One of our objectives in Louisiana was to visit swamp. As New Orleans is built on the very wet area and by LP New Orleans boasts the largest alligator populations, we decided to do it near the city here. The host of our hotel suggested us to buy the tour from Cajun Pride Tours. We bought a combo tour including swamp and also a San Francisco Plantation.
The tour bus picked us from the hotel and took us to the Manchac swamp, which is privately owned wildlife refuge. The tour-guide was local who was very experienced as in our understanding he has lived here for ever and was friend to all animals in swamp. Alligators were unafraid and responsive to boat captain’s call, they peaked out from underbrush and came directly to the boat. The Captain had a food in the boat - chicken legs and marshmallows - and alligators and raccoons were very hungry to those.
During the trip there was also a possibility to feed alligators by ourselves. I tried also, but this was not very professional, because normal reaction is that you will be afraid. We learned that it is so that the gator tries to catch what is moving, if you move the boot, his attention is on that, if you move chicken leg, it catches this. For us it was surprise that alligators love marshmallows. Later the tour guide also showed us gator babies and there was also a possibility to touch them. It was really interesting to understand alligators’ life better.
Swamp tour was interesting not only because of the gators, but the whole landscape was exciting. Veiled behind dense drapes of Spanish moss and walls of cypresses, Manchac Swamp is a wilderness jewel known mainly to those who for generations have dwelled in and around it, arduously earning their sustenance from its waters and wildlife. Driving there by the boat, you will be drawn to the swamp’s mystery and captivated by its peace.
After the swamp tour we also visited an historic sugar plantation San Francisco. When visiting South Louisiana, it is definitely worth to visit at least one plantation. This gives pretty good idea how people lived in “good old days”. The tour at San Francisco Plantation was not about the house and the furniture. It was about the people - the men, the women, the children, the slaves, the workers. It was a window into Louisiana's disappearing Creole world. San Francisco Plantation was built in 1856. The professional tour guide took us with the stories to those times.
The tour (swamp + plantation) cost $60 per person. For others I would suggest not to buy the bus tour, you can always drive with the car to the swamp and plantation and pay there less. Also, do not leave the swamp tour as a last activity of the day. The boat captain said that starting from 5PM; the tours are “mosquito tours”.