St Lucia Estuary is situated within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, the springboard for exploring the wonders of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park. This vast and fascinating wetland area has some of the highest vegetated dunes in the world, and many wildlife and bird species. Activities include fishing, boating and game viewing. A 4km self-guided trail leads through the coastal forest along the edge of the estuary, and the Santa Lucia Boat Tour provides outstanding sightings of hippo and crocodile.
There are two caravanning and camping grounds. Sugarloaf Campsite (92 plug points), and Eden Park Campsite (20 plug points). Eden Park is only used in peak season. The maximum number of persons permitted to stay on each individual campsite is six. Both campsites are provided with electric plug points, ablutions with hot and cold water and showers and baths. No plug points for electric razors are available. A swimming pool reserved for use by residents has been provided at Sugarloaf Campsite, however Eden Park residents also have full use of this facility.
How to get there
GPS Co-ordinates -28.382826, 32.419441
Turn off the N2 into Mtubatuba and follow the signs through town and on 25 kilometres to St Lucia.
What to do on arrival:
All overnight visitors must check in at the reception office in St Lucia. The reception office is open daily from 08:00-16:30.
St Lucia Vital Information
Gate opening and closing times: 24 hours a day
Office Hours: The office is open from 08h00 to 16h30
Camp telephone number: (035) 5901340
Camp fax: (035) 5901343
In case of emergency: Alice Mthembu - 076 6657934
Special Precautions / General Rules
- St Lucia is in a malaria area and special precautions are necessary. Visitors are also urged to consult their medical practitioner regarding precautions against malaria before, during and after a visit to the Park.
- No swimming is allowed in the estuary because of crocodiles.
- Due to dangers of strong currents, no surf bathing is allowed within 100m of the estuary mouth
- No windsurfing, sailing or canoeing is permitted on the lake or estuary waters, however, provate operators do offer canoeing on the estuary.
- The nearest town which has a full range of services is Mtubatuba which is 25 kms away.
- No pets are permitted into the reserve
- It is an offence to pick or destroy any plant, or to disturb or kill any wild animal
- Visitors are forbidden to feed any wild animal especially monkeys.
- Litter must be placed in the bins provided. This includes fish offal and scales which, if left on the beach or at the campsites, may constitutes a health hazard.
- Please ensure that all possible precautions are taken against theft at all times.
- Camping in any area other than an allocated, demarcated campsite is an offence and will result in prosecution.
- No generators may be operated within the campsites
- The speed limit throughout the park is 60km/h. This limit is enforced for the safety and comfort of visitors.
- No vehicles or motorcycles are allowed on the beach.
- Beach permits are available for the disabled from the Department of Environment.
- The launching of ski-boats is permitted only from the St Lucia Ski-boat Club where a fee is charged for the use of the slipway. Any craft wishing to go to sea must have a valid sea-worthy certificate and the skipper must be in possession of a skipper’s ticket.
- All boats used on the lake and estuary must be registered with both EKZNW and South African Maritime Safety Association (SAMSA) and must adhere to all regulations regarding safety equipment, skippers licence and buoyancy certificates. Boats must be powered by a minimum 15 hp motors and have minimum size requirements, length of 3,6 m beam of 1,2 m and freeboard of 45 cm.
- Any form of commercial undertaking is prohibited within the Park, unless authorised by the Isimangaliso Wetland Park authority.
- Bait licences, Beach Permits and Boats Registrations: Licenses for fishing and the collection of bait are required and are obtained from the office.
- Permits are required for vehicle access to the beach.
- All boats must be inspected and registered with Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife before use on the estuary and lake.
- Note that skippers licence, SAMSA registration and approved safety equipment relating to the Act is a pre-requisite
Activities in St Lucia
This area is the gateway to the Eastern Shores section of the Park, which contains some of the highest vegetated dunes in the world, extensive and diverse wetland systems, as well as coastal grasslands with associated fauna. For bird watchers, there are numerous waterfowl, grassland, forest and sea birds. Animals include bushbuck, bushpig, warthog, crocodiles, hippo and red duiker. Beaches in the area are not protected by shard nets, nor have lifeguards on duty. Please be sensible and exercise caution when bathing in the surf, as it is an exposed coastline which has dangerous currents. There is one self-guided trail in the area, the Gwalagwala Trail.
Deep Sea Fishing
St Lucia has a ski-boat club which controls all sea launches. Deep sea fishing charters can be arranged through the privately operated St Lucia Ski-boat Club. Please enquire at the club.
The bag limits are as prescribed by the Marine Living Resources Act, and information brochures are available from EKZNW offices. The following species form part of the overall bag limit; grunter, perch, kob and shad. All shad caught between 1 September and 30 November must be returned live to the water. In addition to the above, no cast-netting is allowed in the estuary. The only permissible method of fishing is with rod and line. Artificial lures are not allowed. Spinning is permitted in the sea 90m beyond the estuary mouth but not in the estuary itself.
St Lucia Croc Centre
The Croc Centre consists of an informative display on the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and includes various pens containing crocodiles of varying sizes, a tea garden and curio shop. Learn about the importance of crocodiles in our ecosystem, and watch the crocodiles being fed on Saturdays at 15:00 and Sundays at 11:30. The Centre is home to the Nile, long-snouted and dwarf crocodiles.
Santa Lucia Boat Tour
The 'Santa Lucia' is an 80-seater launch with a viewing deck and a bar. This guided tour provides sightings of hippos, crocodiles and a variety of birdlife and beautiful scenery. Each tour lasts for about two hours and advanced booking is essential.
This short trail wanders through coastal forest on the edge of the estuary, where one is able to see or hear many birds and small animals.