Cape Vidal – Swift Tern

Earlier in July we visited Cape Vidal nature reserve just north of St Lucia in northern Zululand, South Africa. As usual I am camping and must say in one of the most upmarket camping sites I have ever camped in. The ablution blocks are state of the art, tiled in slate and tastefully designed with high pressure hot showers to massage your aching muscles after a glorious day on the pristine beaches nearby.

 

The swimming here is extremely safe as a reef 50 meters out to sea creates a  natural bay, resulting in a swimming pool on the south beach at low tide with no wave action. The surf outside of this is great for surfing and when the onshore winds blow  kiteboarding! Fisherman flock to this region to fish from the beach and at this time of the year were catching numerous Elf(Shad) a few meters out from the waters edge.

 

Sitting on the beach I noticed many whales breaching in the distance other way up to Mozambique and Madagascar to breed(give birth?) before heading back down again to Antartica to fatten up once more. 


Walking around the camp site you can find numerous photographic opportunities to film stunning birds from the usual bulbul to a stunning woodepecker that seems to hand around the north side of the camp site. What’s is also amazing is how habituated the antelope are in the region with Red Duiker and Bushbuck walking up to you while seated next to your tent looking at you for a small snack, which obviously people have been doing here for a while. I personally witnessed a young boy feeding a Bushbuck biscuits with his father watching not saying anything. There are hefty fines for feeding animals in the reserves because of the problems it creates especially with children and I held back on warning them to later pull his father aside and get him to correct this situation. This habit has created a huge problem here with the vervet monkeys raiding your tents and  taking any opportunity to raid your food store so make sure you lock foodstuff away in your car or trailer not your tent as they bite through the tents to get to the food. The banded Mongoose are fortunately not a big problem here as they are in Sodwana where they come right up to you and come close to snatching food out of your hands with their razor sharp teeth! So please as cute as they are please do not feed any animals/birds etc. in any reserve anywhere in the world.

Bring your cameras and make sure you have a good zoom lens to film the birds as they are quite small from white eyes, sunbirds, ……… And be patient waiting for them to pass your way as they normally raid the trees in waves each bird eating what it prefers from small aphids to worms then monkeys follow eating fruit etc. including the rare Somango monkeys, which are also a bit of a pest here, which is unusual as they are normally extremely shy.


Remember to do your shopping in St Lucia as there is only a small shop here with a few basic items, no vegetables, meat etc. some wine but no beer.

 

What is amazing is that nobody plays any music in the campsite – maybe they do but so quietly you do not hear them, which is unusual for camp sites frequented by fisherman! Thanks for respecting other people in a campsite as the is no way everyone will enjoy your music, which tends to happen in most camp sites I go to.

 

Once you leave the campsite or whey of are ere do a game drive on the loop road, which takes you along the shores of the St Lucia Estuary where you are able to get out at various view sites. The northern region has wetlands and plenty of geese and water birds then as you again head south you come across game and when I was there in July was green after a bush fire, which resulted in some amazing photographs for winter in a reserve. 

 

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Overall rating : 35/40 – *****  

 

This is a Reserve I highly recommend and  star ratings are as follows : Social 5 (great place to have your friends join you); Family 5 ( safe beaches and great fun for the entire family) ; Financial 3 ( a little pricy but this is quite upmarket for a camp site) ; Spiritual 5 ( plenty of time to spend on your own playing music, meditating, healing with no distractions) ; Health 5 ( bring your surfboards, boogy boards, kite boards, snorkeling kit, running or walking gear) ; Intellectual 3 ( if you take an interest in nature the diversity of nature here is mind boggling from amazing trees to stunning birds, butterfly, insects and various game from antelopes to monkeys.); Accommodation 4 (-1 for the electricity) top class plus the are also rondavels for the not so happy campers.; ECO Footprint – 5 – as this reserve is near StLucia and is not From Durban it is quite easy to get there and you do not need a 4×4 to get there.

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