17 January 2021
It’s a cloudy start to the day at Cape Vidal and the route for our morning drive takes us along the Grassland Loop and then to the viewpoint at Catalina Bay on the shores of Lake St. Lucia. Recent rains have swelled the lake to proportions I don’t think we’ve seen on any of our numerous previous visits to the area.
We’re slowly making our way to the picnic site at Mission Rocks for breakfast.
On arrival at Mission Rocks we delay our breakfast of coffee-and-rusks just a little to first walk down to the rocky beach and look out over the ocean. But its windy and drizzly so we don’t stay at the seaside too long before going to hide in the forest, where the picnic tables are also frequented by some colourful birds with the same aching for something to eat that we had.
Driving further south the sun finally puts in appearance and the bush becomes alive as birds and animals come out of hiding.
We turn for camp at Amazibu Pan, where the hippos are kept from their sleep by a raucous assortment of birdlife.
Heading back to Cape Vidal there’s three short loop roads that offer an alternative to the busier tarred main road, and each of them offers a glimpse into a different ecosystem. The first of these is the Vlei Loop that passes several open pans where animals congregate to drink.
The Forest Loop passes the kuMfazana Hide, where we discover a butterfly paradise – more about that tomorrow!
A turnoff from the Dune Loop leads to the Kwasheleni Tower – a new facility opened after our previous visit to iSimangaliso that we were very curious to see – but a sour old buffalo bull tried his best to keep us from reaching it.
Our patience paid off when the buffalo eventually relented and we could reach the viewing tower without further hindrance (unless you see the climbing up the dune and then the tower as an obstacle). The views afforded over Lake St. Lucia and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park from up the top of the tower was amazing.
Arriving back at Cape Vidal around the same time the clouds did, we nevertheless didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to explore the rock pools at low tide.
Having lunch on the deck of our log cabin we were visited by a variety of the local wildlife.
We didn’t take a very long afternoon drive, just a two-hour excursion along the Grassland and Dune Loops and back to camp.