After leaving New Orleans (you can read about our 2 days in NOLA here) we stopped at the Honey Island Swamp to break up the journey on the drive up to Birmingham, Alabama. It’s about a 45 minute drive north out of the city.
Having seen a few swamp tours advertised when we were in the city, we decided it would be good to stop and explore on the drive north. As it was quite last minute, I phoned around a few companies in the morning and found a tour with Cajun Encounters that fit in with our timings. They have an option to pick you up from your hotel in New Orleans if you are travelling without a car, or you can drive there yourself which was ideal for us.
It seems they have quite a few boats and a lot of people arrived on buses just after we got there so it is definitely a popular activity. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the swamp tour, but we were really intrigued to learn more about the area. The captain/guide was very knowledgable about the swamp and gave us a really comprehensive view of swamp life; the wildlife, the habitat and even the people who have built houses there.
The tour lasted about 2 hours and we went down the river and into the swamp in search of wildlife. We were told that as it was a little cold, we may not see alligators as they prefer to bask in the sun.
We came across a lot of racoons, who were following us due to the fact the guide had little treats for them!
We also saw quite a few turtles sitting out on the logs.
The wildlife really was incredible. I never knew the swamp was such an amazing habitat for so many animals.
We headed back down the river in search of alligators, and learnt about the settlements here. There aren’t roads here, to build you have to have a boat (or two) and ferry everything there yourself. We also heard about the devastation caused here by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The water level was insane, it reached up to the small shack on top of this bridge.
After over an hour on the boat we finally came across an alligator! This is one of the smaller ones at around 5ft, but it was amazing to see none the less.
Our trip to the Honey Island Swamp took me by surprise, I loved it! I found it fascinating learning about swamp life and the wildlife here that I never knew existed. It was the perfect way to spend a couple of hours before we got back in the car and drove the 4.5 hours to Birmingham, Alabama. If you’re ever in this area I would highly recommend it.