After visiting Swaziland it was time for a new chapter of our journey. After an easy border crossing iSimangaliso Wetland Park was our next destination. This park covers a large part of the east coast of the Kwazulu-Natal provence. It’s not your average park though. You’ll find swamps, can spot a lot of wildlife but there’s also a pristine beach where you can relax, swim or snorkel at iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
To access iSimangaliso Wetland Park there a number of gates. One of the most popular ones is at St. Lucia. This village thrives by tourism and you can definitely see this. Several restaurants and bars, hotels, bait shops and a couple of tour operators can be found here. One of these restaurants was Reef & Dune. This is where we had a lovely lunch with fresh prawns.
Camping at Cape Vidal
When we peeled and ate the last of our prawns we entered the park. Once in the park you’re astonished by what you see. Green dunes on the side, big plains on the other. Then you pass some lakes, swamps and at the end of this road you’ll arrive at Cape Vidal. This is the camping if you want to sleep almost on the beach. Since we arrived on a Saturday it was pretty busy. Especially since we were used to camping by ourselves for most of the time. Once the car was parked we rushed to the beach to dive into the Indian Ocean.
We learned that Cape Vidal is frequently visited by South Africans who own a boat. They drive their boats on a trailer to the coast to fish and braai a bit. It’s also somewhat of a village as a lot campers are coming here for over 30 years! This makes it a rather interesting mix of people at the campsite.
Morning drive and snorkeling? Why not!
The next morning we woke up early for a game drive. We were in a game park as well after all. When we left the tar road the scenery got even prettier and the number of people we saw could be counted on one hand (read: no-one at all).
We didn’t have all the time in the world however. Cape Vidal is an excellent place to snorkel but you can only do this one hour before and after low tide. With our snorkelling set from the local Spar we got into the ocean. It really was a supermarket snorkelling set since the plastic attachment thingy broke immediately. We dove into the water nevertheless and saw the reef, fish and some lobsters. Since the currents were quite strong it was pretty tiresome and after about an hour we headed back to our towels.
When our skin had a bit of a (reddish) tan we walked back to our tent to have a peri peri chicken pita bread. It was just like nature knew we were on fire from the outside and inside since it started drizzling a bit. Since Cape Vidal doesn’t have a restaurant or something sheltered we improvised a bit and had a kind of tent under our ‘real’ rooftop tent.
When the sun is gone…
There’s rain! It was raining cats and dogs during the night. When this continued throughout the morning we decided to go to St. Lucia. Since I had some work to do for my own company we went to Reef & Dune again. With a pizza, something to drink, some more coffee and free WiFi we used the rain to our advantage.
Late in the afternoon it was dry-ish again. We headed back to Cape Vidal but since our chairs were still outside (and thus super wet) we went to bed early after a standing dinner. It also didn’t help that we just washed some of our clothes and they were still hanging out to ‘dry’. Once in our tent we found out that the tent cover wasn’t properly attached during the day so both our mattress and our sleeping bags were soaking wet.
Let’s do some laundry!
On our last morning in iSimangaliso Wetland Park a fellow camper said that there was a laundromat just a bit further down the road near the log cabins of Cape Vidal. She probably felt sorry for these two losers from the Netherlands with their wet clothes, sleeping bags and tent. We spend the rest of the morning washing and drying our clothes and other stuff.
We were also invited by Andre and Mia, our neighbours at the campsite. I spoke Andre before and it turned out he was just as crazy about photography and drones as I am. After seeing some cool (drone)videos we also got an invitation to visit them in Pretoria before we leave. So amazing!
iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a great park to visit and Cape Vidal a wonderful place to camp. It is kind of nice though if the water cooperates a bit or when you have a bit of a shelter when it’s raining.