Frequently asked Questions

What is a swamp tour?

A swamp tour is a safe, quiet and educational way to view, enjoy and learn about nature and the wildlife. Alligators, turtles, birds, and other wildlife are pointed out by guides. While all swamp tours view the wildlife, only eco-tours follow leave no trace ethics, like not feeding the wildlife.

What are swamp boats called?

Old swamp boats are usually called Pirogues and are very close in design, (flat bottom) and use to the kayaks that we use on our swamp tours in New Orleans.  The same way that pirogues were used to get back into narrow and shallow areas that big noisy motorized boats cannot reach.  Sadly, these small man-powered vessels are quickly becoming a relic.

Can you see Alligators?

Alligators are very common in Louisiana.  Being cold blooded, they tend to slow down when temperatures dip below 60 degrees but are in abundance and visible during our tour for most of the year!

Can you see alligators in winter?

As long as the temperature is above 70 degrees during the winter, there is a good chance you will find an alligator come out and sun themselves.  There are a lot of days when this happens, if the temperature is below 70 degrees, this is not likely to happen.  Although there are a lot of great sights to view in the swamp nonetheless.

What should I bring to a swamp tour?

So, now that you are ready for your New Orleans swamp tour, you need to know what essentials to bring! We recommend that to feel prepared, you bring:

  1. Sunscreen – kayaks do not offer any protection from the sun, so it is important that you wear sunscreen. We will be out on the water for at least an hour and a half.  Don’t forget to apply to the tops of your legs, as we use sit-on-top kayaks.
  2. Bug Repellent – while the mosquitoes are not typically a problem on our swamp tours, they can appear during dusk for 1/2 hour, but otherwise, our other tour times they don’t bug us.
  3. Cash – cash is most definitely an essential for your swamp tour. It allows you to tip your tour guides.
  4. Camera – bring your camera or phone camera so that you can capture the beauty of the swamp and its creatures. We sell waterproof cases for your photo if you need or want them.
  5. Comfortable Clothing – wear clothing that is appropriate for the time of year and that is comfortable. Tennis shoes or sandals are recommended for your swamp tour. You may want to bring a light jacket in the cool months and a warmer jacket in the winter, if it is a cooler day.
  6. Questions – Our tour guides love answering questions from guests. If you have a question, they will have an answer.

Are mosquitos a problem?

No! In fact, we only use insect repellent perhaps once a year. The whirligigs, dragonflies and other predaceous insects do a great job of keeping the mosquito population down.  Sometimes during dusk, they can come out for a few minutes, but on our other tours, they are non-existent.

How long are swamp tours?

Most swamp tours are on the water for about 1.5-2 hours.  Our kayak swamp tours run about 2-2.5 hours on the water.  It is about as much as most people would like to be on the water.  If you want to be on the water for a longer time, then consider hiring us with a private swamp tour.

Can you guarantee me an exact return time and location?

We generally return to the New Orleans approximately 3.5-4 hours following the scheduled tour time.  Of course traffic and other factors can come into play.

What if it rains?

Do not watch the forecast!  Gulf weather is notoriously hard to predict and impossible to forecast.  A light rain is usually a cool welcome in the spring and the summer months.  If the weather is potentially a danger to our customers, we will be in touch ahead of time to reschedule.  If we call off a tour due to severe weather/cold and you are not able to reschedule, we do offer a full refund.

What do you wear to a swamp tour?

Dress for the weather and wear light layered breathable, synthetic clothing/swimsuits during the warm months and a warm thermal cover in the winter for your swamp tour. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Sandals or athletic shoes you don’t mind getting wet or dirty.

Is a bayou the same as a swamp?

Bayou is the Choctaw word for river.  This term is properly used in describing a slow-moving, meandering, connective passage between two waterways.  A swamp on the other hand is, by definition, a flooded forest, and has no movement to its water.

What makes New Orleans Kayak Swamp Tours different than other swamp tours?

  • We are an eco tour company that does not feed the wildlife!
  • Our kayaks allow easy entry to shallow and narrow waterways that would be inaccessible to larger motorized vessels.
  • Silence is golden.  Without a large motor disturbing the natural setting, we are able to quietly view the wildlife and landscape as it is naturally without having to bait the waters to generate any excitement.
  • Education.  Our guides have a thorough understanding  and knowledge of the history, geology, zoology and current environmental issues regarding our delta.

Where are you located?

We start our tour from a roadside boat launch along the edge of the Maurepas Wildlife Management Area 30 miles to the west of New Orleans.  We send the exact coordinates and detailed directions with pictures in a confirmation email upon making a booking.

If I drive, when should I arrive?

