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Tourists throng St Lucia estuary to see hippos

Reporter: Travers Andrews 丨 CCTV.com

08-20-2014 00:21 BJT

South Africa is a place where we get rid of urban pollution and embrace nature. And St Lucia estuary is the place you need to go to observe hippos and many other animals. 

A call to an afternoon graze, hippos are known to spend most of their days, lazing around in the African sun. Here at St. Lucia estuary, they are among the many that have made it their home.

Tourists throng St Lucia estuary to see hippos

Tourists throng St Lucia estuary to see hippos

The wetland system is a biodiversity hotspot; a melting pot of species all drawn to its rich ecology. Local tourism officials hope that efforts to keep the estuarine system in a pristine condition ,will lead to more and more visitors swapping game viewing vehicles for cruising safaris.    

"We are trying to grow wetland tourism,in that we are taking of restoring the lake system itself in that it has to go back to its natural state so we realized wetlands has a role to play in tourism." said Thandi Tshabalala, Information Co-Ordinator, Isimangaliso Wetland Park.

St Lucia estuary is in itself, quite unique, being Africa's largest estuarine system,it manages to draw in an abundance wildlife including bird species and reptiles.

But none draws so much fascination as the hippos, they've become the cornerstone species of the wetlands,for the visitors who come here,its offers an untouched eco tourism experience with the wildlife to boast.  

"If you look at the wetlands,its one of the few places actually left on its natural state,where you can really enjoy the tranquility and the beauty of nature,where you can see wildlife that's left in its natural habitat." said Patrick Pillay, Visitor.

"Its a unique combination of wetlands and game parks,so if you want to see the big five but you also want to see the hippos and crocodiles,you should go here." said Cornelius Smaal, Visitor.

But the wildlife experience doesn't only extend to the confines of the wetlands because warning signs throughout the town,clearly display what the chances are of a sighting.       

"St Lucia remains one of the few places where hippos are allowed to roam freely form the estuary into the town, now by all account this is also driving up the tourism sector because the chance of a close up encounter,is what drawing in more visitors." said Travers Andrews, St Lucia.

"Hippos are very important for the St Lucia economy, that is one of the major draw cards,why people come to St Lucia is because of the hippopotamus,we've got the most in lake St Lucia than you have in Southern African and its a very big draw card." said Riette Bennett, St Lucia Tour Guide.

For such a sensitive ecosystem a fine balancing act does seem to be played out with success here, the animal species in the St Lucia estuary seem to be thriving and that's become a major part of why so many people are finding their way,to one of the countries,last unspoiled frontiers.

Tourists throng St Lucia estuary to see hippos

Tourists throng St Lucia estuary to see hippos

Tourists throng St Lucia estuary to see hippos

Tourists throng St Lucia estuary to see hippos

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