Lake St. Lucia

Lake St Lucia (Lake Saint Lucia) is an estuarine lake system in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It is the largest estuarine lake in Southern Africa, covering an area of approximately 350 km2, and falls within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (a World Heritage Site).

The lake was named Santa Lucia by Manuel Perestrerello on 13 December 1575, the day of the feast of Saint Lucy.[1] It was later renamed to St. Lucia.

False Bay, Lake St Lucia
False Bay, Lake St Lucia
Hippos in Lake St Lucia
Hippos in Lake St Lucia

Flora and fauna

More than 2,180 species of flowering plants have been documented in the St Lucia lake system.[2]

St Lucia Lake harbours rich fauna, including crocodiles, hippopotami, various birds and invertebrates.[3][4]


  1. ^ Santa Lucia:, retrieved 8 August 2015
  2. ^ Thieme, Michele; Abell, Robin; Burgess, Neil; Lehner, Bernhard; Dinerstein, Eric; Olsen, David (2005). Freshwater Ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar: A Conservation Assessment. Island Press. p. 331.
  3. ^ Nel, H.A., Perissinotto, R. & Taylor, R.H. 2012. Diversity of bivalve molluscs in the St Lucia Estuary, with an annotated and illustrated checklist. African Invertebrates 53 (2): 503-525."Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-12-24. Retrieved 2012-11-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Perissinotto, R., Taylor, R.H., Carrasco, N.K. & Fox, C. 2013. Observations on the bloom-forming jellyfish Crambionella stuhlmanni (Chun, 1896) in the St Lucia Estuary, South Africa. African Invertebrates 54 (1): 161–170."Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-25. Retrieved 2013-07-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Coordinates: 27°59′S 32°27′E / 27.983°S 32.450°E

Death Drums Along the River

Death Drums Along the River (titled Sanders in the USA) is a 1963 British-German international co-production, using the characters from Edgar Wallace's 1911 novel Sanders of the River and Zoltán Korda's 1935 film based on the novel, but placed in a totally different story. Filmed on location in South Africa, it features Richard Todd and Marianne Koch leading a cast of British, German and South African actors. The film was the first feature film of British producer Harry Alan Towers.


An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea.Estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and maritime environments known as ecotone. Estuaries are subject both to marine influences—such as tides, waves, and the influx of saline water—and to riverine influences—such as flows of fresh water and sediment. The mixing of seawater and fresh water provide high levels of nutrients both in the water column and in sediment, making estuaries among the most productive natural habitats in the world.Most existing estuaries formed during the Holocene epoch with the flooding of river-eroded or glacially scoured valleys when the sea level began to rise about 10,000–12,000 years ago. Estuaries are typically classified according to their geomorphological features or to water-circulation patterns. They can have many different names, such as bays, harbors, lagoons, inlets, or sounds, although some of these water bodies do not strictly meet the above definition of an estuary and may be fully saline.

Many estuaries suffer degradation from a variety of factors including: sedimentation from soil erosion from deforestation, overgrazing, and other poor farming practices; overfishing; drainage and filling of wetlands; eutrophication due to excessive nutrients from sewage and animal wastes; pollutants including heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls, radionuclides and hydrocarbons from sewage inputs; and diking or damming for flood control or water diversion.

False Bay Park

False Bay Park (Afrikaans: Valsbaai-natuurreservaat), a Ramsar site wetland since 2015, is a nature reserve that protects the western shores of the freshwater bay, False Bay, and is situated near the coast of northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. False Bay is connected to Lake St. Lucia and both are included in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Located on the Cape Flats, it includes the lakes known as Rondevlei and Zeekoevlei. It covers 1,500 hectares and is located at 34° 4′ S, 18° 30′ E.

Hluhluwe River

The Hluhluwe River originates in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It rises in the Nongoma district and runs northeast through Hlabisa and the Hluhluwe Dam, beyond which it converges with the Nyalazi River to become the St Lucia River at Lake St Lucia. Its name is derived from the Hluhluwe creeper, known as umHluhluwe in Zulu, which occurs on the river's banks.

