Up Close & Personal With Some Louisiana Swamp Gators!
Hey there, Gadabout Gal Kelly here!
My husband Jason and I truly enjoy visiting New Orleans, it’s one of our most favorite cities! We were introduced to this magnificent place in 2011 by fellow Gadabout Gal Tiffany and her husband Jeff. They visit NOLA every August with a big group of fun family and friends…and we were thrilled to be invited along for the fun.
We’ve now visited NOLA four times with this group over the past few years. Each time we try to find the most delicious food and drink…as well as visit fun new sites and cool music venues. That city never disappoints!
One thing we had never done in all of our time in NOLA was visit the famed Louisiana swamps. Well, we finally did just that this past August, when we took a fun (gator-filled!) tour of the Honey Island Swamp in Slidell, Louisiana with the Cajun Encounters Tour Company.
Cajun Encounters is a local, family-owned tour company dedicated to giving visitors an authentic experience of Louisiana history, culture and wildlife. They offer a variety of great NOLA excursions through city bus tours, plantation tours and swamp tours. All of their tours are led by local, licensed guides who are passionate about sharing their love of Louisiana. Many of their swamp boat captains have lived on the water for most of their lives and have earned field degrees to give you the best experience possible.
Just a 40-minute tour bus ride from NOLA, the Honey Island Swamp in Slidell is a rich habitat full of wildlife and one of America’s most unique ecosystems. This 2-hour tour takes you up close and personal as you explore narrow areas that only their 22-passenger flat-bottomed boats are built to navigate. We were excited for the chance to see alligators, raccoons, exotic birds, turtles and many more interesting creatures that call the swamp home. We also learned about a lot of the different types of flora and fauna that surround the swamp.
Check out this fun Cajun Encounters video from their site for a Swamp sneak peek:
The price of the Honey Island Swamp Tour is $56 per person and offered multiple times throughout the day. They even offer an evening tour option (seasonal). Because it is located a ways away from the city, I liked that they offer a Bus Pickup option, and they will pick you up at your hotel or a convenient location in the French Quarter.
It was the middle of August, so we decided to take a 9:30 am tour…before the swamp got too hot and ‘swampy’, if ya know what I mean. The tour bus picked us up at our hotel at 8 am and we were on our way to Slidell with a big group of other adventurers.
We all had a great morning on the swamp! Our tour guide Sonny was very knowledgeable and knew exactly where to find the gators and how to entice them to our boat! (very fun to see him smack the water with a hot dog on a long stick & make kissy noises!)
Jason was using our new GoPro camera and at one point, our guide Sonny asked if he could use it...and he stuck it out right over a BIG gator and got some crazy/cool face-to-face footage! (see below)
It wasn’t until AFTER he gave it back to Jason that Sonny mentioned how he’d done that once before on a tour with someone else’s camera...and the gator chomped right down onto it, LOL! Ooops!
Captain Sonny also pulled our boat real close to the trees and pointed out some BIG scary-looking spiders (eeeek!)...and we were visited twice by families of very curious (and hungry!) raccoons on the bank (they got some protein bar treats for their trouble).
I can’t say enough about what a fun tour this was and how much we enjoyed it! We LOVED getting up close & personal with all of the creatures and experiencing the rugged beauty of the Honey Island Swamp.
If you're interested in an up close and personal experience with some seriously cool swamp creatures...we DEFINITELY recommend booking a fun Swamp Tour with Cajun Encounters if you're ever in NOLA or the Slidell, Louisiana area!