THE AFRICAN LAND/SEA EXPEDITION

This is truly the adventure of a lifetime!  We'll mix the excitement of canoe-safaris, river rafting, walking safari's and incredible diving in one expedition, covering the most awesome sights and experiences the southern African Continent can offer while learning about this magnificent ecosystem. We begin by flying via Atlanta to Johannesburg.  From there, we'll fly to Durban, South Africa to meet up with Andy Cobb, our guide. Andy has been diving Africa's east coast for over 30 years and has taught thousands of divers from all over the world.  Besides instructing SCUBA and Shark Biology, Andy is a certified field guide.  With Andy at the wheel of his specially equipped, open roof Land Rover, we'll experience some of Zululand's finest game viewing, diving  and cultural history. Andy is one of South Africa's most outspoken marine conservationists. His experience ranges from the historic battles between the Zulu and the European Settlers, to the mating behavior of  the incredible wildlife of Africa.  But his true love is the Africa below the waves, and his knowledge of the Indian Ocean's marine life and habitat will amaze you. You may not forget the sounds of the African bush at night, or the thrill of seeing a giraffe towering over your head, but you won't forget the good humor and extensive knowledge of Andy Cobb.

After a visit to the world famous Natal Shark's Board, we'll drive to a comfortable game camp overlooking the Hlulhuwe River in the center of the Umfolozi/Hluhluwe game reserve. The Umfolozi game preserve is famous as having the largest population of black rhino in the world and is one of the largest in South Africa.

Cradled between the Ubombo Mountains in the West and the azure sweep in the Indian Ocean to the east, Umfolozi is located in Zululand, One of Africa's most ecology diverse regions with an extraordinary range of ecosystems and wildlife.  Also the home of the Zulu people, it is and area rich in history and culture.

The world's largest vegetated sand dunes overlook pristine beaches, which  have been the breeding ground for giant leatherback and loggerhead turtles for millions of years, alongside reefs which rival the biodiversity of the great Barrier Reef in Australia. Here, we'll learn how different habitats contribute to the diversity of wildlife. Freshwater lakes, rivers and floodplanes are the domain of prehistoric crocodiles and hippos, pelicans and flamingo -- while the dense bushveld is the home of endangered rhino, as well as Africa's great land predators.

After a night game ride and open campfire, we'll fall asleep to the sound of elephant trumpets, lion roars and jackal's bark as we lay in our well appointed cabins in the bush far from civilization. Gamehikes , during the day, not only offer the opportunity to track wild animals but also to learn  to determine species, size, age and behavior from the trail.  While Andy introduces us to the magic of the "bush," the camp's chef will cook fresh meals featuring local game.  This Mintulu bush camp is as comfortable as most bed and breakfast.

After 2 days of watching rhinos, giraffes, warthogs, elephants, lions and other wild animals, we depart through the heart of Zululand for Mozambique. As we leave the rough, but well built roads of South Africa at the boarder, the road turns to a mere sand track drivable only by four wheeled vehicles.  Towns and access to both is by dirt road, recommended for 4X4's only. The civil war that ravages the country for17 years has proved to be of great advantage to snorklers and divers. Acting as a deterrent the tourism for so many years, it served to protect the reefs and the exploitation and plunder that so many reefs around the world have suffered for so many years. The pristine reefs extend all the way north from here to Maputo. Mozambique's reefs and beaches remain as they were hundreds of years ago. We'll dive the pristine reefs at Punta Malongone and Punto del Ouro, photograph lion fish, huge cod, and an incredible variety of tropicals. Staying in a resort that, for a while, was used as a guerrilla training camp, we launch from the beach and dive alongside whale sharks, mantas and literally thousand of species of corals, fish, and invertebrates. At night, loggerhead turtles lay eggs along the deserted, unspoiled beach. We can almost guarantee friends have never visited such a remote, pristine and beautiful seaside resort.  It's not unheard of to see bull sharks, white sharks, marlin and even sailfish on a dive. For those that don't dive, the snorkeling, hiking and beaches are beautiful.

After our adventure in Mozambique, we'll drive back into South Africa and visit Sodwana Bay National Park. Sodwana Bay is within the St. Lucia wetland Park and is famous for it's sport fishing, diving and snorkeling.  Staying in the cozy cabins of the Mseni lodge, we'll dive the extensive reef system in the warm waters of the Agullas current and hike an almost prehistoric looking trail.  These waters abound with a stunning variety of sea life.  From whale sharks to nudibranchs, this is a photographers dream. After sampling Africa's east coast diving, we'll see a Zulu village and learn about the rich and fascinating Zulu culture. From there we'll return to Durban to visit the old spice market and to depart for Victoria Falls.

From Durban, we will fly to Jo-burg and connect to our 2 hr. flight north to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls is one of the world's largest and most breathtaking falls.Long considered one of the "wonders of the world," they plunge over 400 feet along a chasm more than a mile long. This immense volume of falling water creates a plume of mist a thousand feet into the air and gives rise to the local name "Mosi Oa Tunya" (smoke the thunders).

First we'll do a 2 day Zambezi River canoe safari above the falls. Floating along the Zambezi over rapids and past hippo's, crocs, and remote villages, you'll come to appreciate why Zambezi National Park is so important as a cultural and wildlife preserve. We'll camp along the river banks in comfortable tents. (Since it's fall in Africa, the days are warm and the nights are cool.) Cooks accompany the team and provide wonderfully cooked meals. This is how early British explorers camped, with someone to make camp and serve the wine as the sun sets over the river.  They even construct a private hot water shower in the camp. First, we'll walk into the bush to learn about local plants, wildlife and customs on a guided walking safari. After visiting the falls and canoeing the Zambezi River, we'll spend a day white water rafting the  spectacular Zambezi River gorge just below the falls.  The Zambezi is one of the mightiest rivers in the world and from a raft, you can really feel the immense power of these raging fresh water source.  This is world class river rafting.

One night we'll eat at the "Boma" or "place of eating" where we'll sample  wildebeast, kudu, lamb, warthhog (my favorite) and even mopani worms (in a delightful garlic sauce).  We'll watch Matabele tribal dances and experience the real essence of Africa.

From the beauty and majesty of Victoria Falls, we head back south to cooler weather and one of the most inspiring sights a diver can witness.  Eye to eye with the Great White Sharks.

After returning again to Johannesburg, we fly 2 hours south to the tip of  the African Continent and Capetown. We'll spend several days learning about the rich history of this area. At the tip of Africa. For two days we'll stay in Gansbaii and dive in cages with up to 16 foot Great White Sharks. We'll learn about their behavior and habitat, and hopefully even get to touch their sleek, powerful bodies. Even if you don't want to get in the water, just viewing these magnificent beasts from the boat is awe inspiring.

After a visit to the Agullas Shipwreck museum, where we'll learn about the history of the treacherous coastline, you can walk to the tip of the African Continent where the Indian
and Atlantic Oceans meet.  We'll visit the Two Oceans Aquarium in Capetown to learn about the exotic sealife of the area.  A hike up Table Mountain or to the Cape of Good Hope and a day of sightseeing will round out our look at Capetown, one of the oldest seaports in the world.

We return to Johannesburg and visit "Sun City" one of the largest shopping malls in the world and home to some great values. From there we return to Atlanta with memories to last a lifetime.

Cost: $6,890.00 (air from Atlanta to Johanesburg and return not included)
  
Dates: TBA

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