ISimangaliso Wetland Park

iSimangaliso Wetland Park (previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park) is situated on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, about 275 kilometres north of Durban. It is South Africa's third-largest protected area, spanning 280 km of coastline, from the Mozambican border in the north to Mapelane south of the Lake St. Lucia estuary, and made up of around 3,280 km2 of natural ecosystems, managed by the iSimangaliso Authority. The park includes:

Lake St. Lucia

St. Lucia Game Reserve

False Bay Park

Kosi Bay

Lake Etrza Nature Reserve

Lake Sibhayi

St. Lucia Marine Reserve

St. Lucia Marine Sanctuary

Sodwana Bay National Park

Mapelane Nature Reserve

Maputaland Marine Reserve

Cape Vidal



Tewate Wilderness Area

Mkuze Game ReserveThe park was previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, but was renamed effective 1 November 2007. The word isimangaliso means "a miracle" or "something wondrous" in Zulu. The name came as a result of Shaka's subject having been sent to the land of the Tsonga. When he came back he described the beauty that he saw as a miracle.


A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by barrier islands or reefs. Lagoons are commonly divided into coastal lagoons and atoll lagoons. They have also been identified as occurring on mixed-sand and gravel coastlines. There is an overlap between bodies of water classified as coastal lagoons and bodies of water classified as estuaries. Lagoons are common coastal features around many parts of the world.


Maputaland is a natural region of Southern Africa. It is located in the northern part of the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa between Eswatini and the coast. In a wider sense it may also include the southernmost region of Mozambique. The bird routes and coral reefs off the coast are major tourist attractions.

Now the name of this traditional region is being revived for the Maputaland-Pondoland bushland and thickets, one of the ecoregions of South Africa, as well as for the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Hotspot.

Maputaland coastal forest mosaic

The Maputaland coastal forest mosaic is an ecoregion of the subtropical moist broadleaf forests Biome, on the Indian Ocean coast of Southern Africa. It covers an area of 30,200 square kilometres (11,700 sq mi) in southern Mozambique, Swaziland, and the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. Mozambique's capital Maputo lies within the ecoregion.

Marsh mongoose

The marsh mongoose (Atilax paludinosus) is a medium-sized mongoose native to sub-Saharan Africa, where it inhabits foremost freshwater wetlands. It has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2008.

Nibela Peninsula

The Nibela Peninsula is the northern peninsula that separates False Bay from the main portion of Lake St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Nile crocodile

The Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is a large crocodilian native to freshwater habitats in Africa, where it is present in 26 countries. Due to its widespread occurrence and stable population trend, it has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 1996. It is widely distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa, occurring mostly in the central, eastern, and southern regions of the continent, and lives in different types of aquatic environments such as lakes, rivers, and marshlands. Although capable of living in saline environments, this species is rarely found in saltwater, but occasionally inhabits deltas and brackish lakes. The range of this species once stretched northward throughout the Nile, as far north as the Nile delta. On average, the adult male Nile crocodile is between 3.5 and 5 m (11.5 and 16.4 ft) in length and weighs 225 to 750 kg (500 to 1,650 lb).

However, specimens exceeding 6.1 m (20 ft) in length and weighing up to 1,090 kg (2,400 lb) have been recorded. It is the largest freshwater predator in Africa, and may be considered the second-largest extant reptile and in the world, after the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus). Sexual dimorphism is prevalent, and females are usually about 30% smaller than males. They have thick, scaly, heavily armored skin.

