South Africa & Mozambique
Megafauna of the Land and Sea
- Learn tracking techniques on game drives in Kruger National Park.
- Monitor marine wildlife with scientists.
- Spot humpbacks, dolphins, turtles, and manta rays on an ocean safari.
- Snorkel with whale sharks and dugongs.
Conservation biologist Andrea Marshall will join the group in Vilanculos, Mozambique.
This expedition was specially crafted to involve students in ongoing conservation efforts with researchers in the field. More »
Itinerary 20 Days
From the wildlife-packed savanna of Kruger National Park to the serene ocean depths of Mozambique’s Bazaruto archipelago, southeastern Africa is endowed with a staggering wealth of megafauna. Explore a host of conservation issues as you work with naturalists in these two very different environments. Follow trackers into the Kruger wilderness, learning to identify species and observing their behavior. Then head to the rich waters along Mozambique’s pristine coast and encounter manta rays, dugongs, whale sharks, and much more with scientists from the Marine Megafauna Foundation.
South Africa and Kruger National Park
7 days. Arrive in Johannesburg, South Africa, and head north to Kruger National Park, one of the largest game reserves in Africa and one of the world’s top wildlife viewing destinations. Stretching along South Africa’s border with Mozambique, Kruger was established as a protected area beginning in 1898 and is home to an incredible range of creatures including the famous “big five”: African elephant, lion, Cape buffalo, rhinoceros, and leopard. From our home base at the South African Wildlife College, venture out into the park with local trackers on daily game drives. Observe an astonishing variety of creatures in their natural habitats—from cheetahs and wild dogs to marabou storks—and study their behavior first hand. Learn to identify animal tracks and scat, and take bush walks to discover the plant life and smaller wildlife of the lowveld. Go on night safaris to watch nocturnal animals in action. Meet with rangers and instructors at the college to discuss what is being done to limit poaching within Kruger National Park and hear about the challenges they face. Listen to the wild sounds of the savanna around a fire during a night of camping in the bush with experienced guides.
Tofo Beach, Mozambique
5 days. Travel east to Mozambique, passing through the cosmopolitan capital of Maputo on our way to Tofo Beach. A stunning miles-long stretch of sand that curves along the Mozambique Channel, Tofo is home to the main research center of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, established by National Geographic Emerging Explorer Andrea Marshall. Our days here will be spent with the foundation’s scientists, learning about the wide spectrum of wildlife here, with a special focus on large marine species. Snorkel or dive a site called Manta Reef with marine researchers, collecting data and monitoring marine life from ethereal manta rays and whale sharks to sea turtles and moray eels. Venture out on an ocean safari, cruising in search of dolphin pods and migrating humpback whales. Gather in the evenings for a barbecue on the beach or a discussion on coastal conservation efforts with marine researchers.
Vilanculos and Bazaruto Archipelago National Park
6 days. Follow the coast to Vilanculos, home to the Marine Megafauna Foundation’s northern partner and the gateway to Bazaruto Archipelago National Park. A swirl of unspoiled islands with soaring dunes and few inhabitants, the archipelago is one of the most serene and spectacular places on Earth. Meet with Andrea Marshall to learn about her megafauna conservation initiatives and her work to protect the dugong, a relative of the manatee whose largest populations in East Africa used to be found here. Learn about threats to the marine ecosystem and help survey dugong and other marine megafauna while snorkeling or diving in the reef-filled waters surrounding the islands. Board a dhow, or traditional sailboat, to explore remote parts of the coast, and relax on some of the most pristine beaches in Africa.
Present your final On Assignment projects to the group before flying home.