St Lucia is a small village set in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and just a stones throw from the Indian Ocean. It's a popular destination for whale watching at the right time of year, or deep sea fishing and watching hippos and crocodiles on the river all year round. It also makes for a good stop on the road between Durban and Johannesburg.
There are plenty of activities to indulge in while in St Lucia: boat trips, fishing, game viewing, snorkelling, lazing on the beach, birdwatching, and more.
The wetland park covers a diverse mix of habitats with forest, savannah, dunes, mangroves and freshwater ecosystems. It's one of the only places in the world where hippos, crocodiles and sharks share the same waters. It's the largest estuarine system in Africa, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It's worth the 40 kilometre drive to visit the spectacular dunes of Cape Vidal.
|St Lucia Bib's International Backpackers||310 Mckenzie Street (Box 51)||Hostel||66|
|St Lucia Budget Backpackers||48 Mckenzie Str||Hostel||-|
|Stokkiesdraai St Lucia||74 McKenzie St||Hostel||77|
|Umlilo Lodge||9 Dolphin Avenue||Lodge/Bed & Breakfast||-|
Big cities and most of the popular places in the country usually have an internet café though they are not as abundant as in, for example, Asia or South America. It's also relatively expensive, usually 20-30 rand an hour, sometimes even more. Many of the accommodation options have internet access available, either wireless with your own laptop or by their own computer(s). Wireless access is also available throughout the country in more and more cafes and eateries, sometimes free and sometimes for a small fee. Note that you usually have to login anyway and agree with the terms and conditions. It is cheapest to buy a prepaid cell phone starter pack (less than R10) and access the Internet with GPRS or 3G. Generally R2 per MB for out of bundle data from most providers (50c for Virgin Mobile), but it becomes a lot cheaper if you buy a data bundle. In general coverage is good except the more rural parts of the northern and northwestern parts of the country (especially Northern Cape).
See also International Telephone Calls
South Africa's country code is 27. Telephone numbers in South Africa are 10 digits, including the local area code. There are also some prefixes like 0800 (toll free), 0860 (charged as local call) and 0861 (flat-rate calls). The general emergency number is 10111, ambulance is 10177 and police is 1011.
South Africa has very good phone facilities, which are also becoming more and more competitively priced, now that more operators are active on the market. The main ones are Neotel and Telkom South Africa. Local phone calls are cheap (about one Rand an hour), domestic long-distance calls are about twice as expensive. International calls start at around 6 Rand an hour but can be (much) higher to less usual countries. Note that public phones are about twice as cheap as new private phone centres. Phone calls tend to be the cheapest during the weekend and during business hours (8:00am to 5:00pm) on weekdays and more expensive during the evening and nights at weekdays.
There are also good mobile-phone facilities, with GSM and 3G networks. There are five cell phone providers in South Africa: Vodacom, MTN, Cell-C, Virgin Mobile and 8ta. SIM card prepaid starter kits are available from R10. You will need a passport and a proof of residential address and it has to be registered before you can call or receive calls. You can buy credit for prepaid phones just about everywhere, remembering you will usually need cash to do so from service stations.
The SAPO (South African Post Office) is the nation's postal service. They have a track & trace system for parcels as well. Post offices are open from 8:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Domestic and international deliveries are reliable but can sometimes take up to several weeks. If you want to send something oversees of any value, try using one of the private mail services, like Postnet. Also international courier companies like TNT, UPS and DHL tend to be fast, very reliable and competitively priced.
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