Wednesday, June 1, 2011

T4T Awards

T4T Awards – Park Authority selected a global finalist in the Destination Stewardship Category.

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority was one of three global finalists in the Destination Stewardship Category of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.

200 applications from over 40 countries were reviewed by 22 judges. The awards took place in Las Vegas, USA as part of the 11th Global Travel & Tourism Summit, one of the highest-profile events in the industry.

The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, now in their seventh year under the stewardship of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), recognises global best practice in sustainable tourism within the Travel & Tourism industry worldwide. 
Given the growing concern about natural and cultural resources, these Awards are particularly important to WTTC and provide the Council with the opportunity to promote and partner with industry leaders in sustainability, highlighting the prime examples of best practice. 

Minister Van Schalkwyk, South Africa’s Ministers of Tourism who was present at the Awards dinner, commented that “iSimangaliso being one of three awards finalist is significant for South Africa.  It is an indication that the world recognises the efforts of government through the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority in conserving iSimangaliso’s environment and developing tourism for the benefit of communities and visitors. It also challenges and motivates us to continue to compete on best practices and product offerings globally," Minister van Schalkwyk said.

Mr Ndabo Khoza says”iSimangaliso is an important provider of benefits to people in the region and key KZN tourism attraction.   This global recognition will help in deepening the many community and conservation programmes we are currently running, and will further strengthen the ongoing ties between the park and our neighbours. It is also a very strategic product for the area and this will help us fulfil our mandate for economic development as this award will help us attract more investors to the area which ultimately create more jobs for the people from the surrounding areas.”

“This nomination is international recognition for the collective effort of South Africans, and all others, who endorsed the vision inspired by Nelson Mandela.  iSimangaliso, meaning miracle,  is a place of healing and rebirth where people and nature connect.   We at iSimangaliso are motivated to continue creating a lasting legacy for future generations,” Said Andrew Zaloumis, CEO, iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s first world heritage site, was established in November 2000 when sixteen pieces of land, covering 332 000 hectares, 9% of South Africa’s coast line (30% of KZNs) and 4 RAMSAR sites, were consolidated into a single protected area under the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority. This followed the 1999 World Heritage listing in recognition of the beauty and biological wealth of iSimangaliso (iSimangaliso was the first South African site to be listed alongside Robben Island and the Cradle of Human Kind.

 The Park’s attractions include spectacular mountain ranges, access to the southern-most coral reefs in Africa and diverse flora and fauna, including dolphins, humpback whales, sea turtles, black and white rhino, elephants, buffalo and some 250 fish species as well as more than 3,000 plant types. 

In the words of former President Nelson Mandela “The Wetland Park must be the only place on the globe where the world’s oldest land mammal (the rhinoceros) and the world’s biggest terrestrial mammal (the elephant) share an ecosystem with the world’s oldest fish (the coelacanth) and the world’s biggest marine mammal (the whale).”

Improvements to iSimangaliso are built on increasing demand.  Visitor numbers to iSimangaliso have increased year on year since its establishment including during the current recession. In 2008/9 there was a 6.1% increase, 2009/2010 a 7.2% increase and 2010/11 around 6.4%.   iSimangaliso gate prices have not been increased for five years and it remains one of the cheapest parks in the country to visit.

R145mn park improvement is currently underway to enhance day and overnight visitors' experiences with new game viewing roads, hides, day visitor facilities, and viewing decks, including access for the physically challenged in many areas.  A new section, the Western Shores, will be open to visitors later this yearMajor game introductions include buffalo, cheetah, wild dog, black and white rhino, and tsessebe.  Land care programmes cover over 25 000 ha and have removed over 15 000 ha of commercial plantations.  Over 70 local SMME and 3500 local people benefit from these programmes yearly.

