Tara recently enjoyed a wonderful weekend stay at the St Lucia Eco Lodge in St Lucia with her family.
The St Lucia Eco Lodge is nestled in a lavish tropical garden with breath-taking views over the wetlands and Estuary mouth of Lake St. Lucia where it meets the warm Indian Ocean. This beautiful region is blessed with an all-round summer, making it comfortable throughout the year.
We arrived at St Lucia Eco Lodge in the dark on Friday evening. After a quick look around the comfy rooms (and after our kids had claimed their beds for later) we headed off to the Hog ‘n Hippo Bistro, the restaurant situated at the Eco Lodge.
Even though the chalets are equipped with all the necessities for self-catering, a visit to this restaurant is an absolute must! The well-travelled chef Jamie puts together a set menu each night. Our kids are not of the two-minute noodle variety, and this family knows good food when we taste it. The perfectly cooked steak and skewered pineapple and peppers were paired with a smooth red wine - absolutely mouth-watering. After a long day we decided to leave any further exploring to the morning and fell into bed.
Waking up after a great night’s sleep with the call of Hornbills as our alarm clock immediately started us off in a great mood. Parents still in bed, the kids sussed out the garden – running along the wooden walkways and taking a million photos of the Hornbills in the trees.
Sometime later a light rain saw us running back to our room, but this did not discourage the boys who are keen fishermen and wanted to explore the fishing haven of St Lucia. Rods in hand they headed off to the main beach at St Lucia where they spent the next few hours happily catching Shad and Sand Sharks. This left us girls free to take the short walk from the Eco Lodge to St Lucia’s main street where we popped in and out of curio shops all morning. Loving chilli sauce, we made sure to stop in at the Banana Box where they sell it by the litre.
Unfortunately the weekend was not free of homework for our Grade 6 son who was studying for exams in the week to come. He and I found a spot at the table on our veranda and spent a pleasant (believe it or not!) few hours working with the sound of water running in the gorgeous fountain close by. We couldn’t have asked for a more peaceful setting.
There are a number of pubs and restaurants to visit in the evenings. We chose to get some drinks at the St Lucia Ski Boat Club before heading back to the Lodge for some more of Jamie’s cooking – this time venison cooked to perfection.
Arriving at the Hog n Hippo before sunset allowed us to now fully appreciate the view. The Lodge is situated on the last road before reaching the beach. It is right on the edge of the bush, with glimpses of the sea in the distance above the trees. Such expanse, with the bird calls (and possibility of hippo walking by!) makes you feel like you are in the middle of the bush.
There is an awesome deck which runs in an L-shape around the dining area, with a gazebo on the corner. Being a musician who plays the violin at weddings it was easy for me to picture a happy couple standing under the gazebo saying ‘I do’ while family and friends witness the union from the deck.
Another glorious day came to an end and we fell asleep to the sound of light rain – music to our ears in this time of drought! Cape Vidal has got to be one of our favourite beaches in this area – here you can snorkel along the reef, surf waves, fish, paddle or just wallow in the warm water. However, waking up the following morning to the sound of pitter-patter outside we realized that our beach plans would need to be abandoned. So after a scrumptious continental and English breakfast we decided to take the 30 minute drive to Hluhluwe Nature Reserve. We were lucky enough to spot elephant, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, rhino and numerous buck. Unfortunately no cats this time, so I guess we will just have to go back again.