St Lucia South Africa has one of the largest Estuary's in Africa, its total length is approximately 85km South to North and 22km wide at its widest point. Previously St Lucia town was known as St Lucia Estuary and is still today referred to as St Lucia Estuary especially when searching in Google and other search engines this due to St Lucia in the Caribbean. St Lucia Estuary is also much like an island and this is due to the fact that the town is surrounded by water on the left is the estuary and on the east side is the Indian Ocean.
The St Lucia South Africa Estuary is an incredible place of wonder home to more than 800 Hippo's that lounge about on the banks of the estuary and the estimated 1200 Nile crocodiles not to mention the abundance of birdlife. It is no wonder that the area was proclaimed as a world heritage in 1999 by Unesco and is the first world heritage site in South Africa, formerly a fishing town with domestic travelers the town or area has since grown in leaps and bounds know this bustling little town offers numerous attractions to both national and international holidaymakers every year. The St Lucia Estuary remains the top attraction as nowhere else has one the opportunity of experiencing such a diverse and magnitude of beauty, the various seasons contribute to migratory bird species. A bird lover's paradise and only 54km away lies the Mkuze game reserve most definitely one of the best birding areas in South Africa.
The St Lucia Estuary at present remains closed to the Indian Ocean primary due to the years of drought however through the dedicated efforts of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority has new water been allowed into the estuary, a new cut on the banks of the Umfolozi River has contributed greatly to a renewed amount of water when the Umfolozi River floods then water runs into the channel that feeds the estuary. This new addition to the water levels has shown a great increase in the levels from St Lucia up towards Charters Creek. This area previously almost dry completely now once again offers immaculate viewing of Flamingos and other species of birdlife.
Each November to end March is the rainy season and hopefully, with some good rains, the Estuary will once again breach into the Indian Ocean naturally. For more information about St Lucia click here
- What is an Estuary?
An Estuary may be defined as a body of water that is partially closed to a coastal body of water. This freshwater from either river or streams mix with saltwater. Therefore it is the tidal mouth of a river that meets with a body of saltwater.
- Estuaries, Birds, and Humans
Migratory birds make use of estuaries to rest and for a source of food. Estuaries are a good source of food for humans as well. Estuaries also filter sediments and other pollutants from rivers and streams before finally making its way into the oceans. Did you know the Lawrence River is the largest estuary?
- What is the importance of an Estuary?
It is a fact that more than 80 percent of all fish and shellfish species make use of estuaries as a habitat for or as nurseries, for spawning. It is these sheltered waters that are of fundamental importance. Estuaries are delicate ecosystems.
- The 3 main importance of estuaries
First of all, they act as buffers, protecting coastal areas from strong storms, currents, and the power of waves. Thus ensuring less soil erosion. Soaking up excess flood water and tidal surges. All the while creating a safe habitat, nursery, and spawning area for fish and shellfish.
- Wildlife and the St Lucia Estuary
One will undoubtedly be amazed by the abundance of wildlife and birdlife along the banks. Some of the amazing encounters could include Kudu, WaterBuck, Leopard, Duiker, and many more.
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