WTTC Awards Fact Sheet:

The Destination Stewardship Category award goes to a destination – country, region, state or town which comprises a network of tourism enterprises and organizations which show dedication to and success in maintaining a programme of sustainable tourism management at destination level, incorporating social, cultural, environment and economic benefits as well as multi-stakeholder engagement. Finalists in this category must demonstrate sustainable tourism planning and policies that enhance the natural, historic and cultural assets unique to a destination, this includes∙     

·         maximum positive benefits and minimum negative impacts to the environment,∙
·         tangible support for the protection of the destination’s natural and cultural heritage,∙   
·         promotion of sense of place and authenticity,∙    
·         direct economic and social benefits to the host community∙      
·         And educating visitors on the sustainable tourism efforts of the destination.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Enquire about availability with our online booking system

Welcome to Santa Lucia Guest House

Francois and Rika welcome you to Santa Lucia Guesthouse, situated in the small village of St Lucia, gateway to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, declared South Africa’s first World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.

This little paradise, the village of St Lucia, is located between the
Indian Ocean and the St Lucia Estuary forming the only private town located in a Natural World Heritage Site.  iSimangaliso / Greater St Lucia Wetland Park form part of the Elephant Coast, Zululand, Northern KwaZulu - Natal South Africa. Enjoy refined South African hospitality in this charming home, set in a tropical garden with swimming pool.

AA Travel Guides Accommodation Awards Winner
, Bed & Breakfast – Home stay for 2007, 2008 & 2009.  Acclaimed in 2010 / 2011 in the AA Travel Guide Hall of Fame. On the arrival of guests, we always show them a map of the area and inform them of all the available excursions. We also assist with any bookings which might need to be made.

A generous breakfast, which includes fresh tropical fruit, a choice of hot dishes and continental spread is served, weather permitting, on the patio overlooking the garden.

Monday, February 28, 2011

St Lucia climate info……

The summers in St Lucia can be hot, besides these temperatures, the humidity factor can add up to 10ÂșC to the ambient temperature. It is important, when hiring a vehicle, to ensure that it has air-conditioning, as well as to carry water at all times to prevent dehydration. The winters can be described as mild to say the least. Jackets are surplus to requirements (if traveling in other parts of the country from here during winter warm attire will be required).

For the St Lucia area and immediate surrounds a light pullover is sufficient to remain comfortable during the short winter months. The rainy season is during the summer months. In this regard, most of the rain falls in the afternoon and evening usually from storm clouds – most often accompanied by lightning and thunder. A light waterproof jacket is a good idea if travelling during these months. However, the storms usually last for only a few hours.


Top 10 things to do in St Lucia……

St Lucia is full of exciting things to do for the visitor. We have compiled a list of top ten things our visitors like to do when they stay with us in the Santa Lucia guest house…….

Whale watching
- An exciting and wonderful opportunity to view amongst the most enigmatic and fascinating of all creatures. Whales are huge, but elusive and difficult to see which adds to their mystery and fascination. They are highly intelligent animals with an elaborate social life. Is it any wonder that they are such popular and intruiging animals? St Lucia has some of the best whale watching in the world.

Bird watching
- The St Lucia Wetland Park is haven for birds and bird enthusiasts alike. The prolific plant life, food and abundance of water attracts a huge variety of species, including marine species to make this unique heritage site a paradise for birds. The area has 29 Red Data listed birds (birds on the threatened species list) and over 450 bird species have been identified in the area.


Boat trips and sundown cruises - A sundown cruise on the lake is an opportunity not to be missed. An African sunset is a sublime experience and what better way to experience it than on a cruise on the St Lucia Estuary with hippos wallowing in the shallows and crocs basking on the banks of the lake catching the last bit of the evenings heat from the sun. A trip definitely not to be missed…..


Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game reserve -
Self-drive or guided safaris in a specially modified vehicle suited for game watching can be arranged in the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, where the Big Five (elephant, rhino, buffalo, leopard, and lion) can be seen. Set in the heart of Zululand, the game reserve offers visitors a variety of activities – from self guided walks, auto-trails and game drives to picnics in designated sites. Viewing hides overlook pans and waterholes enabling visitors to see animals at close range. The Park covers some 96 000 ha and contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora and is world renowned for its white rhino conservation. Its abundance of wildlife include: Nile crocodile, hippo, white and black rhino, leopard, lion, cheetah, hyena, elephant, buffalo, blue wildebeest, jackal, giraffe, zebra, waterbuck, nyala, eland, kudu, impala, duiker, suni, reedbuck, warthog, bushpig, mongoose, baboons, monkeys, a variety of tortoises, terrapins, snakes and lizards. In excess of 300 species of birds have also been recorded. A must for any visitor!

