Rocktail Beach Camp
Rocktail Beach Camp lies in the lush, tropical shade of the Maputaland Coastal Forest with the Maputaland Marine Reserve just offshore. This reserve provides sanctuary for marine life with extraordinary diving and snorkelling encounters with huge shoals of fish, dolphins and whales - just right for world-class diving and snorkelling, remote, unspoilt beaches and other beach adventures.
Rocktail Beach Camp is set back in and shaded by the sanctuary of the lush Maputaland Coastal Forest covering the ancient dunes that make up the edge of South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal coast. With the Maputaland Marine Reserve just offshore and the beach a brisk 20-minute walk from the camp, there are world-class diving and snorkelling, remote, unspoilt beaches and other beach adventures to be had.
The camp consists of 17 rooms all of which with en-suite bathrooms, open-feel indoor shower and overhead fans. Seven of these are family units with a shared bathroom and two bedrooms for two adults and two children. A honeymoon unit has wonderful views over the ocean and dune forest.
Rocktail Beach Camp also has a central dining room, bar and lounge with large wrap-around veranda. A raised viewing deck just off the veranda has wide views that extend out to the ocean. The camp's main area has a wine cellar, large pool, curio shop and children's playroom, complete with board games and other fun activities for families.
From a scuba diving perspective, Rocktail Bay is unique. Not only is the diving conducted within a Reserve and World Heritage Site along unspoiled reefs, but divers have the luxury of knowing that they alone have access to these sites and are the only underwater visitors along this stretch of the coastline.
Fauna and Flora
This is not a traditional 'big game' area, but the camp is situated within a pristine coastal forest reserve which is interspersed with rolling grasslands and waterberry/palm savannah. This lush area abounds with a variety of animals, birds and plant life that provide a natural counterpoint to the bushveld. Common reedbuck frequent the marshes and grasslands and the red duiker lives in the forest areas. Hippo are sometimes found in freshwater lakes, while whales and dolphins are often seen offshore. Birding is outstanding, with a number of special coastal forest species - Green Twinspot, Green Malkoha, Grey Waxbill, Purple-crested and Livingstone's Turacos, Red-capped Robin-chat and the jewel-like African Emerald Cuckoo in the forests, and Rosy-throated Longclaw in the open grasslands.
The reef systems here are amongst the most pristine in the world, boasting healthy soft and hard corals. Large numbers of the butterflyfish and triggerfish families are seen on every dive, interspersed with clown triggerfish, moorish idol, bannerfish, coachman, pencilled, powder-blue and bluebanded surgeonfish, firegoby and scissortail. At one site we are lucky enough to have regular sightings of the rockmover wrasse, while various eels, such as honeycomb morays, and black-cheek, are commonly seen. Marbled electric rays, blue-spotted and round ribbontail rays are common representatives of this family while the occasional manta and spotted eagle ray have also been sighted.
Sharks are sighted at intervals, including great hammerheads, tiger sharks, blacktip reef sharks and the enormous whale shark. Large numbers of pregnant spotted ragged-tooth sharks (also known as grey nurse sharks) appear in the area from late November until March and Rocktail Bay Lodge assists the Natal Sharks Board in monitoring and understanding what drives the arrival of this species in the area. The site most often frequented by these sharks is only in 10m of water and as such can be enjoyed by both divers and snorkellers.
The advent of winter heralds the arrival of whales in the seas off Rocktail. Both humpback and southern right whales are recorded, with humpbacks the more commonly seen species. Finally, green and loggerhead turtles are regularly seen, while leatherback and hawksbill turtles are occasionally encountered. October to March has loggerhead and leatherback turtles come ashore at night to lay their eggs.
Rocktail Beach Camp has built off the excellent partnerships forged between Rocktail Bay Lodge and the local community and continued these to the benefit of all.
Rocktail Bay Lodge was one of the first joint ventures in South Africa between community, a conservation authority and ecotourism. The model, involving Wilderness Safaris, the surrounding Mqobela and Mpukane communities and the iSimangaliso (former Greater St. Lucia) Wetland Park Authority, has evolved since then, to the point where Rocktail Bay became a partner site in the Pro Poor Tourism in Southern Africa Programme.
More than 2% of the community in the immediate settlements (comprising approximately 1 500 people) are permanently employed at the Lodge and, through a programme called Business Linkages in Tourism, community-based enterprise is being supported to provide a range of additional products and services.
The long-term success of this innovative project is dependent upon continued relationship-building between the three parties. A new structure is currently being introduced to enable the communities to participate more effectively in this three-way arrangement extending to resource management of the coastal region and in developing a new range of products.
