Cape Vidal – Bush & Beach all in one day

On a recent family holiday in KwaZulu Natal in South Africa, we visited Cape Vidal from St Lucia. Cape Vidal is one of South Africa’s hidden gems – seriously beautiful and yet sufficiently remote that it is difficult to visit unless you either stay at Cape Vidal in the rather basic log cabins or at nearby St Lucia.

Why go to Cape Vidal?

The simplistic answer is because it is the ultimate bush & beach in a day destination.

Cape Vidal lies 30km north of St Lucia which is its only access point. The Isimangaliso Wetlands Park starts almost immediately you leave St Lucia and here you pay a very reasonable fee for the car and for each person. The Park is bordered to the east by the Indian Ocean surrounds the vast Lake St Lucia with its many hippos and crocs. This game reserve has developed tremendously in recent years, with the good summer rains, and we were bowled over by the quantity of game we saw from our rental car – from zebra, hippo, blue wildebeest, impala, waterbuck, warthog to the impressive buffalo and white rhino. The nocturnal leopard is also frequently seen if you take a guided night drive in the park or if you choose to stay until just before the park gates close for the evening.

As it was winter our day began with a relaxed breakfast at our lodge followed by a slow meander through the park – the “bush” part of the day. (If it had been summer, we might have had to start earlier to see the animals in the early morning before they started to seek out deep shade away from the midday sun.)

At lunchtime, we arrived at Cape Vidal and began the “beach” part of the day where we relaxed on a beautiful golden sandy beach. This northern part of KwaZulu Natal is about the only part of South Africa which has a climate suitable for beach days year round. We enjoyed a picnic lunch under the shade of the forested dunes and then enjoyed a spot of snorkelling on the reef which lies just off the beach and is easily reached at low tide.

In the spirit of full disclosure, this was not the most epic snorkelling experience I have enjoyed in South Africa. Further north I would recommend Thonga Beach Lodge in South Africa and White Pearl which lies just over the border in Mozambique. However we saw quite a few colourful fish including some giant crayfish (lobster).

Later we meandered back through the park stopping for a snack at one of the picnic spots to enjoy the panoramic view of Lake St Lucia, and seeing some white rhino happily grazing by a waterhole, before returning to the charming little holiday village of St Lucia. St Lucia makes for a great base to stay in the area offering visits to Cape Vidal, visits to the Umfolozi-Hluhluwe Game Park only 30 minutes away as well as boat cruises on Lake St Lucia itself.

As well as self-guided trips like the one we enjoyed, you can also book a guided bush & snorkelling trip, a night drive or in the summer season a  turtle tracking excursion which is a Must-Do activity between November and February.

See one of my earlier posts about Turtle Tracking….

Contact us if you would like to discuss a holiday in KwaZulu Natal or check out our KwaZulu Natal Pages.

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Kate Bergh is co-founder of Cedarberg African Travel, a specialist tour operator for Southern and East Africa.

She heads up the South African office, having lived in South Africa since 1993. Her home looks up to the Cedarberg Mountains, where she enjoys hiking and cycling, when she’s not out discovering new places to visit, with her three children in tow. Kate has travelled extensively throughout the region to Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe as well as most areas of South Africa. She also loves history, meeting people and a good thriller...

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