Please arrive 10-15 minutes before tour.  If you arrive any earlier, there is a chance our trailer and van wont yet be there to use as a visual marker, but we should be arriving shortly.

How much is a swamp tour?

$59/person(Manchac) $69/person(Honey Island) without transportation OR $79/person including our round trip shuttle to and from the French Quarter.  DO NOT RELY ON UBER.

Can I take a uber to your meeting location?

PLEASE do not use Uber.  Our tour leaves from a roadside boat launch with no physical address.  Also, rural Louisiana doesn’t always have the best Uber service.  If you need a ride, USE OUR SHUTTLE SERVICE that you can add during booking.

What is the best time of year to visit the swamps?

Again, there’s no bad time to go. Our favorite times are April, late October and early November. Winter can be a great because the summer grass that is typically six feet tall is now only inches high. This means you’ll see more nutria and deer, and the migratory birds such as waterfowl and the bald eagles. Alligators are tough to find when temps drop below 70 degrees, no matter what time of year, but they can be found throughout the winter on warmer days. Plus, there is so much more to the tour than just seeing alligators, that any time of year is a great time to visit.

Where do you pick us up?

On the corner outside the new Nola Cantina (437 Esplanade Avenue)

Can I get picked up at my hotel?

Private pickups are reserved for private tours and groups of 10+ only.

What is the best swamp tour?

Our most popular kayak trip is the Manchac Wildlife tour.  It provides the most opportunities for viewing wildlife and has some of the best swampy landscape scenes in the country.

What is the best time of day for a swamp tour?

It all depends on what your desire is. .  If you want to see the swamp at the prettiest time of day, we recommend the 9:45 AM tour or the early evening tour. The early morning and evening light has warmer tones than midday. Also, these times don’t have the harsh, full sun or full shade contrast of midday, so it’s much better for photography.

Wintertime and early spring can bring temps from 30 degrees (rare) to 75 degrees, with an average high temp of about 64 degrees, so our winter and spring airboat tours can be quite pleasant indeed. If it’s sunny and the temperatures reach into the high 60’s, alligators will come out on logs to sun.

Can I bring my pet with me?

I would advise against it.

What is the easiest way to book?

ONLINE at https://neworleanskayakswamptours.com/

Are there restrictions?

We do our best to make our tours as inclusive as possible.  As long as you are comfortable trying…so are we.

Weight restrictions?

Our kayaks have a max load of 400 pounds.

Age?

6+   Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult or at least have a liability waiver form sign by a guardian.

Ability?

Our swamp tours our begin friendly.  If you’ve recently experienced pain in or had surgery on shoulders or back it would be advisable to consult a doctor or at least try kayaking before committing to our tour.

How long are we out in the swamps?

2-2.5 hours spent on the water.  Longer tours available with private tour option (call to discuss details)

Can we eat and/or drink in the van and on the boat?

As long as you carry your trash away with you it is fine to bring a light snack on both bus and boats.  We recommend saving your appetite for the city, we have plenty of places to recommend.  Water on the boats IS A MUST.

I have never kayaked before, will I be ok?

We are comfortably beginner friendly as long as you know what you’re signing up for, the swamps are a great first kayaking experience

I am afraid of ______, will I be ok?

Nothing in the swamps is out to harm us.  That said, and out of reverence for our swampy friends, we  urge you to obey our guides directions and keep respectful distances from any wildlife we encounter as to not disrupt their natural movement.  Alligators are nocturnal hunters and mostly reclusive and lazy during the daylight hours.  Nothing to worry about.

Are we allowed to feed the animals?

absolutely NOT.

Who are the eco-guides?

See Eco-Kayak Swamp Tour guides

Should I tip the guide?

Yes, it is appropriate to tip the tour guides. Tips will have to be in the form of cash.  We will not be able to charge a credit card for a tip. If your guide really works hard and you think he gave a great tour, let him know how much you appreciate it!

Are reservations required?

Due to high demand, we strongly recommend reservations. If you arrive without a reservation, we will try to accommodate you to our best ability. To prevent this, it is easy to make reservations online or by phone ahead of time via TXT 504-571-9975

How do we get to the swamp and plantations?

We offer a full day kayak and plantation combo tour that includes all equipment, tickets and transportation.  The only other way to experience both is with a personal vehicle or car rental.

Book your combo tour here!

Are you open during New Orleans special events such as Mardi Gras and will you offer hotel pick up and drop off? What happens if New Orleans parade routes and times change after my reservation is made?

City traffic gets CRAZY during festivals and Mardi Gras.  We like to limit our driving time in the city during these times.  This means being on time for the shuttle and no custom pick-up and drop-offs.  Trust me, it’s easier and more fun to walk through a parade than to drive through one.