Cajun Encounters Swamp Tour
We couldn’t go to Louisiana and not look for gators. Cajun Encounters Swamp Tour was fantastic and we didn’t just see gators…
We couldn’t go all the way to Louisiana and not go looking for gators. Luckily we were with a gator tour expert, my sister Maddie! As a regular visitor to New Orleans she had been on two or three gator tours already and suggested we go on the Cajun Encounters Swamp Tour.
There are so many tour groups out there but Maddie preferred Cajun Encounters for a few reasons. Unlike many of the other groups, the boats Cajun Encounters use are custom-made flat bottom boats with a small (and quiet) engine, rather than the loud and powerful air boats. The flat-bottom boats not only get you closer to the gators, but are also less likely to scare them away.
Another benefit of Cajun Encounter’s boats is that all the seats face out, so everyone has a very up close and personal experience with the swamp wildlife.
We booked the tour through our hotel and arranged to be picked up the next day.
Early the following morning we boarded a small shuttle which navigated through the streets of the French Quarter. The shuttle then stopped a few blocks away and all passengers then boarded a bigger bus which drove us the 40 minutes to the Slidell location.
We were there in October which is when it’s starting to get a little colder in Louisiana. Our tour guide told us that there was a chance that we wouldn’t see any gators due to the temperature. Oh how wrong he was!
Within ten minutes of boarding we were cruising down Honey Island Swamp and turned into this little alcove. All the other boats had gone the other way but our guide had a feeling we might find one there. He was right. There, just chilling in the wetlands, was a fairly sizeable gator. Our guide threw him a few pieces of sausage and drew him out. The gator went wide and then swam back towards our boat, straight in my direction – a scary and incredible experience.
Here’s a video of an up close and personal experience https://www.facebook.com/pg/Lipstick-and-Cake-254111424641334/videos/?ref=page_internal
Twenty minutes and ten thousand photos, we made our way to the other side of Honey Island Swamp.
After a little while we noticed we were being followed. A family of raccoons ran along the side of the swamp trying to keep up with our boat. We soon learnt why they were so keen to greet us…
This is Cinnamon. She’s the leader of that particular raccoon family and they’ve come to be friends with all the tour guides.
Our boat parked as close as it could to the wetlands and we watched in amusement as our tour guide fed the family marshmallows. It really is a sight to see. Not long after the marshmallows came out and another raccoon family appeared. There was some territorial hissing for a few minutes but then they realised there was enough marshmallows for all.
While we came for the gators, we were just as thrilled to see the raccoons.
After feeding the raccoons we pushed back from the wetlands and made our way further down the swamp.
When I used to hear the word swamp I would immediately think of stinking muddy water and mangroves, but this tour really changed my thinking.
The swamp was breathtaking. Beautiful swaying tree’s not only lined the sides of the wetlands but also popped up in the water. Flowing foliage hung off all the branches and birds, wild pigs, raccoons and alligator’s all lazed about, totally unfazed by our presence.
These photos really don’t do the swamp any justice so you’re either have to take my word for it, or go check it out for yourself. I recommend the latter.
Look closely – there’s a snake curled up in the photo below. See it?
So if you’re heading to Louisiana then I highly recommend you board one of the Cajun Encounters Swamp Tours. Cajun Encounters also runs City, Cemetery and Plantation tours but this swamp one is not to be missed.
Tickets are US$56 for adults and US$36 for children under 12. This is well worth it in my opinion as the tour is a few hours, you see a part of the world you probably have never seen before and you’re guaranteed to see some sort of wildlife.
Interested? Head to http://www.cajunencounters.com/swamp_tour to learn more.