Conservation Safari in South Africa

Behind the Scenes Experience in Wildlife Conservation


Hands On Conservation Safari in South Africa

Behind the Scenes Experience in Wildlife Conservation

11 Days / 10 Nights

 


Introduction

On this Hands-On Conservation Safari in South Africa, you will experience a behind the scenes look at what goes into the challenging work of wildlife conservation and animal management.   This will take place on a magnificent private reserve in the bush of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Our emphasis will be on getting a firsthand view of what it is like to protect and manage some of our most vulnerable and endangered species in Africa such as rhino, elephants, leopard, lion, cheetah, vultures and African painted dogs.

Wildlife ACT and Capture Africa Tours  have teamed up to provide a unique safari that combines both hands-on field experience and opportunities to view and photograph these amazing creatures in the bush.  In addition to the traditional safari game drives, you’ll participate in a rhino dehorning, camera trap set-up and take-down, and endangered species monitoring.  You will learn about telemetry and satellite collars and bush walks out in the field. Included in this unique experience will be an opportunity to collect and review camera trap photos from the field, followed by in-depth insight to the KwaZulu-Natal Leopard Monitoring Project (which forms part of the largest survey in the world conducted in partnership with Ezemvelo KNZ Wildlife and global big cat authority, Panthera).

 

Hands On Conservation

To complement this exciting hands-on experience, participants will also have the ability to meet and learn from experts in the field of conservation and animal management.  Below are some of the daily topics which may include:  

  • An in-depth look into who Wildlife ACT is.
  • Rhino conservation in KZN and South Africa. (Wildlife ACT is a founding member of Project Rhino KZN, which is an association of like-minded organisations facilitating Rhino conservation interventions in the Kwazulu-Natal province)
  • Wild dog conservation and why they are such an iconic predator. 
  • Vulture conservation and why they play a significant role in our ecosystem.
  • An in-depth look into leopard conservation, and why the KwaZulu-Natal Leopard Monitoring Project is so important. 
  • Community conservation, it’s importance, and how it supports local community development and can drive conservation objectives. 
  • The importance of genetic biodiversity and how this plays a role in animal management.

Participants will work and learn alongside Wildlife ACT monitors.  These experts are out in the field daily and have a wealth of knowledge and understanding about the rich biodiversity and landscape we will explore together. 

 

Kosi Bay

The second part of our trip will be spent on catching up on our sleep, since life on the reserves requires early starts and late nights in order to view and experience the full emersion of bush life and animal conservation. These two days will be spent in Kosi Bay, which is part of the iSimangaliso heritage site, where we can sit and enjoy the view. There are lots of things to do here, but mainly the goal is to relax and enjoy the beaches and waterways. During this down time there will be a plethora of add-on activities that you can explore such as canoe trips on the estuaries, bush walks to enjoy the birding, ocean sports such as fishing, snorkeling, scuba, and horseback riding.

 

Tembe Elephant Park

Finally the last leg of our trip will allow us the pleasure of enjoying one of South Africa’s premier sites for viewing elephants. From Kosi Bay we will travel in-land towards the Mozambique border to Tembe Elephant Park, home to some of the largest elephants in South Africa.  Tembe Elephant Park has a unique ecosystem which is rare amongst most reserves; it’s a sand forest which allows for smooth driving and a special opportunity to view both plants and wildlife special to this region, such as the tiniest antelope, the Suni. While at Tembe, we will enjoy morning and afternoon game drives.  This is a perfect opportunity to catch those special photos of elephants. Besides being home to some of the grandest elephants, Tembe is also home to lions, painted dogs, leopards and a host of other wildlife.   


Meet Your Hosts

Wildlife ACT

Wildlife ACT is a South Africa-based NGO that was established in 2008 with a vision to save Africa’s iconic and endangered species from extinction, thereby enabling broad-scale biodiversity conservation. Through strategic partnerships and sustainable funding models, their mission is to:

  • Implement professional and strategic monitoring and research to enable and inform effective conservation management of wildlife;
  • Identify and develop programmes within surrounding communities to support wildlife conservation;
  • Secure existing protected areas and support range expansion of African wildlife.

