Even from a distance you can hear the hippo grunting or that frantic splash of a crocodile racing into the water…
If you’re looking to switch up your safari, Thanda Safari Lodge offers game viewing of a different kind. Swap the 4×4 vehicle for an open-sided river boat and sail down the St Lucia Estuary. This watery tract is part of the enormous iSimangaliso Wetland Park – UNESCO credited for its beauty and rich biodiversity. In the estuary depths you’ll find swarming numbers of over 800 hippo and 1,200 crocodile. Even from a distance you can hear the hippo grunting or that frantic splash of a crocodile racing into the water.
From Thanda, it’s an hour-and-a-half drive to get there but totally worth the ride. The boat trip is a leisurely two hours on a sturdy 15-seater open-sided vessel which will gently cruise north for 9km down the estuary’s calm waters. There’s ample space on board so you won’t have to jostle for a picture but at the same time you’re always within earshot of your skipper meaning you won’t miss a thing. This mode of transport allows you to be the closest you’ll ever get to some of Africa’s legendary watery beasts.
From the outset you’ll see hippo submerged. Their bodies almost look like giant polished stones. Or they could be rearing out of the water with huge wide-stretched yawns. You don’t need binoculars to spot crocodiles basking lazily under the African sun with bodies that can grow over 14ft. The earthly sounds of wilderness are only interrupted by the cry of a fish eagle circling above, examining every ripple in the water for prey. The guides have adopted a similar razor-sharp vision and encyclopaedic knowledge of the area. They’re also highly accommodating and happy to answer your every burning question.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Laura, who's travelled extensively in South Africa. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - ex banker who can show you the hottest foodie spots in Cape Town, the award-winning young sommelier who can introduce you to Stellenbosch's finest wines and the walking safari ranger who can guide you to the best game.
Freephone an expert 01306 744 656