I am in St Lucia now, which is a little resort town on the Indian Ocean. It is busy but not unpleasantly so. People come for the beach and the fishing and boating, and a lot of them come from within South Africa. The ocean is very warm but the waves are the biggest I've ever been in and it's a little scary. I couldn't really swim in the surf but I managed to get out to where it was about a meter deep and body surf. By then the waves were breaking higher than my head and very powerful so I drank quite a lot of seawater. It doesn't taste any better in Africa. I'm not confident enough to go out beyond the breakers, especially since I haven't seen anyone else doing it. The beach is nice white sand and there is lots of it, not very crowded so it is great for just being lazy. There are no interesting seashells because they all get broken.
Our campsite is so close to the beach that I fell asleep last night to the sound of the waves. Then I woke up around midnight to the sound of the rain, and was glad I put the rain fly on my tent. I am always tempted not to, because it is cooler with just the inner mosquito net layer, but it often rains at night and I don't want to fight with the tent in the rain in the dark. It would be about a 2 minute walk to the beach except that there is a fence in the way, so it is about ten minutes. I am glad of the fence though because it keeps out the hippos and crocodiles. It doesn't keep out the smaller critters, like the 2m spitting cobra I found in the shower yesterday. The security guard chased it out. Now every time I go in the bathroom I have to check for snakes, but today it has been pleasantly cobra-free. The trash cans have no lids, making them into a convenient central food depot for the vervet monkeys and making a mockery of all the signs about not feeding the monkeys. They are fearless and I'm glad they are vervets and not baboons. Vervets are little so they scavange and beg and sneakily grab food, but baboons are big enough to really hurt somebody if you had something they wanted. It is nice to see the little baby vervets though. They are very cute and I can see why people are tempted to feed them.
Several people have told me that hippos regularly roam around the center of town at night, and I would like to see that. The oddest thing I have seen in town was a pig. It's not even livestock: there is a tourist family here with their pets, four large dogs and their pig, on leashes. I just saw the man lift it into the back of the pickup truck. I guess it can't jump in like the dogs can. The dogs bark a bit at people walking past and the pig grunts at them. It's really bizarre: I can see them out the window and I can't stop staring.
I just went on a hippo and crocodile boat tour. It was more interesting than I expected: we got a very good view of the hippos and crocs and there were a lot of interesting birds. Jacandas are little water birds that look like they are walking on the water but they really just walk on the underwater plants. There were fish eagles and egrets and herons, and the pigmy goose which is tiny like a grebe. We saw the dominant male hippo marking his territory by spraying poop around with his tail. His name is Vincent Van Hippo because he only has one ear.
Tomorrow we will go horseback riding on the beach, and I want to go for a walk as well. Early morning would be the best time, maybe even if it is raining again. It is not quite as hot as Louis Trichardt but it is more humid and can be uncomfortable. We are staying three days in St Lucia, which is a nice change from Kruger where we stayed a different place every night. Kruger National Park was amazing, I will tell you about it another time, but it was one of the coolest things I have ever done. We saw four leopards, wild dogs, elephants really close... Anyway, I should go to dinner now. We are going to the same restaurant as last night because it was really good and cheaper than buying a stove or firewood to cook for ourselves.