Tag Archives: Mission Rocks

Summertide Diary: Rock Pool Wonderland

For landlubbers like us gawking with open mouths at the colourful life in a rock pool at the sea shore is one of the highlights of a beach holiday. Many of the life forms are so unique and different from what we’re used to as to seem utterly alien. We were fortunate in that, during our time in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, we had a chance to visit Mission Rocks at low tide in the cool of the afternoon, allowing us to clamber over the rocks from one pool to the next to our heart’s content.

 

Summertide Diary: Exploring iSimangaliso (part five)

21 January 2021

After a night of heavy rainfall our first encounter of the morning was with an amphibian, probably no surprize there. It was however the first time we saw the tiny Bush Squeaker frog – this one, no bigger than a thumbnail, was sitting next to our vehicle as we wanted to climb aboard for our morning excursion.

Bush Squeaker

Everything was crisp and clean along the Grassland Loop after the rainstorm the previous night.

Climbing to the top of the Kwasheleni Tower and taking in the beautiful views in the morning light with the smell of a wet forest all around was magical.

There was lots to see along the remainder of the road back to camp

With low tide arriving around 15:00 this afternoon we used the opportunity to go down to Mission Rocks and explore the wonders of the rocky shoreline there. This gallery is just a little teaser of what we have in store for you tomorrow.

After a wonderful time around the rock pools at Mission Rocks the road back to Cape Vidal was buzzing with lots to see.

 

Map of the eastern shores section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (from https://isimangaliso.com/)

Summertide Diary: Exploring iSimangaliso (part one)

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.

 

Map of the eastern shores section of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (from https://isimangaliso.com/)

 

iSimangaliso’s Eastern Shores – A Photographic Journey (Part 4)

Time to wrap up the photographic trip report of our recent visit to the Eastern Shores of Lakes St. Lucia, with a gallery of some of the larger animals we encountered on land and sea in the place of miracles and wonders – the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Follow the links for more of our posts about St. Lucia town, Cape Vidal and Mission Rocks.

 

iSimangaliso’s Eastern Shores – A Photographic Journey (Part 3)

On the Eastern Shores of Lake St. Lucia, the amazing diversity of life forms comes in all sizes. The star of this collection of photos showcasing some of the smaller creatures that crossed our path on our recent visit must be the tiny frog that somehow got into my mug while we were enjoying coffee and rusks one morning at Mziki viewpoint near Mission Rocks. Exactly when it got into my coffee is unclear – I had put my mug down a few times to take pictures – and I have no idea how much of my coffee I had shared with the little guy. Joubert only noticed it sitting in the cup when I took my last swig as we started packing up to leave. Lucky for it, I drink a lot of milk in my coffee so it wouldn’t have been scalded.

Follow the links for more of our posts about St. Lucia town, Cape Vidal and Mission Rocks.

iSimangaliso’s Eastern Shores – A Photographic Journey (Part 2)

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a bird-watcher’s paradise – 526 bird species have been recorded within its borders!

During the few days we recently spent on the Eastern Shores of Lake St. Lucia, we managed to tick 109 kinds of birds, and had we been better at identifying the “Little Brown Jobs” our list would undoubtedly have been quite a bit longer still.

This incredible diversity is surely due to the Park’s rich variety of habitats, and our “success” in connecting with so many kinds of birds can only be ascribed to the terrific collection of roads, hides, picnic sites and other localities so easily accessible to visitors.

We hope you enjoy this sample of iSimangaliso’s birdlife!

Follow the links for more of our posts about St. Lucia town, Cape Vidal and Mission Rocks.

iSimangaliso’s Eastern Shores – A Photographic Journey (Part 1)

We’re fresh back from a terrific holiday in two very special wild places in northern Kwazulu-Natal. Our first destination was the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and specifically the Eastern Shores of Lake St. Lucia, where we spent one night at Manzini Chalets in the holiday town of St. Lucia, and four nights in a log cabin at Cape Vidal.

I can’t think of a better way to start off the report back on our trip than with a few landscape photos that illustrates why iSimangaliso is a land of “miracles and wonders”, and one of our favourite destinations!

Follow the links for more of our posts about St. Lucia town, Cape Vidal and Mission Rocks.

The rugged beauty of Mission Rocks

Today a very popular picnic and fishing spot north of St. Lucia Town in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Mission Rocks is named for a Catholic mission station established in the area in 1888. The path leading from the parking area to the beach opens onto a scene of rugged, rocky beauty, revealing rock pools teeming with life at low tide and impressing with the thundering of crashing waves at high tide. There’s a sandy, open beach 500m northwards of the rocks, with a sea-cave where thousands of bats roost.

On the way to Mission Rocks, the uMziki viewpoints and picnic site, set right in the coastal forest, is a worthwhile stop. From atop the dune there’s views over Lake Saint Lucia to the west and the Indian Ocean to the east, and down below in the forested picnic site there’s an astounding variety of birds that would normally be very shy but here seems quite habituated to having humans around. There’s also usually a couple of red duiker to be seen.