Monday, 12 November 2007 03:09

Extreme Nature Tours

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  Extreme Nature Tours We pride ourselves on our diverse range of products and have designed all our tours to be incredibly flexible as we realize that every individual has their own needs and interests. Therefore, if there is something you would like to do that is not listed, or if you require any alterations/additions, simply let us know. From swimming with wild dolphins to walking with the Big 5, from bird watching to rockpooling, Extreme Nature Tours promise to take you there.


{tab=Swim With Dolphins}

For this truly unique and memorable tour we drive the short distance, +- 3 hours, into Southern Mozambique, heading for Ponta Do Ouro, the 'Point of Gold'. This does mean that passports are required for this tour but visas are not a prerequisite and can be bought at the Kosi Bay Border Post.

Once we have arrived in Ponta Do Ouro we head for the Dolphin Encounters Beach Camp. Here guests will be given a briefing about the company, their research, the dolphins and how to interact with them. Guests will then be fitted with all necessary snorkelling equipment before making their way along the beach to where a 7 metre dive boat will be waiting to launch, setting off in search of the dolphins (+-2 hours). Sightings are not guaranteed as the dolphins are wild; however, the company enjoys a 70%-80% success rate. During the summer months they have the occasional whale shark sighting too where guests are able to get quite close with these gentle giants!

Guests will be debriefed on return to shore and then be free to enjoy the resort for the remainder of the day. Ponta Do Ouro has a beautiful protected bay, perfect for swimming, snorkelling, fishing or simply sunbathing. There are plenty of restaurants here, some of them right on the beach, where guests can sit and enjoy a Mozambican meal while watching the waves lap gently against the sand.

WHAT TO BRING: Passports, underwater cameras, suncream, bathing suits, towels, beach things and a sense of adventure! The Rand is commonly accepted in Ponta Do Ouro so there is no need to change your currency.

This can be run as a day tour where we will be back at your accommodation in St. Lucia around 8pm, but it can also easily be made into an overnight tour. We can arrange accommmodaion to suit all budgets and desires. From a luxurious chalet in the dune forest to falling asleep to the sound of the ocean in your own beach hut, let Extreme Nature Tours organise it for you.

{tab=Turtle Sanctuary Walks}

Experience the annual natural wonder of nesting turtles as you walk along an endless beach under a twinkling African night sky.

The Turtle Tour Walk is part of a community project and the community in this area are among the most pro active local communities regarding conservation. The area is also known to have the highest population of nesting turtles along the South African coastline, which makes our chances of sightings more of a guarantee than a chance, and, during the main part of the season, we offer 50% money back if no turtles are seen.

TURTLE WALK (Nov-March)

Join us on a trip into the north eastern corner of the Wetlands Park, the most north eastern part of South Africa. Our destination is the MAPUTALAND TURTLE SANCTUARY, an area renowned for its outstanding population of both Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles which use these beaches to nest on once a year.

The drive lasts around +- 3 hours, and takes us through various Zulu Villages and an area known as the Palm Belt, due to its famous population of Wild Date and iLala Palms. The latter is used by the Zulu Women for most of their weaving work, in particualr baskets and mats.

The last 45 minutes of the drive is along a sandy 4x4 only route, leading us towards the coast and the Turtle Sanctuary. Incredibly, one of the predominant plant species in this area is the ancient Cycad. This is a prehistoric plant family providing us with an insight into the prehistoric era as this plant, in its present shape and form, would have been fed upon by large, herbivorous dinosaurs! The plant is also known as the Brood Boom in Afrikaans, meaning Bread Tree. This is because the early settlers would have dried it out and used it to make flour for their baking. However, it is now a highly protected species wherever it occurs.

On arrival at the beach we will be met by the local turtle guide who will give us a brief introduction before we head out on the 2 1/2 hours (+-) walk northwards, up the beach. As we walk we will be searching for any recent turtle tracks. This may sound like quite a challenge given the darkness, but these marine turtles range from +- 150kg to +- 900kg and the marks they leave in the sand are similar to marks left by tractors!

Once we have found tracks the guide will follow them to see what stage in the nesting process the turtle is at. If she is in the egg laying process it is possible to get quite close to her to view this natural marvel and guests are able to take photos at this stage. We then wait and watch as she covers the nest up and returns safely back to the ocean. Light pollution is virtually non existent in this area and the star filled African sky shines down upon us as we walk along the beach, thus, star gazing is also possible during these tours and you will be able to identify the Southern Cross and, during certain months, various planets. Our only interruption on the tour is the sound of waves gently breaking on the shore.