Nile crocodiles are opportunistic apex predators; a very aggressive species of crocodile, they are capable of taking almost any animal within their range. They are generalists, taking a variety of prey. Their diet consists mostly of different species of fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals. They are ambush predators that can wait for hours, days, and even weeks for the suitable moment to attack. They are agile predators and wait for the opportunity for a prey item to come well within attack range. Even swift prey are not immune to attack. Like other crocodiles, Nile crocodiles have an extremely powerful bite that is unique among all animals, and sharp, conical teeth that sink into flesh, allowing for a grip that is almost impossible to loosen. They can apply high levels of force for extended periods of time, a great advantage for holding down large prey underwater to drown.Nile crocodiles are relatively social crocodiles. They share basking spots and large food sources, such as schools of fish and big carcasses. Their strict hierarchy is determined by size. Large, old males are at the top of this hierarchy and have primary access to food and the best basking spots. Crocodiles tend to respect this order; when it is infringed, the results are often violent and sometimes fatal. Like most other reptiles, Nile crocodiles lay eggs; these are guarded by the females. The hatchlings are also protected for a period of time, but hunt by themselves and are not fed by the parents. The Nile crocodile is one of the most dangerous species of crocodile and is responsible for hundreds of human deaths every year. It is a rather common species of crocodile and is not endangered despite some regional declines or extinctions.

No. 259 Squadron RAF

No. 259 Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force Squadron formed in Africa as a reconnaissance and anti-submarine unit in World War II.

Phinda Private Game Reserve

Phinda Private Game Reserve, formerly known as Phinda Resource Reserve, is a 170 km² private game reserve situated in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa between the Mkuze Game Reserve and the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park. Formed in 1991, this ethnically named reserve means "return to the wild". Phinda has seven distinct ecosystems with palm savannah and mountain bush to rare sand forest and dense thornveld.

Robert William Plant

Robert William Plant (baptised 3 May 1818 Lewisham - 1858) was an English plant collector, one of the sons of Robert Benjamin Glyddon Plant and Ann Caroline Plant. and described by Sir Joseph Paxton as 'a zealous and industrious experimental cultivator and nurseryman'. In the 1850s he collected in the Colony of Natal in South Africa.

Before emigrating to South Africa in 1850 he had published "The New Gardener's Dictionary or Catalogue of all the really good flowers, fruits, trees, and shrubs, cultivated in Great Britain" published by R. Groombridge and Sons in 3 parts, the first in 1849.

Once in South Africa he collected for Samuel Stevens, a London dealer in 'curiosities of natural history'. His collections also included beetles, butterflies, bird skins and shells. He published a paper on the Zulu Kingdom which led to a request by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew to compile a Flora natalensis. While collecting material for this work Plant contracted malaria in Maputaland, dying at Lake St. Lucia in 1858.

Southern African Sand Forest

Southern African Sand Forest is a sand forest, or a subtropical forest ecoregion of the tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests biome. It grows on ancient sand dunes in northern KwaZulu-Natal and southern Mozambique. In South Africa these forests are known simply as Sand Forest, while in Mozambique they are known as Licuati Forest.

Tony Pooley

Tony Charles (Mashesha) Pooley (1938–2004) was a South African naturalist, award-winning conservationist and one of the world's foremost authorities on the Nile crocodile.

Born in Amanzimtoti, KwaZulu-Natal, Pooley was a keen ornithologist as a youth. He began his training as a game ranger for the (then) Natal Parks Board in Maputaland (now northern KwaZulu-Natal, also formerly known as Tongaland) in 1957, receiving much of his training as a naturalist from Zulu and Thonga game guards. The guards showed him a crocodile egg and asked him to identify which bird had laid it, to general amusement, which started his interest in crocodiles. His pioneering work on crocodile ecology and conservation is recorded, with his customary humour, in his first book, Discoveries of a Crocodile Man (Collins, 1982).

