ROAD TRIP – SODWANA BAY (10)


Crocworld (Scottburgh, South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal)

Welcome to our road trip of December 2021. We are travelling by car across South Africa (from the west coast → north coast → KZN south coast → back to the west coast). The distance we will cover, will be around 5,000km (3,106 miles).

Our main purpose for this trip, besides seeing places we have not seen before, is for Berto to scuba dive in Sodwana Bay and then to be a little more adventurous … diving with sharks in the ocean in Umkomaas on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal. We hope to share lots of pictures to show you our beautiful country.

Accommodation – Day 12 to Day 18:

Aliwal Dive Centre

During our week in Umkomaas, our main purpose was for Berto to dive with sharks. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t always great for diving … but that meant we could visit other close by attractions … such as the Crocworld Conservation Centre.

Crocworld is only 8km from Umkomaas and we were pleasantly surprised with this 24ha of beautifully landscaped indigenous gardens (with stunning sea views)!

Walking trails at Crocworld

You will not only find crocodiles here, but also snakes, tortoises and a variety of water birds. We had a look inside the snake section, but took no photo’s (we rather made a quick escape … they are very scary)!

We were quite impressed with the well-marked signs at Crocworld

Before we get to the crocodiles, let’s have a stroll through the section of water birds …

Water birds:

Over 200 bird species can be encountered at Crocworld. Not all of these are in cages, but it’s important to remember that those that are in cages are either rehabilitated birds or captive bred and unfortunately cannot be released back into the wild.

African Fish Eagle – it’s well-known cry is regarded as ‘the voice of Africa’
It’s such a green and luscious park
Marabou Stork – they can be found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa in both wet and arid habitats
A swan family. The baby swan is still grey and will only start to turn white at around the 1-year mark
Grey Crowned Crane – they are considered endangered due to habitat loss
Blue crane, the national bird of South Africa

The Nile Crocodile:

Now, it’s time to have a closer look at the crocodiles. If you plan your visit, you might want to do it around the crocodiles’ feeding times (11am and 3pm). Unfortunately, our visit was between these times, but it was still very much enjoyable.

First, there is Henry … the oldest known Nile Crocodile in captivity who arrived at Crocworld in 1985 as an adult, with records that stated then that he was 85-years old. He is now 120 years old, lives in his enclosure with ten wives and has fathered over 10,000 offspring in the last 32 years … Henry must consider himself as a lucky crocodile!

Henry, the oldest known crocodile in captivity

Fun fact: Do crocodiles sweat?

Here’s an important fact to remember while watching the crocodiles: Crocodiles can’t control their body temperatures like humans – when we humans are hot, we sweat … but crocodiles open their mouths to cool down. Thank goodness I read this before we walked towards the crocodiles, because I saw many of them with open mouths!

Is he looking at me?
So many crocodiles!
Ah-ah, the open mouth one!
Very happy they are on the other side of the fence
I wonder: Is that a ‘ready-set-go’ position for a crocodile?
Oh my … 👀👀
The crocodile’s leathery skin from closer
American Alligator – alligators and crocodiles may look similar, but they are genetically far apart
The birds keeping a watchful eye on the crocodile
A goose family – fortunately not on the crocodile’s side of the fence

Monkeys:

After spending quite some time in the sun, we decided to have lunch at the Fish Eagle Café. But on our way, we first have to negotiate our way around some monkeys to get to our food!

I’m sure this little one would love to have lunch with us!

Lunch at Fish Eagle Café:

The Fish Eagle Café is a beautiful place to enjoy either breakfast or lunch. There’s plenty of space inside the restaurant or you can choose to sit outside under umbrellas. We found a nice spot outside with some amazing views of the Indian Ocean. The staff is friendly and the food really tasty – our kind of place!

Spectacular view over the ocean while enjoying lunch

After lunch, we took a last stroll through the beautiful gardens before our visit to Crocworld came to an end.

While crossing a bridge, we looked down … those crocs are BIG

We had such an enjoyable day at Crocworld. It’s great to see how well the park is maintained and that the animals are well taken care of.

Leaving Crocworld – happy we got to see this beautiful place

In our next post, we are slowly making our way back home. But we still have some beautiful roads to show you and we sleep over in Bloemfontein, also known as the City of Roses and the capital city of the Free State Province.

Categories: South African Break Aways

34 comments

  1. I didn’t know that was how crocs cooled down, not as scarey a pose as I thought! Thanks for not posting snake photos 😊 Maggie

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  2. Wow !! Such a great place to visit and the crocodiles, so impressive, a very special awe-inspiring reptile. I meet some in Borneo, and you prefer to keep your distance.. 😁
    Amazing images and a lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would have avoided the snakes as well, not a fan, the crocs looked interesting, but wouldn’t want to meet them up too close. I am happy living where we have few snakes, only one that is poisonous that lives on the other side of the mountains. We do have bears and cougars, but they don’t bother much.

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    • Absolutely Terry … even with a fence between me and the crocs, I was slightly apprehensive! We have quite a few poisonous snakes here in South Africa (I’m always on the lookout for them on our hiking trips) – but fortunately no bears and cougars (they sound quite dangerous as well)!

