One of the most special coastal experiences available in Southern Africa is to be able to witness the turtles in the summer months. Both as they come inshore to lay their eggs and then later in summer when those eggs hatch. And the baby turtles make a life and death rush for the safety of the ocean before the encircling predators can kill them.
So the place to be to witness the incredible experiences is the northern coast of KwaZulu Natal or Southern Mozambique…
The ‘season’ for turtle tracking begins in November and continues through the summer to February. The turtles come on the beaches to lay their eggs in November-December time. And then the little turtles start hatching in late January-February. Turtle-tracking is a nocturnal activity and the timing of the excursion depends on the tides. So on some evenings it might be just after dark in the early evening. On other nights it could be as late as the early hours of the morning – it just depends on how your dates coincide with the tides.
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So how do the different lodges offer this unique experience. The lodges differ quite a bit in their approach to turtle tracking. So if turtle tracking is a big attraction for you, take note…
Thonga and Rocktail Beach Camp, both in northern KwaZulu Natal, have the two South African permits. The permits allow them to conduct turtle tracking drives along the beach by 4×4 vehicle. This is a huge plus because it means that you can travel further in search of the turtles. They are only allowed out for a specific period of time. So there is a chance that you may not be successful… But generally the turtles are spotted, sometimes only 15 mins into the excursion and sometimes much later.
However because it involves a vehicle and it takes a considerable time, the turtle tracking experience is at an extra cost. In contrast White Pearl Resorts in Southern Mozambique conducts turtle tracking walks from the lodge. (On a complimentary basis in season). However given that you can only cover a fairly small area on foot, your chances of seeing the turtles are much less.
So if you are really keen on turtle tracking, then I would opt for Thonga Beach Lodge. Whereas if you would like the option to perhaps see a turtle but only if the tides are right and you are lucky, then White Pearl offers a good compromise.
Contact us for a tailor-made safari experience that includes Turtle Tracking.