Pooley published numerous papers and chapters in books on crocodile behaviour, made pioneering discoveries on crocodile maternal care, and croc-rearing techniques (see Further Reading, below). He assisted in drafting new regulations changing the status of Nile crocodiles from 'vermin' to 'protected', and was a founder member of the IUCN Crocodile Specialist Group.He travelled to Italy, Australia, America, Papua New Guinea, Zambia and Zimbabwe advising on crocodile conservation and farming. Several films were made about his work, including The Ndumu Story, and the BBC's award-winning Gently Smiling Jaws, narrated by Sir David Attenborough. Pooley set up two crocodile research facilities, one at Ndumo Game Reserve, and the St Lucia Crocodile Research Centre, where he also set about educating visitors about crocodiles and their place in the ecosystem. He earned his MSc degree, on the "Ecology of the Nile Crocodile in Zululand", from the University of Natal in 1982, despite never having completed high school.

After leaving the Natal Parks Board, he set up southern Africa's largest private crocodile farm, Crocworld, near Scottburgh on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, which combined commercial farming with education. Thereafter he worked as a wildlife consultant and lectured at the Mangosuthu Technikon. As a consultant, Pooley worked with numerous film crews from the US, UK, France, Germany, South Africa and elsewhere, including the BBC Natural History Unit and the Discovery Channel. These programmes and films included special features on crocodiles, a film on the interaction of humans and vervet monkeys, and documentaries on conservation issues. His last film for the BBC was Missing - Presumed Eaten, documenting his successful defence of the reputation of the Nile crocodile against a life-insurance scam. He also made and published records of wildlife sounds, and an album of Thonga music.Pooley is widely credited as being one of the leading defenders of the dunes at Lake St. Lucia, now part of the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Park.He was chairman of the Campaign for St Lucia, which helped to defend the park against proposed open-cast dune mining and get it proclaimed as a heritage park, and later co-ordinated a campaign preventing the deproclamation of part of the Ndumo Game Reserve. This campaign is ongoing. Tony's efforts as a conservationist were recognised by awards from The Wildlife Society and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (formerly the Natal Parks Board).

Pooley's best-known publication is probably Mashesha - The Making of a Game Ranger, first published by Southern Book Publishers in 1992. "Mashesha" can be basically translated from Zulu as "He who hurries and takes", a reference to Pooley's work in pursuing poachers.

Pooley died in late 2004. He is survived by three sons and his wife, Elsa, an artist who illustrated Mashesha and has published definitive guides on South African plant life.

Tropical Storm Domoina

Severe Tropical Storm Domoina in 1984 caused 100 year floods in South Africa and record rainfall in Swaziland. The fourth named storm of the season, Domoina developed on January 16 off the northeast coast of Madagascar. With a ridge to the north, the storm tracked generally westward and later southwestward. On January 21, Domoina struck eastern Madagascar, the third storm in six weeks to affect the nation; collectively, the storms caused 42 deaths and $25 million in damage (1984 USD). After crossing the country, Domoina strengthened in the Mozambique Channel to peak 10 minute sustained winds of 95 km/h (60 mph). On January 28, the storm made landfall in southern Mozambique, and slowly weakened over land. Domoina crossed into Swaziland and later eastern South Africa before dissipating on February 2.

In Mozambique, Domoina dropped heavy rainfall in the capital Maputo that accounted for 40% of the annual total. Floods in the country destroyed over 50 small dams and left widespread crop damage just before the summer harvest. Later, the rains caused the worst flooding in over 20 years in Swaziland, which damaged or destroyed more than 100 bridges. Disrupted transport left areas isolated for several days. In South Africa, rainfall peaked at 950 mm (37 in), which flooded 29 river basins, notably the Pongola River which altered its course after the storm. Flooding caused the Pongolapoort Dam to reach 87% of its capacity; when waters were released to maintain the structural integrity, additional flooding occurred in Mozambique, forcing thousands to evacuate. Throughout the region, Domoina caused widespread flooding that damaged houses, roads, and crops, leaving about $199 million in damage. There were 242 deaths in southeastern Africa.

Woodward's batis

Woodward's batis (Batis fratrum), also Woodwards' batis and Zululand batis, is a species of small bird in the wattle-eyes family, Platysteiridae. It occurs in south-eastern Africa where it is found in woodlands and forests.


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