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Parkers Cottages News

Under New Management

Parkers Cottages has been bought over by Craig Nicol, who has taken over the helm from Ken and Jan Dunbar.

Craig was previously a Tour Operator based in Johannesburg running tours to the Pilanesberg National Park, and was based there for the last 3 ½ years. As the Operator and Head Guide, Craig was responsible for the logistics of organising the tour as well as the smooth running of the tour itself, ensuring guest satisfaction was at its optimum. As most of the safaris were camping safaris the responsibilities were more than locating the animals everyone wants to see. Setting up camp, cooking of breakfasts and dinner, coordinating additional activities as well as the other tours that could be running at the same time was all part and parcel of the job.

Craig’s experience in all aspects of hospitality is therefore fairly extensive and as such, Craig is committed to providing the same service provision that Jan and Ken strived for, and will be aiming to exceed that service wherever possible. As a qualified guide, Craig’s passion has always been for the bush and the chance to come to St Lucia where the Bush and the Beach meet in spectacular fashion was an opportunity too good to give up. Having worked locally at Pongola Game Reserve for 2 years as a Professional Field Guide, prior to his stint in Johannesburg, Craig is well versed on the St Lucia Estuary System and surrounds and can attend to your requirements with professionalism and skill.

Craig looks forward to meeting you at Parkers Cottages.

Recent sightings

iSimangaliso, with its diverse eco-systems, is renowned for its huge variety of flora and fauna. With improving visitor access and activities interesting encounters are being frequently reported.

Some recent highlights include:

The uMkhuze section of iSimangaliso, already internationally renowned as a birding hotspot, has just earned itself another feather in the cap in the twitcher stakes. An extremely rare Golden Pipit was spotted and photographed by keen birder Brian Chedzey during a visit late December last year. The sighting has caused quite a stir in birding circles and was forwarded to iSimangaliso by Birdlife's Duncan Pritchard. "This is probably only the 4th sighting in South Africa and definitely the first in KwaZulu-Natal," he said.

uMkhuze has an impressive list of over 400 recorded species - now increased by one thanks to the sharp eyes of Mr Chedzey.

The Eastern Shores section of iSimangaliso and in particular Cape Vidal, is home to an active population of the rare Samango monkey. Even more rare is the albino pictured here, photographed by iSimangaliso's Roland Vorwerk.

Things to do in St. Lucia

In case you’re wondering what to do in St. Lucia, these are just a few of the activities available:-

Whale watching, hippo & croc tour on the estuary, Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Game Reserve safari (Big 5), Eastern Shores game drive, night drive into the Wetland Park, snorkelling at Cape Vidal, scuba diving at Sodwana Bay, turtle tours (November to March), Khula Zulu Village cultural tour, horse riding on the beach or in the bush, hiking trails, bicycle tours, bird-watching tours and trails, kayaking, canoeing, salt water fly fishing, rock and surf fishing and deep sea fishing,

No point in coming for a weekend – you’d better stay for a week!

Turning disaster into opportunity

South Africa's newest dive attractions - two artificial reefs - have been established near Cape Vidal in the Park.

The iSimangaliso Authority seized the opportunity to turn what was a disaster into a tourism and marine research possibility for South Africa's first World Heritage Site. The two rugby-field-sized dumb barges, scuttled late last year just south of Cape Vidal, are already attracting plentiful marine life in their new role as artificial reefs.

Until now this section of the Park has had no dive opportunities. There have been repeated requests from international tourists and local visitors for a dive experience accessible from the area. As the wrecks fall within iSimangaliso, legal mechanisms including a Park Area Notice are in place to ensure compliance. Fishing or spear-fishing are not allowed on or in the vicinity of the wrecks.

Head of research at the Natal Sharks Board, Jeremy Cliff, said the new reefs should have a beneficial role in reducing diver pressure on the nearby Sodwana reefs: "But artificial reefs are known to be fish-attracting devices so they will need to be very closely monitored to ensure anglers and spear fishermen don't target them".

Advanced diver and underwater photographer Dennis King was one of the first to dive one of the new reefs. "After just three weeks the whole deck is covered with algae and I counted at least 17 species of fish and shoals of goldies," he said. "With the barges 600m apart and close to Vidal, this is going to be an exciting new place for divers of all qualifications."

Local "monster" fish catch

iSimangaliso boasts riches beyond measure in its protected estuary and ocean, and anglers are often amazed at what they pull out of the waters.

This "monster" brindle bass was caught in the shallow St Lucia estuary by local resident, Innes Minnie, who fought for almost 2 hours to bring it in. Before being released unharmed, the giant fish was measured at 1.7m and probably weighed around 100kg.

At Parkers Cottages, we'll look after you well. That's our promise.