St. Lucia’s Crocodile Centre

Lake Saint Lucia is the core of a vast ecosystem, rightfully included in South Africa’s first designated World Heritage Site, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The Crocodile Centre, managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife at the Bhangazi Gate into the Park, and the self-guided trails in the adjacent game park, offers an excellent introduction to this Park of “miracles and wonders” (the English meaning of the isiZulu word iSimangaliso). It also has the best stocked curio shop in town and a lovely tea garden.

Of course the crocodiles, an integral part of the lake’s ecological functioning, are the star attractions. On display are not only specimens of our indigenous Nile Crocodiles ranging in size from newly hatched babies to “monsters” over 4m in length, but the centre also houses Dwarf and Slender-Snouted Crocodiles from tropical Africa and a couple of American Alligators. You can also try your hand at spotting another of iSimangaliso’s very secretive inhabitants, the extremely venomous and expertly camouflaged Gaboon Adder.

The centre’s beautiful gardens are a magnet for other wildlife, and we always get a kick from the humorous signs (to us, anyway).

Saint Lucia is a unique town, located on a wedge of land at the mouth of Lake St. Lucia, between the lake and the Indian Ocean, and entirely surrounded by the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. All kinds of wildlife roam the town, including hippopotamus and leopard. Right in town, a magnificent piece of coastal forest can be explored along the Gwalagwala Trail. A number of private operators offer guided tours of the area, and several launch-tours operate on the estuary. Two camping areas and a host of privately run establishments offers overnight accommodation, and the town has most of the facilities you’d expect (shops, restaurants, doctor, fuel station, boat club, picnic sites), making St. Lucia an excellent base for a bush-and-beach holiday.

Crocodile Centre (23)

 

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15 thoughts on “St. Lucia’s Crocodile Centre

  1. Pingback: Nile Crocodile | de Wets Wild

  2. Midwestern Plant Girl

    OMG! I almost pee’d myself laughing at the wheelchair/croc sign! 😂
    Looks like a fun afternoon with all the dangerous animals. I really like the hippos. So sweet looking. . Even tho I know they can be bad a$$ if they want to.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      We’ve seen the wheelchair warning so many times before and still crack up every time we see it! 😀

      And you are so right that the crocodile centre is a great place to visit. Very informative for young and old.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      South Africa, being a mostly dry country, has very few natural lakes – St. Lucia being one of them – and the majority of inland water bodies are man-made. Crocodiles occur in the east-flowing rivers (and man-made dams in them) from KZN Province northwards, so dipping your toes in those is really hazardous. At the same time, bilharzia is prevalent in many of the same systems, so it’s not only the toothy crocodiles you need to be worried about, Ladybuggz!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thanks Kelly. St. Lucia is a special destination, with so many attractions, and certainly more authentic than many other holiday places I can think of…

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