Participants in Wildlife ACT’s Conservation Safaris will have the privilege of joining active and passionate conservationists in carrying out vital work which forms part of the conservation strategy of our organisation. Through this participation, Wildlife ACT will further be able to deliver tangible conservation outcomes to the following programmes:

  • KwaZulu-Natal Leopard Survey – Involvement in the camera trap work, which aligns with the long term Leopard Survey of the province
  • Rhino Conservation Program – Wildlife ACT and Project Rhino’s efforts to reduce incentives for poachers to enter and poach in protected areas
  • Endangered Species Monitoring – providing crucial information on movement, population dynamics and threats which enables protected area management to make informed decisions on crucial conservation actions

To learn more about Wildlife ACT please visit them on their website: https://wildlifeact.com/

 

Deborah High, LMFT Trauma Therapist & African Wildlife Volunteer

Deborah High maintains a full-time practice in Portland, Oregon. She specializes in various types of abuse and PTSD, vicarious trauma, grief and loss. She has been assisting people in exploring their inner landscapes and purpose in life for the past 23 years.

Besides being a trauma therapist in her daily life, Deborah also works as a conservationist several months out of the year in Africa, volunteering her time with various organizations such as Wildlife ACT to protect endangered species from poaching and human conflict and encroachment disagreements. Her passion for Africa and her varied experiences with endangered species has informed how she practices and supports people in her therapeutic work. She has always dreamed of leading healing journeys in Africa. 

Deborah believes being in nature is one facet of deep connection with oneself. “I believe it allows a lifeline to feeling both engaged with and protective of the world’s fragile ecosystem, thus allowing us to connect deeply with ourselves while creating positive changes in the world and within our own being.” To learn more about Deborah visit www.healingjourneytherapeuticservices.com

 

Dick Berry, Owner Capture Africa Tours / Wildlife Photographer

It was my grandfather’s dream to one day visit Africa and he never made it. So I made the trip for him. And now my love of photography is only surpassed by my love of Africa! 

Since my first trip in 2005, after years of only dreaming about it, I knew I needed a way to build Africa adventures into my life. With more than 25 years as a professional photographer shooting for corporate clients, I wanted a change. I decided to combine my experience and love of photography with my passion for Africa’s wildlife and cultures. I made it my mission to give the gift of Africa to as many people as possible and started Capture Africa Tours. 

To me, every day on safari is exciting and a new experience. You never know what will appear before you. There is nothing better than getting up before sunrise and sipping my first cup of coffee as I anticipate the next game drive! 

I now choose to connect with like-minded people who make Africa travel part of life and business.  Our teams support each tour to share their passions in tracking, guiding, and animal behavior.   While building friendships with fellow travelers I promise to inspire, educate and promote conservation on every trip.


Summarized Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa

On arrival day, your Capture Africa Tours host will greet you at the airport and help you transfer to the hotel. The tour will not begin until the next morning. That evening, join your travel host and meet the other members of your tour at a local restaurant nearby.  This is an optional activity and everyone is free to explore Johannesburg on their own if they prefer.

1 Night, City Lodge Hotel –  No meals included (Optional hosted group dinner for those who are interested in dining together)


Day 2

The Sights and Sounds of Johannesburg, South Africa

Today we explore the wonderful culture and history of Johannesburg, starting with a stop at the tallest building in Africa.   Next, we visit the Mai Mai home of the traditional healers.  This will be followed by a drive to Soweto via the biggest soccer stadium in Africa. While in Soweto we will visit some historical sites including Mandela’s house and have a traditional African meal together.  We will then spend the afternoon at the Apartheid Museum.

