Dogs must be on leashes as wild animals are around.
A guided tour can also be booked. The guides are all highly skilled at the art of reading animal tracks and signs and will fascinate you with their interpretations of what happened on the trails the night before. The trail is also used for horse safaris.