WHAT TO BRING: Comfortable shoes to walk along the beach in, camera, a light waterproof jacket, a warm jersey, a small rucksack/day pack and a sense of adventure!

For more information about this product and suggested combinations please contact one of our friendly team members who will only be too happy to assist you.    

{tab=World Heritage Site Tours}

WETLANDS PARK TOUR

A trip to the Wetlands Park is an opportunity to see and experience one of the greatest varieties of natural wonders in one area in the world. The Wetlands Park marine wildlife includes migrating Humpbacked whales (in season), marine turtles, large numbers of bottlenose dolphins who frequent the area year round, and a myriad of other marine organisms which are to be found along the rocky and sandy shores.

The terrestrial part of the park is home to vast areas of savannah and forest which house numerous animal species, large and small. This variety includes the Black and White Rhino, Buffalo, Leopard, Kudu, Elephant, Bushbabies, countless bird species and a vast array of other mammals and reptiles.

Lake St. Lucia, the largest salt water system in the world, is home to +- 800 hippo and +- 2000 crocodiles and will be one of our stops along the way. This provides us with a chance to search for some of the waterbirds feeding along the lake shore. The African Fish Eagle and the huge Goliath Heron are common sightings while Flamingos and Pelicans are occasionally sighted by those lucky birders.

Our day will include a game drive through the Wetlands Park with a number of walking trails en route for those who wish. One trail is up to a whale viewing platform at Cape Vidal. If conditions allow then snorkelling will be one of the highlights for the day. This area is suited to both the beginner and experienced snorkeller, allowing everyone the chance to enjoy the underwater paradise at Cape Vidal.

WHAT TO BRING: A light waterproof jacket, suncream, a hat, cameras, bathing suits and towels for those wishing to snorkel. Our guides always have a set of binoculars with them but if you have your own we recommend that you bring them.

For more information simply contact one of our friendly team.


{tab=Big 5 Walks and Safaris}

BIG 5 DRIVES

No visit to Africa would be complete without going on a 'Big 5' safari. For our Big 5 tours guests are taken in the Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Game Reserve, a stunning park rich in wildlife and scenery, in fact it was voted one of Africa's most scenic parks. We leave St. Lucia early in the morning to arrive at the reserve as the sun rises, because animals are more active during the cooler hours. However, guests who would prefer a later start can join an afternoon drive instead.

A trip in the Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Park gives us a unique opportunity to look back in time to what life would have been like on this continent 100 years ago. It is a place where time stands still, the world around us forgotten.

The Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Park is home to all of the Big 5, cheetah, wild dog and hyena, with various game species a common feature. A vast range of birds also frequent this area like the Lappetface Vulture, bizarrely elegant Secretary birds, the tiny Pygmy Kingfishers and colourful Bee Eaters. There is something for everyone and your day promises to be a truly unique and informative one.

Your guide for the day has 10 years experience in the bush and has spent many years learning the habits of game, both from vehicles and on foot, offering you the best possible chance of seeing as many species as possible and learning as much you can.

These tours are offered as both half day and full day trips with all meals included. There is also the option of having your safari in a traditional African open game drive vehicle or in a closed safari 4x4, with air conditoning, for your comfort.

WHAT TO BRING: Camera, sun cream and hat. Our guides always have a set of binoculars with them but if you have your own we recommend that you bring them.

For information on our Big 5 Drives or other products that can be combined with a Game Drive please click on one of the links at the top of the page. Alternatively contact one of our team members for further assistance.


{tab=Snorkelling Adventures}

Complete your experience of the St. Lucia Wetlands Park with an underwater safari

SNORKELLING SAFARIS

The Indian Ocean is one of the five major ecosystems of the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park. Its warm turquoise waters are home to a host of marine organisms. Observe colourful reef fish darting around rock structures while keeping your eyes peeled for rays, octopus, sea slugs and turtles.

The tranquil beauty of the underwater world is indescribable and to truly experience all that this World Heritage Site has to offer, one should take some time out to enjoy its truly unique underwater wonders.

