Each year, during the southern hemisphere summer, between November and January, enormous leatherback and loggerhead turtles emerge from the Indian Ocean at Sodwana Bay to lay their precious eggs in the sun-warmed sand, as they have done for hundreds of millions of years. Set out on a thrilling night-time adventure along a stretch of 16 kilometres of tranquil beach, set to the background of the harmonic sounds of foamy waves rushing in to shore. With only the beam of your flashlight, the cold light of the moon flitting between wispy clouds and the distant flash of the lighthouse to guide you, search for these gentle animals as they ride the waves to shore to dig their nests at one of Africa’s last key nesting sites.
Dig your bare feet into the cool, velvet sand and hold your breath as you wait for a ritual as old as time to once again take place. Watch in wonder as two of the ocean’s largest turtles – the walnut-hued leatherback ringing in at 700 kilograms and the white-bellied loggerhead touching 160 kilograms – breach the quiet shore, leaving behind a deep trail in the soft sand. Marvel at the silent concentration of the mother as she squats above a deep hole in the sand, laying scores of smooth, oval eggs, which she carefully covers with warm, loose sand before disappearing back into the inky waves.