We stayed at Maputaland Guest House for 2 nights as part of a 3 week tour of eastern South Africa with our 7 yo son.
St Lucia is a lovely place and one of the highlights of our trip. It just has it all, sitting on the edge of lovely beaches (though treacherous currents), and the fabulous unspoilt iSimangaliso ("a marvel") wetland with all its spectacular wildlife.
St Lucia feels like a town of B&Bs from all the signs bristling at every street corner. Our travel agent chose for us and how well he chose - the lovely Maputaland Guest House. The themed rooms (ours was Buffalo) were tastefully decorated and provided lots of nice touches. Our son had a sofa bed so space was a bit tight, but we spent littlle time in the room so it was not an issue. Water is at a premium in the area and is switched off in the afternoon and overnight, but this did not present any real inconvenience.
But what really made the stay was the care and attention of our hosts, Gisela and Peter. Nothing was too much trouble. They took time to give us basic orientation, give advice on eating options in town, sorted out our tickets for the hippo/croc river tour and ensured our happiness in every way.
We spent the whole of our second day in the reserve leading north to Cape Vidal. We made an early start and Gisela packed us a superb breakfast in a cool box for us to take and also advised us where we should eat it. It was one of the defining moments of our trip, having climbed to the overlook at Mission Beach then unpacked our breakfast at the viewpoint (Gisela even [packed a tablecloth!) - the view inland over the wetlands was breathtaking, while out to sea we watched humpback whales breaching. Holiday magic!
We loved Cape Vidal, lovely beach but the currents are dangerous and we opted to splash about rather than swim in view of the tragic drowning of a British tourist only a few weeks before. The loop back brought unexpectedly good game viewing, not Kruger cats but really nice warthog, zebra and assorted buck. Birdlife was great too, both here and on the Gwalagwala trail on the edge of St Lucia village itself.
The river trip for hippos and crocs lasts about 2 hours and is also highly recommended. The dry wit of our boatman kept us entertained alongside the close views of hippos, crocs and waterbirds.
Back on dry land, there is a range of eating options. We chose Alfredo's which had great pizza but both decor and staff could do with brightening up. The second night we ate in Braza, advertised as portuguese/mozambique/angolan/brazilian, but sounded rather more interesting than it actually was - food was dull with mushy overcooked prawns and sad looking peri peri chicken. Plenty of better options, so explore.
Thumbs up on Maputaland Guest House and St Lucia - you're in for a treat!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Maputaland Guest House has 6 individually decorated, air-conditioned rooms with en-suite bathrooms, all with direct access to the swimming pool which is set in our tropical and tranquil garden, perfect to relax and unwind. Open your bedroom door onto the veranda to sit and enjoy the view of our tropical garden which surrounds all the rooms. 2 rooms serve as family units that are perfect for small families. Have a nice refreshing splash in the pool after a long day in the sun or laze around the pool and relax while you are entertained by bird songs. The garden is a bird lover's paradise, and over 500 species have been identified in the St Lucia and Elephant Coast area. Maputaland Guest House has become world-renowned for the warm hospitality of its German, English & Afrikaans speaking hosts, Gisela, Jörg and Penny Orban. With a great knowledge of the area and surroundings, we can help you plan your stay with us and the rest of your journey. ... more less
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