The lure of Cape Vidal lies in its unique appeal as a genuine beach-and-bush destination that's a little off the beaten track. Inland lies the prolific wildlife of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, while the coastline offers the marine delights of the Indian Ocean.

Did you know?

Cape Vidal is the final resting place of the Dorothea, a gold-laden ship that foundered on a reef in 1898. Her exact location remains a mystery.

Cape Vidal, Sodwana Bay, uMkhuze, Kosi Bay, False Bay and Maphelane form part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site on the northern coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

Cape Vidal is named after Captain Alexander Thomas Emeric Vidal, a British Royal Navy surveyor responsible for charting the African coast during the 1820s.

The bay at Cape Vidal is a popular fishing, snorkelling and swimming spot with a sheltered launch site for boats.

Due to its location between two diverse environments, Cape Vidal offers travellers a choice between the wildlife of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park and the marine life of the Indian Ocean – a true beach-and-bush destination.

The birdlife here is prolific, as are vervet monkey troops, and is best enjoyed by exploring the many self-guided trails leading into the wetlands around Lake Bhangazi.

Cape Vidal also provides access to the eastern shores of Lake St Lucia where reedbuck, hippo, crocodile and buffalo may be seen, along with many bird species. Further afield game parks like Hluhluwe-Imfolozi are home to rhino and other large game.

Humpback whales migrating north to Mozambique pass relatively close inshore, while game fish such as marlin and sailfish attract anglers. While frolicking in the waves you’re just about guaranteed to see dolphin pods, especially in the early morning.

During December, endangered loggerhead and leatherback turtles arrive at the beaches to lay eggs in protected zones.

The summer months attract sun worshippers who revel in the swimming, surfing and sunbathing along the coast. Offshore reefs and clear water make snorkelling hugely popular, or you might prefer a guided tour to deeper waters.

Cape Vidal falls within a malaria zone, so it’s imperative that you take preventative medication for three weeks before your expected arrival date.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife
Phone: +27 (0)33 845 1000
Email: webmail@kznwildlife.com

Snorkel Safaris
Phone: +27 (0)82 257 5612
Email: info@extremenaturetours.co.za

Best time to visit

The gate entry to the Cape Vidal area operates in summer (October to March) between 05h00 and 19h00, and in winter (April to September) from 06h00 to 18h00. No late entry is permitted. The office is open from 08h00 to 12h30 and from 14h00 to 16h30 daily.

Around the area

The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve is a famous rhino reserve along the same coastal region.

Tours to do

Snorkelling safaris depart daily from St Lucia at 08h00.

What will it cost

There is a nominal entrance fee at the gate to the wildlife park. Check on seasonal prices by calling the Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife office listed above.

Length of stay

A weekend minimum, but more would be better to enjoy both the inland and marine attractions.

What to pack

Insect repellent, sunscreen, hat and fishing gear.

Where to stay

Cape Vidal Camp has log cabins with fully equipped kitchens and barbecue facilities. Bhangazi Bush Lodge, 10km from the camp, sleeps 8 guests in 4 fully equipped units. There are also 50 campsites in the dune forest along the beach.

What to eat

Fresh fish from the boats is often on sale to the public.

Best buys

Local crafters sell a variety of curios along the roadside, including beautifully carved wooden fish, wooden replica 4x4 vehicles, pots and mats.