This is Africa for you - a seemingly boring place can produce the most interesting of sightings. I shouldn't knock St. Lucia. If you've never seen a croc or a hippo in your life, this is probably a good place to start. Cheap enough tours will take you everywhere from whale to bird watching, and though the park still recommends not getting out of your car, it's relatively safe to do so – there are no lions. A small tourist town is adjacent to the park, and locals put up a good front trying to show competition between tour operators does not exist in this lovely place, and for the most part it's true. Careful not to offend anybody, we tried almost every tour we were invited to. Vova even spent a night in the crocodile center to record mating songs and dances of local crocs. This would probably be my favorite part of the job. Not the freebee tours or accommodation, but the VIP privileges we sometimes get, like being allowed to climb into an enclosure with a Gabon viper to get a better picture, or to enter the park before the crowds swarm every decent waterhole in sight.
Our last event in St Lucia was going to be a night drive. Having visited the park during the day and finding nothing more interesting than a few wildebeest and reedbuck, we went through the motions as the guide pointed out chameleons and yet another bushbuck, until something big and feline appeared on a hill above us. Mesmerized, we found ourselves looking into the eyes of a striking leopard that squinted at the light from our spotlights and came down the hill towards our car to check what was making so much ruckus. It came and crouched beside the car. I could hear everybody's heartbeat. The game drive car is an open jeep – nothing but some flashlights would stop an inquisitive leopard to come check what's in the tin can. The driver waited until it was unsafe to wait anymore. When the leopard's eyes begun to adjust to the light and it started looking like it has seen a fly it would like to catch inside the car, we sadly had to move on.