South Africa – Ecology – Culture – Biology

14 days from £1550 pp

Kwazulu Natal set on the East Coast of South Africa boasts one of the greatest diversities of culture, wildlife, ecology, geology and scenery anywhere in Africa.

From the Unesco World heritage site of the Ukuhlamba Drakensberg Mountains at 9000 feet down to the coastal plains of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park; another UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to a variety of ecostystems both terestrial and marine that supports an unbelievable number of species.

Day 1 - Umhlanga

Arrive King Shaka International Airport (Durban) –  Check in at our comfortable Hotel in Umhlanga and relax after the flight.

Durban is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. With a population of approximately 3.5 million people Durban is the third largest city in South Africa after Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Durban is famous for being one of the busiest port in Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism because of the city’s warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches.

DAY 2 - CROW

After an early brekfast we’re off to CROW (Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife)

Founded over 30 years ago, CROW (Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife) was one of South Africa’s first dedicated wildlife rehabilitation centres. Today, CROW is still Durban’s only registered wildlife rehabilitation centre dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of all indigenous wildlife found in KwaZulu-Natal.

Run by a small, yet highly dedicated and experienced team of staff and volunteers, CROW assists over 3000 orphaned, injured and displaced animals every year. From mongoose, genets and monkeys to birds, reptiles and antelope, CROW represents a second chance at a free, safe and sustainable life for all wild animals in distress.

Orientation talk and we get stuck into the projects. Pending what the needs are at the time we will help the team at CROW with some of their work.

DAY 3 - Full day uShaka Marine World

The largest aquarium in Africa and rated as one of the best marine parks in the world.

Enjoy lectures by marine specialists (customised to curriculum) with a behind the scenes tour of the facilities on site. Learn the importance of chemical balance, disease protocols, and function of filtration systems for the various species on exhibit requiring conditions that replicate their natural habitat. Ending the day with a visit to the dangerous creature’s exhibits, home to some of the world’s most deadly reptiles.

DAY 4 - A morning visit to the Natal Sharks Board

The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board is a global leader in bather protection against shark while minimising environmental impact, thus promoting tourism.

The KwaZulu-Natal coastline is the only coastline with 37 beaches equipped with bather safety gear.

With over 50 years of experience, the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board also conduct research projects into the biology of marine life caught in shark safety gear, and offers a public education programme on safety precautions that must be adhered to by bathers.

We do an audio visual display followed by a Shark dissection.

Now we head north to the wildlife rich area of Zululand – Albizia Environmental Camp situated on the Greater Ukuwela Conservancy.

A 1235 acre piece of land just North of Hluhluwe that is a combination of properties that agreed to drop fences to create a greater conservancy.

We called the land Ukuwela which means ‘to cross over’ in Zulu. Ukuwela is a natural jewel. The wide flowing river, fever tree forests, open grasslands, riverine thickets, and mixed woodlands, make it one of the most beautiful and diverse wilderness areas in the region.

Just like the neighbouring Phinda Private Reserve, it has the potential to support an incredible diversity of plant and animal species big and small including leopard, zebra, wildebeest, hippo, and crocodile.

DAY 5 - Environmental Awareness Program

We start our Environmental Awareness Program. Covering the many facets of conservation and wildlife management of game and game reserves within Africa.

Our day begins with an interpretive walk covering basic bush skills and key species identification.

DAY 6 - Elephant interaction

Ilala Weavers – Zamimpilo Market

A fantastic opportunity to see elephants close up and even get a chance to feed them.  Rambo and his family will greet you as you enter Zululand Rhino Reserve where you can experience their size and gentleness first hand.  We will also visit the local Zamimpilo market where there is the chance to buy your souvenirs and gifts to take back home.

DAY 7 - 8 - Conservation work

Become a field researcher for the day and learn how to accurately capture and record data on species that call ‘Ukuwela’ their home. With the use of transmitters we locate specific individuals to record their behaviour and movement through the bush. Monitor and record a range of reptile, amphibian and invertebrate species found within the pitfall traps.

** Pending budget we could take part in dehorning Rhino, collaring carnivores like Lion, Hyena, Cheetah or take part in game capture and relocation work.

DAY 9 - Kosi Bay

After breakfast we depart for Kosi Bay.

The Northern most part of the UNESO World Heritage site; iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Kosi Bay is a tropical paradise of crystal-clear blue water and marshland, raffia, wild date and palm, mangrove swamp and sycamore fig forest that combine to provide a home for approximately 250 species of bird.

Bushbuck, duiker and Samango monkey inhabit the forested parts whilst hippo and crocodile bask in and around the lakes further inland and fish teem beneath their surfaces.

Humpback whales can be seen off the beaches on their northerly migration to calve in Mozambique. In the December and January months’ loggerhead and leatherback turtles make the beaches their nesting sites.

Afternoon introduction and orientation.

DAY 10 - Rural School

Spend some time at the rural school nearby presenting conservation talks and assisting in the current curriculum, sports events and visit a local homestead with the children after school.

DAY 11 - Kosi Bay

Kosi Bay – Sustainable resource usage, fish traps and coastal ecology.

Enjoy some fun down at the Bay with an educational talk and some free time on the beach to relax.

 

DAY 12 - Hluhluwe – Umfolozi

Full day game drive in Hluhluwe – iMfolozi, KwaZulu-Natal’s largest game reserve.

Set in the heart of Zululand, the oldest game reserve in Africa where Zulu kings such as Dingiswayo and Shaka hunted and put in place the first conservation laws, where today the “Big Five” of African legend stalk the verdant savannah.

Established in 1895, game viewing is the prime attraction. Viewing hides overlook waterholes enabling visitors to see animals at close range. The Park covers some 96 000 ha and contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora. Hluhluwe is characterised by hilly topography, and this Northern section of the park is noted for its wide variety of both bird and animal life.

DAY 13 - boat cruise

St Lucia is situated close to the Southern most point of the UNESO World Heritage site; iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

The Park comprises a number of conservation areas, the oldest of which is the St Lucia Game Reserve, established in 1895.

St Lucia Estuary is the gateway to the Eastern Shores of Lake St Lucia. The region contains the highest vegetated dunes in the world, extensive and diverse wetland systems, as well as coastal grasslands with an associated fauna which includes the Africa’s highest density of common reedbuck. Numerous waterfowl, grassland, forest and sea birds provide an attraction to birdwatchers from around the world.

A two hour boat cruise on the Estuary gives us the opportunity to see Hippos, crocs and the many bird mammal and plant species that make this a World heritage Site.

DAY 14 - Head Home

After breakfast we head to King Shaka International Airport for your departure flight.

INCLUDED

  • Prices start from £1550 per person
  • Accommodation 
  • Meals 
  • Activities as specified
  • Transfers
  • Entrance fees and guides for the duration of the trip starting and finishing at King Shaka International Airport – Durban
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered