St Lucia - Whales
90% Of all whales that pass our coastline are the Humpback Whales. The other 10% is made up of Minky and Brydes Whales and the occasional Southern Right Whale and Sperm Whale.
St Lucia - Crocodiles
There are approximately 1 000 crocodiles in the St Lucia Lake. They nest on a sandbank on the high water mark and lay approximately 50 eggs. During the incubation period the female stays in the vicinity and helps the little ones hatch by cracking the eggs with her teeth. A crocodile has 60 teeth and can grow to an astonishing 6m.
St Lucia - Hippopotamus
A Hippo can reach a total weight of up to 1 100kg. They move around in herds of 10 20 individuals and can stay submerged in the water for up to 5 minutes. During the day they do not wander too far from water but at night they leave the water and can travel several kilometers inland in search of food.
Kosi Bay boasts with the largest population of Palmnut Vultures in the world.
Leatherback and Loggerhead Turtles
In St Lucia the Turtles nest along the 7km coastline which stretches from the Estuary Mouth in the south to First Rocks in the north.
The only known population of the rare climbing orchid, Vanilla Roscheri can be found at Lake Sibaya. These plants are leafless and have large, extremely beautiful flowers which are white with pink to yellow markings on the lip or throat. These flowers are very fragrant but do not produce beans of commercial use.
This plant grows along the banks of the St Lucia Lake and is a very popular plant in the Zulu community. They make baskets, sleeping mats, beer strainers and other craftwork from the dried out Ncema.
In preparation for the harvesting, researchers first assess the area to see if crops are good enough. Harvesting only takes place once a year starting on the 1st of May and lasts until no long Ncema is left. Cutters pay per bundle which is approximately 15 20cm in diameter. Ncema takes extremely long to cut and cutters usually cut only one bundle per day. Between May and June Umhlanga Reeds are harvested which is used for thatching huts.
You may find that some of the Zulu items are expensive but take into consideration their traveling costs, money paid for their harvesting permits and the time it takes them to do the cutting and weaving.