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South Africa & Mozambique Trip Report, November 2014

South Africa & Mozambique Trip Report, November 2014
In November 2014 we headed to Africa for our annual South Africa & Mozambique group trips! During the trips we visited Gansbaai where we encountered colonies of Jackass Penguins, African Rock Hyrax (a relative of the Elephant!), Southern Right Whales and on our cage diving trips Great White Sharks and huge colonies of African Fur Seals at Dyer Island! From Gansbaai we next flew to Durban where our base for the next few days was the nearby coastal town of Umkomaas. From Umkomaas we had unrivalled access to dive Aliwal Shoal and it was hear we encountered the marvellous Ragged Tooth Sharks, a host of Ray species (Blue Spotted Stingrays, Round Ribbontail Rays, Diamond Rays, Marbled Electric Ray and a school of Mobula Rays), Whitetip Reef Sharks, Moray Eels, Natal Wrasse, Natal Seacatfish (looks a bit like a shark!), huge Potato Cod, Turtles, lots of Boxfish, schooling fish such as Germans, Mackerel, Fusiliers and Snapper, and plenty of curious Oceanic Blacktip Sharks! From the surface at Aliwal we spotted a baby Hammerhead, breaching Humpback Whales and pods of playful Dolphins!

After a few days diving on Aliwal Shoal we next headed to Ponta do Ouro a small town just across the Mozambique border. From Ponta do Ouro we would be able to dive at Pinnacles a blue water dive home to a range of shark species. At Pinnacles we encountered large Bull Sharks and curious Scalloped Hammerheads on most of our dives along with the occasional Eagle Ray, Potato Cod and Oceanic Blacktip Shark but it was on our very final dive that we were rewarded with what has to be the most beautiful of all sharks – the Tiger Shark! The Tiger Shark made the total shark species encountered on our trip a lucky seven! From the surface we also encountered Humpback Whales in Ponta do Ouro.

With our diving finished it was time for a land-safari and for this we headed back into South Africa to our overnight accommodation in St. Lucia. In St. Lucia we saw signs warning to be alert for wandering Hippos and to our surprise this was no joke – right outside our resort that evening were two large Hippos grazing away! The next morning we rose early to head to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. Before we even entered the park our guide informed us that Lions had been seen on the entry road so off we headed and there they were, a large pride of Lions lazing under some trees! Moments later as we headed back to enter the park we had to stop as a huge heard of Elephants crossed the road – only in Africa! So what did we see at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve? Here’s our complete list kindly compiled by one of our guests – lots of white Rhinos, Elephants, Lions, Impala, Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, Dung Beatles, Warthogs, Kudu Antelope, Buffalo, Nyala Antelope, Grey Duiker and a huge variety of birds including White Back Vultures!

We would like to thank everyone involved in South Africa & Mozambique for all the work they put into ensuring we encountered as much wildlife as possible both above and below the water – we will return to Africa next year for more amazing African adventures!