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Annually, between the months of November and March, leatherback and loggerhead turtles haul their massive bodies out of the Indian Ocean and up to the base of the dunes, to lay their eggs.

In this most ancient cycle of life, turtles return with almost magical accuracy to the very same beach where they hatched. This is one of the most special and awe-inspiring miracles of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park World Heritage Site – the nesting of endangered turtles on its golden shoreline.  

Green turtle
Green turtle ©Allen Walker

Of the seven species of marine turtles worldwide, iSimangaliso’s protected coastline has five species, and its pristine beaches comprise one of the last significant egg-laying sites in Africa for loggerheads and leatherbacks.

turtle
©Scott Ramsay

With less than 100 laying females coming ashore each year, iSimangaliso’s leatherback turtles, the most southern population in the world, are rarer than black rhino and critically endangered. This means they could go extinct in our lifetime. Having survived aeons and ice ages along with rhinos, and at a time when over 1,000 biological species are going extinct globally every year, their future survival lies with all of us.

turtles
©Scott Ramsay

The most popular photo in our Photographer of the Year competition will see its owner winning a turtling experience for two at iSimangaliso. As the winner of this prize you will have the chance to experience this phenomenal cycle with Ufudu Tours, an iSimangaliso licensed operator based out of the Sodwana Bay section of iSimangaliso – with overnight accommodation at Mseni Lodge tucked away in the dense coastal forest with great ocean views.

turtle

Providing the perfect beach and bush experience, the uMkhuze section of iSimangaliso is a short drive away.  You will have the chance to experience uMkhuze, a significant Ramsar site of international importance with over 400 species of birds and an ancient fig forest. This section is also home to the Big 5 including the lion and wild dog populations of iSimangaliso.

So what are you waiting for? Enter now!

babies
©Scott Ramsay
Africa Geographic Travel
Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year

The Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year Competition is brought to you by Land Rover and Canon, in association with At Close Quarters, Airlink, Klaserie Sands River Camp, Hideaways, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Thule and Rhino Tears. The competition will run from December 2016 to May 2017 and entrants can submit images via the online entry form or via Africa Geographic's Instagram channel. This profile will be used to showcase photographic tips from experts as well as blogs from our sponsors to set you on your way to becoming our Photographer of the Year!