Best time to travel to South Africa

Turtle Nesting

If you've never seen a turtle that weights 400 kg, you should visit South Africa

Turtle Nesting in South Africa - Best Time
Photo by

Jeroen Looyé

Giant sea turtles, particularly the Leatherback and Loggerhead, love warm South African beaches so much that they cross an entire ocean to lay eggs there. The reptiles choose to nest at precisely the same beach they hatched themselves. Just so that you realize the scale of such a wildlife encounter—a Leatherback turtle is the largest of all sea turtles and the second largest reptile after a crocodile.

Safaris take place at night when huge reptiles leave the sea to find a safe place on the beach to lay their precious eggs. Baby turtles normally hatch in two months, but only a few of the hatchlings will survive, about one or two in a thousand, to be precise.

Loggerhead turtles in Mabibi
Loggerhead turtles in Mabibi

Turtle tracking season in South Africa is from November to March, a time when you'll find dozens of tours on offer. Most of them operate in the St Lucia Wetland Park located in KwaZulu Natal. Great turtle spotting areas are found in Mabibi, Cape Vidal, Manzengwenya, Sodwana Bay, and Kosi Bay. The season may vary slightly depending on location.

Turtle Nesting Map & Location