Swamp tour in Louisiana

One of our objectives in Louisiana was to visit a swamp. As New Orleans is built in a very wet area and, according to Lonely Planet, New Orleans boasts the largest alligator population, we decided to do it near the city here. The host of our hotel suggested we buy the tour from Cajun Pride Tours. We bought a combo ticket including a swamp and also a San Francisco Plantation.

The tour bus picked us up from the hotel and took us to the Manchac Swamp, which is a privately-owned wildlife refuge. The tour guide was a local who was very experienced, as, in our understanding, he had lived here forever and was friends with all the animals in the swamp. Alligators were unafraid and responsive to the boat captain’s call. They peeked out from the underbrush and came directly to the boat. The Captain had food in the boat—chicken legs and marshmallows—and alligators and raccoons were very ravenous for those.

During the trip, there was also the possibility to feed alligators by ourselves. I tried also, but this was not very professional, because the 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 the chicken leg, it catches this. For us, it was a 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 better understand alligators’ lives.

The 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 cypress, 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 boat, you will be drawn to the swamp’s mystery and captivated by its peace.

San Francisco plantation

After the swamp tour, we also visited a historic San Francisco plantation. When visiting South Louisiana, it is worth visiting at least one plantation. This gives a pretty good idea of how people lived in the “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 through the stories of those times.

The tour (swamp + plantation) costs $60 per person. For others, I would suggest skipping the bus tour. You can always drive with the car to the swamp and plantation and pay less there. Also, do not leave the swamp tour as the last activity of the day. The boat captain said that starting at 5 PM, the tours are “mosquito tours”.

Story continues at Biloxi, Mississippi

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