2 February 2016 – Rocktail Camp, on South Africa’s north-east KwaZulu-Natal coast, is proud to be part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site and wetland of global importance. Through a number of projects and community partnerships, Rocktail embodies Wilderness Safaris’ commitment to its 4Cs sustainability model of Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce.
“The theme of this year’s World Wetlands Day, “Wetlands for our Future: Sustainable Livelihoods”, resonated deeply with us at Rocktail Camp as all of our operations are underpinned by our 4Cs sustainability model. We invest much time and resources to ensure that future generations will benefit from the natural beauty and biodiversity of this World Heritage Site and are extremely proud to operate in such a special area”, says Patrick Boddam-Whetham, Rocktail MD.
iSimangaliso spans a range of ecological zones with an outstanding diversity of habitats, terrestrial, wetland, coastal and aquatic, supporting a wide variety of animal, bird and plant species. Within the Park are four Ramsar sites – i.e., wetlands of international importance: The St Lucia System, Kosi Bay, Lake Sibaya and the Turtle Beaches and Coral Reefs of Tongaland. Rocktail Camp’s guests regularly visit Lake Sibaya, famed for being the largest freshwater lake in southern Africa, while the pristine beach is just a short walk over one of the area’s 25 000-year-old vegetated dunes.
The coastline on which Rocktail is situated achieved its status as a wetland of international importance (1986) because it is a principal nesting and breeding ground for the loggerhead and leatherback turtles, both listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN. Rocktail has contributed logistically and financially – through the Wilderness Wildlife Trust – towards the monitoring and protection of both species since the late 1990s. This takes place during “turtle season,” from mid-October to March each year, when both species come ashore at night along Rocktail’s 30 km stretch of beach to lay their eggs.
Rocktail also offers one of the most exclusive diving experiences to be had on the protected reefs of the Maputaland Marine Reserve just offshore with its incredible diversity of marine species.
“With less than 1% of the world’s ocean formally protected, the part we play at Rocktail in the Maputaland Marine Reserve is vital to the continuing conservation of our precious sea life. At the same time, we believe that the future of conservation in Africa depends on the participation of the communities living next to these wild areas. The twin benefits to the community of tourism ventures and employment create a true appreciation for the value of the land, the oceans and their wildlife,” says Boddam-Whetham.
Protected coral reefs at Rocktail and aerial views of the Rocktail coastline and iSimangaliso Wetland Park.