1 Night, City Lodge Hotel   Breakfast & Lunch Included (some beverages not included) / Dinner on your own


Day 3

Travel to Manyoni Private Game Reserve – KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

We will depart in the morning for the airport and fly to Richards Bay Airport in KwaZulu-Natal.   On arrival a Wildlife ACT representative will greet us and provide transfer to Manyoni Private Game Reserve. This will be our home away from home for the next 4 nights. Upon arrival you will have the chance to settle in and get comfortable before we enjoy an afternoon conservation game drive. Later that evening, after dinner, we will meet with the Wildlife ACT team to learn about their mission and about the beautiful reserve that is hosting us.

4 Nights, Rhino River Lodge, Manyoni Private Game Reserve – Full Board (some beverages not included)


Day 4

Rhino Dehorning – Manyoni Private Game Reserve

The morning of our first full day on the reserve we will participate in a Rhino Dehorning. After some rest and lunch, we will participate in a tracking and monitoring session focused on rhino. After dinner we’ll have a fireside talk with one of our experts in the field.  They will share their knowledge on Rhino Conservation in KZN and South Africa. 

Overnight, Rhino River Lodge, Manyoni Private Game Reserve – Full Board (some beverages not included)


Day 5

Bush Walk & Camera Trap Experience – Manyoni Private Game Reserve

Following breakfast, our day will begin with an early morning bush walk which is a unique experience.  We will set up/take down camera traps that monitor the animals on the reserve.  In late afternoon we will go on an endangered species monitoring session.  Gain knowledge about telemetry and how it is used to track and monitor priority species.  After dinner you learn how the data from the cameras help support the vital work of the KZN Leopard Survey.  You will have a chance to analyze the camera SD cards we retrieved on our bush walk.

Overnight, Rhino River Lodge, Manyoni Private Game Reserve – Full Board (some beverages not included)


Day 6

Local  Rhino Orphanage & Sundowners in the Bush

After breakfast, we will start with an endangered species monitoring session.   Next, we visit a local rhino orphanage to learn more about what they do there.  After some rest and in the late afternoon, we will take a leisurely game drive followed by sundowners in the bush.  During the drive we may see lions, painted dogs, elephants or cheetah. During our farewell dinner we will be treated to our last fireside discussion about Community Conservation or/Vulture Conservation.

Overnight, Rhino River Lodge, Manyoni Private Game Reserve – Full Board (some beverages not included)


Day 7 – 8

Kosi Bay

Following breakfast on day 7, we will have a morning conservation game drive before our departure for our next destination.  After your good-byes with the Wildlife ACT team, our group will drive to Kosi Bay, a KwaZulu-Natal Nature Reserve in South Africa that forms part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

This area is a World Heritage Site, and lies on the shore of Lake Nhlange in the Kosi Lake system which stretches to the Mozambique border and the Indian Ocean to the East. The reserve is very popular with anglers and offers some of the best fishing and snorkeling experiences on the South African coastline.

For the next two days choose from a variety of activities.  Enjoy a raffia palm forest walk by foot or in a canoe.  Go birding in the water ways with an experienced guide.   Visit the famous fish traps of Kosi Bay.  Learn about turtle tracking, enjoy some snorkeling or fishing at the beach.  

2 Nights, Kosi Forest Lodge – Full Board (some beverages and excursions not included)


Day 9 – 10

Tembe Elephant Park 

On day 9, we will travel in-land to the Mozambique border to spend several days at Tembe Elephant Park, a game reserve in Maputaland, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

The park was developed by Tembe Tribal Authority and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. It was established in 1983 to protect elephants which used to migrate between Maputaland and southern Mozambique. These elephants were traumatized by poaching during the civil war in Mozambique so the park was only opened to the public in 1991. The park is now home to 250 elephants which are amongst the largest in the world. While in Tembe we will enjoy both morning and late afternoon game drives and additional excursions can be arranged. 

On day 10, there will be a group good-bye dinner, as everyone heads home in the morning. 

2 Nights, Tembe Elephant Lodge – Full Board (some beverages not included) WIFI an additional cost (R50)


Day 11

Departure

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Richards Bay Airport for departure. If you would like assistance in extending your stay, that can be arranged as well.


 

 

 

 

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