Cape Vidal Safari

Cape Vidal Safari

The Cape Vidal Safari has to be the best value for money you can get, as it includes a game safari through the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and swimming / snorkelling in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean at Cape Vidal. Nowhere in the world will you find 5 major eco-systems so close together. The day starts at 8 am with a game safari through the newly named iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our knowledgeable guides will discuss the history of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and will share their local knowledge about the animals, birds and plants of this unique area. Included in the safari will be a short bush walk to see the panoramic view of the St Lucia estuary and Indian Ocean, followed by tea / coffee and home made rusks. On arrival at Cape Vidal, sea conditions permitting, we can swim / snorkel in the warm Indian Ocean. Lunch will be a South African braai (barbeque) with rump steak, boerewors sausage, salads, bread rolls and drinks including wine, beer and soft drinks. During lunch we are often visited by rare Samango monkeys. The Cape Vidal Safari ends at around 4 pm with a leisurely game drive back through the World Heritage Site to St Lucia. Half day Caspe Vidal Safaris are also available, depending on tides, and will include breakfast only.

History of Cape Vidal

Centuries ago Nguni tribes migrated southwards along the Mozambique plains to the eastern shores of St Lucia, originally inhabited by primitive iron-age man. Trees from the dune forests were used to make charcoal for iron smelting. Fires were used to clear more of the forest to provide grazing which supported a variety of animals which otherwise could not have survived in the area.

In the 1500s, Portuguese explorers discovered the estuary mouth and in 1576, the lake and estuary were named Santa Lucia.

In 1822, the Royal Navy sent the ships Leven, Barracouta and Cockburn to survey the coastline. The captain of the Barracouta was Lt. A. Vidal, after whom Cape Vidal was named. Leven Point was named after the sloop HMS Leven. In 1849 Douglas Angas recorded the first Nyala known to science near False Bay Park, subsequently named Tragelaphus Angasi after him. 1900s explorers and hunters encountered teeming herds of game including elephant, buffalo and rhino. By the turn of the century, most of the wildlife had been shot out.

The British thwarted the Boers of the new Vryheid Republic before claiming St Lucia as a port and HMS Goshawk was dispatched to annex the area in December 1884. The following year St Lucia town was proclaimed. The town soon became popular as a fishing resort with the first hotel established in the 1920s. In the mid 1950s, a bridge was built, connecting the town to the mainland, prior to which a Pont was used. In 1898 the ship Dorothea was wrecked on the reef off Cape Vidal. The ship was rumoured to be carrying the “Kruger millions”, illicit gold bought on the Witwatersrand and smuggled out of

the country to buy arms in Europe for the Boer troops. So far, numerous attempts to recover the cargo have failed. Also in 1898 a mission station was established at Mount Tabor near Mission Rocks which continued to function until the mid 1980s. In 1943, members of RAF 262 Squadron were based in the eastern shores to carry out anti-submarine patrols using Catalina flying boats. An observation building was erected at Mount Tabor, now converted into an overnight hut for the Mziki trail.

The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park was proclaimed as South Africa’s first World Heritage Site on 1 December 1999 and on 1 November 2007 the name was changed to iSimangaliso Wetland Park to reflect the area’s Zulu origins. The name iSimangaliso is derived from the Zulu proverb “Ubone isimanga esabonwa uJeqe kwelama Thonga” (“If you have seen miracles, you have seen what uJeqe saw in the land of the Thonga”.)

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