The small fishing haven and popular holiday resort of St Lucia lies on the shores of Lake St Lucia, fed by the waters of the Mkuze River. The mouth of the estuary has a high salinity level and teems with fish.
The great number of predators that the fish attract include a vast array of birds such as fish eagles, kingfishers, cormorants, pelicans and flamingoes, while sharks and large game fish also get their fair share. The lake is home to many hippos and crocodiles and hundreds of species of birds.
Crayfish are plentiful in the rocks close to shore and temporary permits can be obtained from the Natal Parks Board. Crayfish may be collected at First Rocks and Mission Rocks to the north of St Lucia village
Cape Vidal is a renowned fishing spot which is under the protection of the Natal Parks Board, who offer camping facilities and accommodation in bungalows. There are no real coral reefs in the area and diving is mainly restricted to spearfishing and snorkelling, but the water is almost always clear.
A rocky, crescent-shaped reef forms a protected pool where superb snorkelling can be done in safety at low tide. The reefs are covered with algae and a great variety of small and vividly coloured tropical fish abound in the shallow water, offering divers hours of safe and enjoyable snorkelling.
See also Encounter Magazine's comprehensive guide on Scuba Diving
in South Africa.