Sandy Place, St Lucia,
The village of St Lucia is reachable from either the North or South from the N2, about 225 kilometers from Durban or 650 kilometers from Johannesburg. St Lucia is also situated in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa’s first World heritage site.
Sandy Place is situated on the main street within easy walking distance of all the businesses in town.
The resort and town
Upon our arrival we were welcomed and directed to our accommodation. First impressions count and the friendly security guard at the front gate set the tone for a very pleasant stay.
In a matter of minutes our luggage had been unloaded and taken to our unit, a nice touch. All occupants have undercover parking with was another plus for me.
The resort was awarded RCI Gold Crown Status in April 2010.
Exhausted after a long day’s travel we had a quick supper and hit the hay.
The next morning we had time to look over our accommodation..
All units in the complex are duplex six sleeper and have two bedrooms and bathrooms. An open plan kitchen/dining room/lounge make out the ground floor with the bedrooms/bathrooms on the top floor. When we arrived the ding room table was set for mealtime giving that home from home feeling. As we have by now become accustomed at Quality Vacation Club resorts, everything was spotlessly clean, in fact my wife mentioned that the oven was the cleanest she had ever seen! The open plan kitchen was comprehensively equipped for self catering and everything was in perfect working order. What a pleasure to work in a spotless kitchen with quality utensils. The TV has limited DSTV but all our favourite channels were available so we could keep up to date with sport and soapies.
Sliding doors open up to a patio with private braai area. Air conditioning and fans take care of the hot summer days. The resort also has a games area for the more energetic guests. There is also a sparkling pool where you can lounge on deck chairs or simply just take a cool dip.
A resort is only as good as the management team and staff and in the case of Sandy Place it is obvious why the resort was awarded Resort of the Year in 2008. The management team is hands on and always available and willing to assist and the staff are friendly, helpful and efficient.
At the beginning of this article I made the comment “a week is not enough”. A week’s vacation in St Lucia requires careful planning so you can fit all the available activities into the time you have available.
St Lucia is unique in that it only has one access route over a bridge. Residents say that crime levels are negligible and that they feel perfectly safe and secure. Everything you may need is obtainable in town. You can have good food at a different restaurant every night and still have a selection you haven’t tried yet.
Here are some of the activities you can enjoy during your stay.
At the one end of the main street is the entrance gate to the iSimangaliso Wetland park. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park – previously known as the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park – has both one of the largest estuary systems in Africa and the continent's southernmost coral reefs. In granting it World Heritage status in 1999, Unesco’s World Heritage Committee noted the park's "exceptional biodiversity, including some 521 bird species".
We took a drive in the park to Cape Vidal, a popular camping and fishing resort. The ideal place to get away from the cold Johannesburg winter! On the way we spotted black rhino, warthog, kudu and buffalos well as a variety of birds. At the Cape Vidal camp site we managed to photograph the rare samango monkey. The camp site is nice and shady, the ablutions clean and the beach inviting.
Every morning we took a walk along the road bordering the estuary and spotted deer, the Mozambique lourie, a flock of trumpeter hornbills and many other bird species. In fact over 526 bird species have been recorded in the area, a bird watchers paradise. Late one afternoon we even had a rare sighting of a bush baby!
The following encounters have also been recorded by walkers, a leopard on an early morning stroll to the beach (yikes), a hippo wandering in the streets (double yikes), a rhino roadblock on your way to Cape Vidal and a family of monkeys having breakfast in your kitchen!.
Ecotourism is big in St Lucia, turtle tours can be arranged to view leatherback turtles nesting, whale watching to view migrating humpback whales, hippo and crock cruises on the lake and of course bird watching.
And if all the above is not enough, the following is also available, Zulu cultural tours, deep sea fishing charters, night drives and game drives, horse riding, golf, bowling and surfing. Now you can see why I say that a week in St Lucia might not be enough?
Reservations for all the above activities can be made at reception.
Although the weather is hot and humid in summer (accommodation is air conditioned) it is the perfect getaway from the cold Gauteng winter, in fact while our family was freezing in Johannesburg we were in shorts and tshirts in St Lucia.
So, why come to Sandy Place and St Lucia? We find that KwaZulu-Natal holiday towns like Umhlanga and Margate are busy, noisy and over commercialised. St Lucia is more relaxed and offers more in the way of holiday activities than the aforementioned towns with the added bonus of a wildlife experience as well.
We will be back and next time for longer than a week!