A fisherman and marine enthusiasts haven. This unspoilt area with its beautiful expanse of beach is a place to connect with nature. The name derives from the surname of the British Captain who mapped the area in 1812.
Cape Vidal lies within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site. It offers amazingly rich marine life, and it provides direct access to the Eastern Shores Nature Reserve with its good populations of elephant, rhino, buffalo, crocodile, hippo and reedbuck to name but a few. It is a paradise for lovers of safaris and bird watching.
The beach and 3 miles out to sea is within marine reserve. During winter and spring, there is a continual stream of humpback whales migrating between their feeding and breeding grounds. Other marine gems includes the huge whale shark, marlin, sailfish and pods of bottlenose, spotted, common and spinner dolphins.
Six loop roads off the main St Lucia to Cape Vidal road provide excellent game viewing and bird watching. You may well see waterbuck, kudu, warthog and buffalo on your drive into the camp. There are reports of fairly tame bushbuck and duiker around the camp. Vervet monkeys will eat anything you don’t keep protected and if there are warthogs around, you will jump out of your skin the first time you hear them trying to raid a rubbish bin in the middle of the night.
Cape Vidal is the site of the wreck of the wooden barque “Dorothea” which struck the reef in 1898. Artefacts from the wreck may be seen in the bay at various times, including a huge piece of chain on the reef, and a steel mast tube. There is good rock and surf angling. Salt water fly-fishing is a popular.
The resort is set in a bay sheltered by a rock reef that is completely exposed at low spring tides, providing many rock pools and good snorkelling. iSimangaliso’s coral reefs are sustained by the warm, nutrient-rich waters of the Agulhas Current – creating some of the world’s best diving spots.The southernmost coral reefs of Africa can be found around here. These reefs owe their existence to clear warm water carried southward by the current and the absence of silt-carrying rivers discharging into the region.
Snorkeling should only take place 1 hour prior and 1 hour after low tide. This is when one can enjoy the very best snorkeling in the protected bay of Cape Vidal. The conditions (currents) are most favorable between these times and are therefore the safest as well. At other times the rip is too strong. Ensure that you do have a tide chart so that you make sure that your timings are correct.
On either side of the camp lie kilometres of deserted, unspoilt beaches ideal for long walks. Climb up one of Vidal’s high dunes, as there are excellent views out to sea. Sometimes after big storms, seabirds such as the Yellow-nosed Albatross, Giant Petrel, Tropic birds, Frigate birds and Sooty- and Noddy Terns are blown closer to shore, and you can see these unusual birds up close.
You can settle down on the sand and spend the day swimming and fishing. Alternately, a short drive away you can go self drive, game viewing. From camp, drive out of the thickly wooded dune forest onto the open plain grassland and follow one of the loop roads, the 17 km Grassland Loop to explore the Eastern Shore of Lake St Lucia. The road winds through magnificent tree-studded grasslands, red dunes, swamp and swamp forest. There is a wealth of bird life, including many Burchell’s coucal.
Accommodation is simple and well maintained by KZN Wildlife. The Cape Vidal Camp has camping places and log cabins of varying sizes under shade. You will need to braai and self cater. Bring your own drinking water. Meals may be possible at the ski club, as this is a launching area, but you will need to check. Book well ahead as space is limited.
Cape Vidal is a conservation area so thee are closed times for entry and departure, depending on the season. The times are: (October to March) 05h00 and 19h00 and winter (April to September) from 06h00 to 18h00. Office hours are from 08h00 to 12h30 and from 14h00 to 16h00 every day.
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