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  4. Dis wonderlik dat hulle die plek so netjies in stand hou, Corna. Dis so mooi groen daar. Die pragtige uitsig oor die oseaan is so mooi. Daar is nogal ‘n groot verskeidenheid voels daar. Pragtige foto’s daarvan. Die krokodille is darem maar groot en ek is maar lugtig vir hulle. Bly jy het nie slange gewys nie. Het baie respek vir hulle maar tel beslis nie as een van my gunstelinge nie🙄 die apies is oulik maar kan baie lastig wees. Lekker plek om te besoek en te eet!

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  5. Great post and wonderful photos. Crocodiles are natural predators and it is best to just stay away, yet you can’t help but admire their sharp teeth, strong jaws, swimming abilities, and hunting skills. Thanks for sharing and have a good day. Can’t wait to read more about your South African adventures 🙂 Aiva xx

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    • Thank you so much Aiva! I was quite happy to see the crocodiles from a distance (with a fence between us) … they looked so lazy and sleepy, but I’m sure they are very much aware of what is happening around them! Thank you for reading – I do hope to show you more of South Africa in 2022 ☺️. Have a great weekend.

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  6. Great to read this post and view your photos. That grand old crocodile has certainly enjoyed a good life. I can hardly believe that he has fathered so many children! The cafe looks lovely too and I’ll dream of the day that I can sit beneath one of those shady parasols with the Indian Ocean lapping at my feet.

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    • Thank you Marion for coming along on our visit to Crocworld. Yes, I think old Henry must be one of the happiest crocs there 😉. This park is situated at the perfect spot – with the indigenous gardens on the one side of the road and the magnificent Indian Ocean on the other side! I really hope you will get that opportunity one day to experience this yourself 🌸. Have a good weekend, Corna.

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  7. What a huge amount of wildlife you managed to squeeze in, really awesome. Crocodiles are just pure evil to me. I’ll never forget being scared out of my wits at Gatorland in Orlando as a kid. A few years back, when we were living in Siem Reap, Cambodia, our first guesthouse overlooked a crocodile farm. ‘That’ was fun. The croc in one of your shots is absolutely looking at you right out of the corner of his eye. Love the ocean views and your deliciously creamy looking salads.

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    • Yes indeed Leighton, we saw so many wildlife on this road trip (which was never the intention, but hey, we’re not complaining)! I was happy to look at the crocs from a distance (with a safety fence between us) … but I won’t be that brave in the openness of nature. Oh, those salads were delicious … on a hot day, we couldn’t ask for a better meal!

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  8. Nee kyk. N marabou is een vd die lelikste voels ooit😂 en die 2 kransvoels vd mooiste. Baie elegante voels.

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  9. Thank you for another awesome share Corna 💕🌸 It’s not possible for me to travel right now and therefore I’m especially thankful for your amazing blogs. I’m filled with ideas and possibilities of future travels☺️

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  10. Ek kan my indink dat ou oom Henry sy middagslapie nodig het met so baie vrouens om gelukkig te hou op sy ryke ouderdom.

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  11. I love the name of the place. Crocworld sounds scary, but it’s actually pretty neat and glad to hear that the park is well maintained. Love all the various kinds of birds. They are so unique and different to what we have here in Canada. I didn’t know that crocodiles open their mouths to cool down. I just figured they did that when hungry and were waiting for something like a bird to land in their mouths.

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    • Yes, Crocworld is a great name … I think since it’s also an education centre (and they’re hosting children’s birthday parties here), they’ve tried to keep the name light and fun! It’s quite amazing how animals differ from country to country – I’m always amazed myself to see all the different kinds of wildlife in Canada! I also learned something about the crocs keeping their mouths open – thought they were just lazy and waited for food to land in their mouths 😁.

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  12. Yay for Henry! Goodness, how do they find enough to feed those guys…no, I think I don’t want to know! That looks like a lovely place and I can hear and smell the ocean and the soft, warm breeze. It was about -21C when we got up this morning! But we have bright sunshine.

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    • Old Henry … it seems his quite the man there 😉. Yes, in a way I’m actually glad we missed the feeding time … I’m not so sure that I wanted to see what they were feeding those crocs! Oh my … -21C AND the sun is shining … my mind can’t get around it! We are in proper summer – mid 30’s for a week now … think it’s time to have an ice-cream down at the lagoon now!

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  13. I don’t think I could get that close to a croc – they are terrifying!!! Also look at your sunshine, I’ve woken up to snow this morning so am teleporting myself to you guys 🙂

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    • Yes Hannah, they are certainly not the cutest animal alive … and definitely not one I would like to meet in nature! Be careful what you wish for … it’s high 30 degrees Celsius here (and apparently it will get close to 40 this weekend 😬) – perfect weather for even an ice-cream to melt!

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  14. It’s a shame to see the birds in cages but I fully understand why, and this looks like a place that cares for its creatures 🙂 You have some great photos of the crocodiles, especially the close-ups. Personally I would have loved to have seen the snakes too!!

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    • Some of those crocs were very close to the fence and one could literally just hold your camera normally to take the close-ups. I’m afraid I’m not too fond of snakes – seen them too many times on our hikes here in the bushes and always make a quick escape! As for the birds, they are so lovely … and like you, I was glad to see they are being looking after.

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  15. I loved all the wildlife but my favorite is the African Fish Eagle! At first I thought it was a Bald Eagle we have here where I live, I have a huge interest in them and think they are an amazing bird.

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    • Yes, the African Fish Eagle is just stunning. I had the privilege of seeing and hearing this amazing bird in wild nature and it is quite amazing! Thanks for reading Diane (I don’t know where you get the time from while preparing all those wonderful meals in your kitchen 😊)!

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