Hippos and Crocs and Weavers, Oh My! 2 Day Trips to St. Lucia, South Africa

While in Richards Bay, back in November, I went to the Hippo and Croc River Cruise in St Lucia, twice! I went once with Brian and Carol, my shipmates, and a second time with my friend, Leanne and also Keith and Mildred from SV Atalanta.  On both trips, I pretty much saw the same things, but they were at different times of the day, so the lighting was different, always a nice change for photos.

The drive from Richards Bay to St Lucia took about 90 minutes. St Lucia is a quaint little town. There’s only 1 road in and out of it and we go underneath that bridge on the cruise. The cruise had about 50 people on the boat and you get pretty close to the wildlife.

There are over 1100 hippos in this area, so it was a guarantee to see them. The crocs weren’t a done deal, but we saw at least 1 on each of the trips. We also saw these amazing yellow weavers, that weaved their nests from the tall grasses. Only the males do the weaving and the females decide if they like the nest or not. If not they tear the nest down and try again. Quite entertaining.   Sounds similar to our engagement ring ritual, but when a weaver is rejected, he has to start all over again and someone may swoop in and steal his girl while he’s weaving.   In fact, we saw 1 weaver steal another weaver’s nest while he was out looking for appropriate grass.    Not sure how that all works.  I’m sure there’s a documentary on it somewhere.

The river cruise is a no-brainer as you will definitely see hippos in their natural habitat without being crushed by one.  We were told that the hippos can run up to 40 km per hour, and are the cause for up to 1000 deaths per year because the hippos like to get out of the water when it’s cooler outside and walk around the towns and communities.   And at 40 km per hour, there really isn’t any outrunning a hippo if you’re on foot.   Google tells me that number is inflated and a much smaller animal is responsible for about 725,000 deaths per year.  Do you know which one it is?  Add a comment below with what you think it is.

Here is the first day’s pictures:

And here are the 2nd day’s pictures.   Which ones did you like best?

I forgot to mention the Hadedas!  They are the duck looking birds in the last 4 pictures.   These birds are apparently taking over South Africa and we have seen them everywhere.   Here’s a great article that talks about this quirky duck-like bird that makes a really funny sound that sounds like their name, “hadeeda!”    Article about the Hadedas!

Thanks again for coming along on the adventure.   Don’t forget to subscribe by putting in your email address or follow on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Google+, or Instagram!


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