What Goes Bump in the Night
St Lucia Town - nestled between the Indian Ocean on the East and the St Lucia Estuary on the West, surrounded by bodies of water and Wetland park, this quaint little town, quiet by day is truly alive by night.
From the moment the sun hugs the earth goodbye a new world emerges from the thick lush coastal forest.
The air is filled with melody of a thousand miniature frog's calling. High pitched and unrehearsed.
Yellow Billed Hornbills settle in low branching for the resting evening ahead, I don't think the poor fellows are comfortable with the arrangement as their calls resemble that of moaning and crying children.
Between the frogs and the Hornbills there is already a cacophony going on, and really they only lay the ground work.
You see there is one specific animal who moves in our midst that make, well, no sound and that is the elusive Leopard. Now... Although it doesn't make any sound every single animal that senses or see's it will make one hell of a noise. All alarm calling to let one another know that a dangerous predator has been spotted and is in the midst.
I remember one night vividly, and I remember it because it take's some extra ordinary to wake me. The Vervet monkeys were alarm calling for their dear lives. Continually for over 45 minutes. The Bark of a Bush buck in the distant confirmed the presence of this elusive animal. Although I was too lazy to get out of the cozy bed to actually see it, it's presence could be sensed. It was no doubt that it was taking a stroll in the road only meters from where I sleep. The following day this was confirmed with his or her Footprints embedded in the sand right next to my wall the wall that was meant to be my saving grace I thought.
These beautiful animals are often seen by cyclists, joggers and drivers alike, yes believe me in the town of St Lucia.
I recall the first time I told a tourist checking into our lovely coastal town of St Lucia that they must please take extra precaution when walking at night to the various establishment's or restaurants to take a strong flashlight and to be careful of the Hippos and to please keep their distance should they come across one.
It was a French couple on their first visit to St Lucia, South Africa, the lady seemed to be more confused and merely said with a perplexed frown "our English not so good". Did you really say Hippos?
I said, and this time I almost spelled it out "there are H I P P O S in the Street's at night please AWARE!"
And again perplexity....
I decided to take a different approach and thought that maybe a game of pictionary would be more suited for our severe language barrier problem!
So out came my hands and with that the biggest action I could find! I made the best Hippo imitation I possibly could and only realized after that it might have looked more like a Lion than a Hippo. I GAVE UP, pointed to the Hippo picture on a poster and pointed to the flashlight. They arrived for breakfast the next couple of days so I assumed they got the message about the Hippos. It was only on the 3rd day while out with the clients on Safari that I heard the word Hippo and St Lucia again. Even before the clients could start telling me about what it was that they had encountered I knew it had to have been a sighting of a Hippo while walking either too of from a restaurant at night. With absolute eagerness and some informal hand gestures which only we could understand did they finally manage to explain that yes they to had seen some Hippos grazing mere meters from them while walking back to their accommodation. This is true St Lucia, wild and incredible a place where we all get along.
It really was only after a while that I truly remembered that feeling when someone once told me too about the Hippos roaming the streets at night.
I took it with much much skepticism and adopted the when I see it I will believe it standpoint.
It was one evening smack bang in the Main street of town when I caught my first glimpse of a Hippo in the streets. Among st all the people and cars and restaurants there it was! My eyes where almost as big as it was!
Never minded the Hippo went about its business munching upon the well kept green grass as it made its way down the street.
It was an unbelievable sight and only then could I understand what a big deal it was and why people took self-esteem with the beware of the Hippos signs in town.
St Lucia town is truly unique in the sense that you can live and stay one on one with nature. A certain respect is kept for animals here and it is a sight not to be missed. My wildlife sighting's here are increasing by the day and my list includes a variety of animals (Monkeys, Mongooses, Leopard, Hyena, Bush Buck, monitor, too many birds to count, Red duiker and crocodiles).
So if you really want to experience living on the wild side, make your way to our special town.
Safe and Happy travels xxx
Caution Signs St Lucia South Africa
Yes, Nile Crocodiles as well. St Lucia is home to aprox 1200 Nile Crocodiles that may be seen basking in the sun on the banks of the St Lucia.
Can't get close enough, why not visit the crocodile center on the outskirts of town. Live feeding and some incredibly large crocs can be seen viewed
It's wild, It's adventurous and It's Beautiful this quaint village known as St Lucia.