We offer snorkelling to various prime destinations, all within the Wetlands Park. Cape Vidal is the nearest snorkelling reef to St. Lucia and is perfect for beginner snorkellers and children as well as the more experienced snorkeller. The world famous Sodwana Bay is a popular option, boasting a stunning sandy beach, protected reefs and, rated as one of the five best coral reef diving spots in the world, it promises outstanding snorkelling. Bhanga Nek, another of our destinations, is part of the pristine Kosi Bay area and is situated in the heart of Maputaland Turtle Sanctuary. Turtles are a common sighting on snorkelling trips, with rays, fire fish and octopus as regular features.

Our snorkelling trip to Cape Vidal is encorporated with a game drive, as our journey to get there takes us meandering through the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park. En route we stop and take a gentle walk up to the Mount Tabor view point where guests will be treated to outstanding views of the St. Lucia Lake and Estuary on one side and the Indian Ocean on the other. We also take guests up to the Whale Watching tower at Cape Vidal, although this is mostly during the Whale season (June-Nov), it is optional out of season for guests who may be lucky enough to spot dolphins.

It is possible to combine a snorkelling trip to SODWANA BAY with an early morning, or late afternoon safari through the Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Game Reserve. We can also visit the stunning Lake Sibaya, a pristine inland lake that is very unique because it used to be linked to the ocean. This has meant that the fish in the lake have adapted to the 'new' freshwater conditions!

We can also arrange SCUBA DIVING at Sodwana Bay for any guests who wish to take the plunge!

The BHANGA NEK snorkelling excursion can be extended to include a turtle night walk to see nesting, or hatching turtles, in season. Some time spent in Tembe Elephant Reserve can also easily be arranged, should guests wish.

WHAT TO BRING: Bathing suits, towels, sun cream, beach bag, underwater camera and a warm top. All snorkelling equipment provided. Please contact one of our friendly team for more information and possible combinations.


{tab=Contact Details}

We are a young, dynamic and experienced company who are always on hand to assist with anything you may need. For further information on any of the products you have seen, for a tailormade itinerary, for quotations or just a simple question about the area please do not hesitate to contact one of our team who will only be too happy to assist you.

Our phonelines are available 24 hours a day so just pick up the phone and call. E-Mails are checked regularly every day and we repsond rapidly to any email enquiries.

Peter Koen: (+27) 076 4855 366 Charl Koen: (+27) 082 257 5612 Laura Koen: (+27) 073 065 7812

Office: (+27) 035 590 1624 E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

P.O. BOX 87, St. Lucia Estuary, KZN, 3936

{tab=About Us}

EXTREME NATURE TOURS

At Extreme Nature Tours we know that a great tour guide can make the difference between an enjoyable holiday and an exceptional one. We believe that this is particularly true when you are on a specialist holiday, where you are in a brand new environment.

On our tours you will profit from the services of expert naturalists, who not only have in depth knowledge of the area, but the ability to communicate in a fun and engaging way.

Our guides are passionate about the natural world and this, combined with their understanding of flora and fauna, is guaranteed to truly enhance your holiday. Their eagerness to pass on their knowledge, and teach others about the wonders of the natural world shines through wherever they may be leading a tour. Our guides are also keen photographers and all photos on this site have been taken by them.

Extreme Nature Tours is a family run business, based in St. Lucia, in the Isimangaliso Wetlands Park, formerly the Greater St. Lucia Wetlands Park, South Africa's first world heritage site!

Tours will be guided by either Peter or Charl Koen, both local guides who have resided in the area for 10 years. Please see below for individual guide credentials and photos.

PETER KOEN

Currently completing 3rd year National Diploma in Conservation

FGASA & THETA Qualified

12 Months Black Rhino Monitoring for WWF in Wetlands Park

7 years previous guiding experience

Fluent in English & Afrikaans, with Zulu as a 3rd language

2003 Life Guarding Qualification incl. First Aid Training

Qualified Deep Sea Skipper

CHARL KOEN

BTEC Degree in Nature Conservation

FGASA & THETA Qualified

Practical year of studies spent as a ranger in Wetlands Park and Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Park

10 years previous guiding experience

Fluent in English, Afrikaans & Zulu

First Aid Certification

Qualified Deep Sea Skipper and Spearfisherman

2IC St. Lucia Crocodile Centre for 2 years

Nationwide guiding experience

{tab=Photo Gallery}

 

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