Wilderness Safaris adheres to the increasingly accepted view that the growing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are driving the global warming phenomenon. It is clear that everyone has a responsibility to respond to this challenge. We see our own role as threefold:
- We contribute to the economic viability of existing carbon sinks and remaining wilderness areas of southern Africa and by doing so ensure the sustainability of their conservation. As a result we ensure that the capacity of the planet to reabsorb carbon in the areas we operate is not reduced and that the photosynthetic processes that occur in these wilderness areas are not interrupted.
- We strive to reduce our own energy use and have set targets for reduction over the next five years. We achieve this through greater efficiencies, through constant measurement and through alternative energy sources, such as solar, that are renewable and environmentally friendly.
- We provide a learning platform for our guests and staff that increases awareness of the global warming phenomenon and provides guidelines for how individuals can contribute to its solutions through actions in their own lives and businesses.
Activities included for all guests:
- Beach and forest walks
- Surf/rock fishing (no equipment provided)
- Swimming (at own risk as there are no life guards)
Activities included in the DBB/Activity Rate:
- Snorkelling at Lala Nek
- Trips to Lake Sibaya
- Guided trail (beach and forest)
- Activities at additional cost to all guests
- Scuba diving (Must bring dive cards and/or log books. No card - no dive)
- PADI scuba diving courses (A range of courses offered from beginners to more advanced)
- Excursions to Black Rock (60-foot fossilised sand dune with spectacular views)
- Sangoma (traditional herbalist) cultural visits
- Zulu dancing
The Full Board (incl. activities) rate for 2011 is : ZAR 2070.00 per person sharing. ZAR 560.00 single supplement.
The Dinner, Bed and breakfast rate for 2011 is : ZAR 1400.00 per person sharing. ZAR 560.00 single supplement.
- All accommodation on a shared basis;
- Meals as specified;
- Excursions and transfers as included in the quote;
- Most safari camps and lodges include two game activities a day in their tariff (one in the morning and the other in the afternoon). A private vehicle and guide can be booked, at an additional cost, for extra activities (or special interest activities). Please advise if you would like additional information on this service;
- Services of the lodge guides and staff;
- Relevant park fees as specified in quote;
- Drinks as specified – drink inclusions may differ between camps/lodges;
- Laundry can be done at most camps/lodges and hotels. In some cases this is included in the tariff quoted.
- Air transfers as specified;
- Accommodation taxes, the applicable Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax (VAT) or Government Sales Tax (GST).
- Meals not specified in the quote such as lunch and dinner in city hotels;
- Drinks, entrance fees, porterage, tours/excursions and transfers not specified in the quote;
- Any scheduled flights and related taxes;
- Cancellation, baggage and medical insurance;
- Staff gratuities;
- Any new Government taxes, levies, fuel or industry increases which are beyond our control;
- Visa fees where relevant. If a visa payment is required, then this must be made in US Dollars cash. Change is often not provided and so the exact amounts payable are required. Traveller's cheques and credit cards are not accepted for this purpose.
- International airport departure taxes applicable from manned airports only, which is to be paid in US$ cash on departure unless included in your ticket cost;
- Zambian International airport departure tax of US$25 per person & Zimbabwean International departure tax of US$35 per person and US$8 Domestic departure tax per person in Zambia and US$10 domestic departure tax per person in Zimbabwe (applicable at manned airports only), to be paid in US$ cash on departure;
- Any items of a personal nature.
- Services are subject to availability at the time of booking confirmation.
- All relevant booking conditions of UnrealDive Expeditions and/or any other booked services will apply to your travel arrangements.
- You must please take out, prior to confirming the booking, comprehensive travel, medical, cancellation, curtailment and default insurance for the duration of your trip. Due to the remote areas through which you may travel, it is vital that all guests are covered for emergencies and other unforeseen circumstances. We will not be held responsible for guest travelling without insurance.
- The relevant cancellation policy applies should you fail to join or start your safari/journey for any reason, including airline delays or missed connections. Please ensure you have adequate travel insurance for this purpose. You become liable for cancellation penalties immediately on confirmation of booking services.
- The above itinerary includes camps/lodges that are situated in Malaria areas. Please consult your doctor or pharmacist, and establish what precautions will be required for this fever.
- Passports must be valid (usually for at least 6 months after date of travel) and still have at least 3 blank visa (not endorsement) pages.
- All visa requirements must be fulfilled and these are your responsibility. If you have any queries about obtaining visas please contact us.
- Due to the logistics of travelling on a safari to remote areas, we strongly recommend that you read all the literature that will be forwarded to you and if you have any queries to please contact us.