I recently took a group of 7 students from Reddam House in Constantia on an AMAZING tour of Northern KZN and Mozambique. We worked with Jenman African Safaris to design a custom wildlife tour that covered both game reserves and unspoilt marine life. An overland 4X4 vehicle picked us up at King Shaka, and took us to Hluhluwe Umfolozi where we stayed in the huts at Hluhluwe. If you ever want to see White Rhino – that is the place to go!
From there we moved off to Josini dam for a dabble at tiger fishing. Conditions in April are a little cool and there are tons of weeds in the lake, so we hooked a few fish, but not much action. The elephant sightings from the boat were incredible – our very own Kariba! From there we took a longish drive to Mabibi, arriving there over an undulating beach sand road only one car wide (Yes we did meet one other car…) to a beach that was like it had emerged unspoilt from about 100 years ago. Snorkelling in the pools there was amazing – lots of variety of fish, although the water clarity was not great because it was a ‘choppy’ day. I would definitely like to try going there again at a warmer time of the year. The water there in the showers was nice and hot but RED! So good for a natural dye 🙂 We had brought drinking water with us, which was essential!
From there we headed north to Mozambique with stories in the back of our mind of having to bribe officials to get through, but it was uneventful, thankfully. The person with the Aussie passport arranged his visa before-hand, which was probably a good thing. South Africans don’t need a visa. Ponta do Ouro is a tourist ‘mecca’ for all the ‘Joburgers’ with motorized ‘toys’, as well as the purists who simply love diving.
The ‘Dolphin Encounter’ was probably the highlight of the whole trip, as most of us had never swam with dolphins before. The water warm, the friendly dolphins and the good weather were all contributions to a recipe of lifelong memories. What’s more is the tour operator had an underwater camera, and footage has been uploaded to the internet to view!
An impromptu quad-biking activity also topped the charts. Mozambique does not have sensible rules like having to wear helmets or even a licence for that matter to drive on the sandy roads. The bars are also pretty interesting… every kilometre… and the good ones were well attended with people sipping lethal R&R (rum and raspberry juice).
From there we headed back to actual tarred roads in South Africa, to St. Lucia and cape Vidal. Sugarloaf camp site at St Lucia is very popular (so book well in advance!), but really well grassed and well kept. I never knew about all the cool things one can do at St Lucia. The game drive at night was awesome – lots of hyena… and so was the trip up the estuary on the boat. At low tide in cape Vidal, snorkelling is great, but the visibility is not very good (Snorkelling at Ponta was the clearest, but the reef is at least 5m deep). I must say here that in 2012 I took a group to Madagascar with Jenman and none of the snorkelling we did came close to Tanikely marine reserve in Nosy Be.
We had a local guide who knew his wildlife and all the destinations well, which was pretty important I would say, since many of the good spots are not signposted…. for good reason. Mabibi was pretty wild and hard to find. Our driver guide was from Zimbabwe and an amazing chef. What an interesting and friendly man – I had an impromptu history lesson from King Shaka all the way to Robert Mugabe. One thing about Jenman, so far, is I have always had excellent, top class guides. Well done Jenman and guides and thank you for an amazing trip.
Jeremy Thompson and Reddam students – Wild Life tour 2014.