Deep sea fishing - A deep sea fishing experience can be thrilling, especially when you hook that big one! You can experience the excitement of trying to hook the ‘big one’ from the fighting chair and imagine the tales you could tell back home! Whether you’re an experienced angler or not, this tour will literally have you at the edge of your seat!
This deep sea fishing adventure off the coast of St. Lucia will give you the opportunity to catch one of the many fish abundant in these waters. Depending on when you plan on visiting the area, the local population of fish may include:
marlin, sailfish, kingfish, barracuda, and among others dorado.


Kayaking - Kayaking tours with experienced guides on Lake St.Lucia allow visitors to get up close to an array of water birds, hippos and crocodiles. A half day St Lucia Kayak Safari along the St Lucia Estuary is not for the faint hearted. The St Lucia Kayak Safari departs early in the morning at the slip way close to the St Lucia Estuary mouth.


The tour progresses up stream towards Honeymoon Bend, the mangrove swamp forest, along the quiet backwaters of the St Lucia Estuary and then onward to the St Lucia bridge. Along the route your guide will discuss the St Lucia Estuary Eco System and point out the places and things of interest. Mudskippers, fiddler crabs, whelks, fossil oyster beds, Hippos, Crocs and a variety of water birds are all part of the St Lucia Kayak Safari experience.

Turtle Nesting - Turtle-nesting tours are available with a guide from the National Parks Board. (December to February). The Turtle Tours are seasonal trips where you experience the miracle of the reproduction of the Leatherback Turtles (weighing up to 900kg) and the Loggerhead Turtles on the beaches north of St. Lucia in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Late at night the mystery unfolds as female turtles make their way up the beach to a chosen location. Once the area has been prepared for nesting, the eggs are deposited into an egg pot (burrow), covered and concealed. Most females nest an average of 10 times in a season, and this, of course, improves ones chances of seeing them come to shore to nest.

The young turtles hatch approximately two months later, and begin their own battle for survival. Once they are in the sea, predation on the hatchlings during their first few months is intense and it has been estimated that only one or two hatchlings from every thousand will reach maturity. St Lucia Turtle Tours are during the night and departure times are dependant on the tides.


Horse back riding - Horseback rides in the wetland park or along the beach are also available to visitors. Game viewing from horseback is a unique experience. Somehow the animals are far less disturbed and intimidated than they would be bythe other more traditional methods of game viewing. The animals often pay the horseback safari scant attention which enables you to watch African wildlife behaving naturally in their own environment. It is a truly marvellous experience and one that you will always remember.



St Lucia Beach and Cape Vidal - Some of the most pristine beaches in the world can be found here.Fishing, picnicking, walking, flying kites or just relaxing in the wonderful sunny weather on the sand is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy some fun in the sun on your holiday.


About half an hours drive North from the town of St Lucia through the wetland park filled with rhino, hippo, elephant and many more grazing along the road side is the exquisite beach at Cape Vidal. This is a snorkelling, fishing and swimming paradise. There is a rocky reef which makes it very safe for children to swim and splash in the shallows.


- Some of the hiking trails are designed to show off some of the most scenic parts of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Guided walking tours can be arranged The area in which the trails are conducted is particularly scenic and ecologically unique, ranging from wetlands to dune forest. Bird life is plentiful and there is always the possibility of seeing Black Rhino as well as many other species. A large variety of flowers, including Lilies and Orchids, can be seen during spring.

In and around the village of St. Lucia there are many unique and fascinating walks and trails, some leading down to the beach. They range from half an hour to 3 hours. Animal life is prolific and many species of birds and the occasional sighting of one of the local Warthogs as well as small Antelope is a regular occurrence. The cry of the Fish Eagle can often be heard echoing across the lake which is a thrilling experience for both local and visitor alike.

Your hosts and staff at the guest house are always willing to assist in advising visitors with regards to their itinerary and making recommendations about things to do in the area. Bookings can also be arranged through the Santa Lucia guest house on your arrival for any of the activities on offer in the area. Please remember some of these tours like turtle and whale watching are seasonal.