2023 - 08 - South Africa, St. Lucia
Vamos de excursión, con la muchilla, la tortilla y el jamón! Spanish children's song: Up, up, with backpack, tortilla and a ham!
So off to the coast of the Indian Ocean to St. Lucia, after all 600 kilometers drive from Krueger Park - a little less than from Madrid to Cádiz!
After a short stage stop already first difficulties; the battery of the Garmin navi is out of function. Means switch off engine = Garmin including memory off = so after the next start of the engine enter the address again. This is annoying!
The country road resembles a humpy patchwork, peppered with potholes. In addition, there are endless trucks on the road, and ain the twilight many cars drive without lights. From Pongola on, the road gets better and the landscape more picturesque.
After a good eight hours we finally reach our destination: St. Lucia. The name of the place sounds more promising than it really is, because this is not a place in the real sense. Rather, I would like to call this little corner of the world with its approximately 1000 people living here rather an inhabited main street. A sometime newly built urbanization, whose "center" with all shopping and eating possibilities is only the street leading through this village.
Our accommodation "OPPI-Lodge" is dark and very puritanically furnished and one is stingy in detail. Possibly we had the only bad room of all. In any case, it seems as if all the rooms were finished at some point and then maintained with the least possible effort. The door can't be locked, you have to ask for a hairdryer, like a lot of other things. Suspiciously, The New Testament is at hand, but there are no wine glasses, coffee or tea (but three kinds of sugar), nor is there any water in the fridge. Moreover, not a single chair or armchair in the room. And if the defective wooden stool in front of the desk wasn't used forty years ago as a whipping post for blacks to be punished?! And one bumps one's knees at the desk because either it is too low or the extremely uncomfortable chair brought from the porch is too high. Before going to bed, it is better to disconnect the loudly humming refrigerator. All in all, not a pleasant hotel stay, especially for two.
But on such trips you practically never find an accommodation without any flaw!
But at least there was a correct American breakfast with eggs & bacon, toast, yogurt, fruit and orange juice to compensate for this, as well as very friendly hotel staff. And around the house everything ambitiously gardened, plants and trees of all kinds, around which sometimes a horde of small monkeys cavort - very posh. These monkeys also often cross the streets with a tendency to take risks, just like cats and dogs do in our country.
The drive to the beach is interrupted by a barrier with several guards who check everything and everyone for alcohol and weapons. It's a bit strange, this touch of prohibition. Why can't you take alcoholic beverages to the beach to get drunk? And most supermarkets don't sell beer or wine. But in the liquor stores you can get everything: any gins, vodkas, whiskeys, liqueurs, even Campari and Aperol. Where's the logic in that?
But at least a super wide white sandy beach with dunes and a bunch of people fishing. You wondered how that was going to work because they can't exactly sling their fish hooks far into the water, but one guy seemed to have something on the line. After ten minutes and about 40 meters of changing location to the left with eternal lashing and slackening, he landed a capital fish, probably six kilos.
Hippos and crocodiles
A trip on the river boat including a Germanfamily including grandparents up on deck. I was close to asking the mother "where did she buy that beautiful dress". How can it be that people are dressing so ugly and tasteless again, like 60 years ago?
It is better to look into the distance, at this wide river with reeds and mangroves on both sides. After half an hour, the first hippo heads peek out of the water. The boat stops and everyone can take lots of photos. And the funny captain announces over the loudspeaker that there are surely a lot of crocodiles in the water, which you "of course" can't see right now. "But if you hold your arm in the water, you are history!"
Then still some hippopotamus families, always to at least two thirds under water. One big one even opened its huge mouth for a moment, wow! And last but not least a small crocodile, which was sunbathing on the shore, but quickly disappeared because of our presence. And that remained the only crocodile during this boat trip.
Although we were advised of heavy, possibly harmful impacts of the speedboat on the waves, we had to do it. When do you ever see whales?! So we booked, paid and went to the shore with a trailer pulled by a powerful tractor through dunes and beach. At the beginning official wave-cavity-men, further out it became then somewhat calmer. And there: the first mother whale with her baby on the port side. Well, just like the hippopotamus, the common whale naturally stays at least two thirds below the water surface, rather than daring to come out a bit higher.
All in all a nice and interesting stopover!
The whites bathe and the blacks are happy!