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.
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.
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.
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.
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!