Around the world, many countries are doing their bit to support the beautiful and endangered turtle. The following nations offer the visitor a rare glimpse at conservation efforts first-hand, where the protection of these wonderful creatures is of the utmost importance.
Nothing beats the experience and emotion of watching turtles lay their eggs on the beach, or quietly witnessing the little ones paddling out to sea.
At Audley we offer a range of destinations where you can experience this wonderful spectacle first-hand. Below are just a few of our favourites, where viewing in undertaken is a responsible way and by visiting them you are directly contributing to their conservation.
*Itinerary prices correct as of July 2010.
Turtle Conservation in French Polynesia
The Turtle Sanctuary at Le Méridien Bora Bora, an effort to help save the magnificent hawksbill turtle, is the only one of its kind in French Polynesia. The hotel offers educational presentations to teach guests about these beautiful creatures, and guests can swim with the turtles in the picturesque lagoon or even “adopt” a turtle and help in the quest to return these animals to their natural wild habitat.
A 14-day, tailor-made tour of French Polynesia, staying in simple pension and 3 star resort accommodation costs from £3,160 per person.
The Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) was set up in Sri Lanka in 1993 and their work aims to preserve and support sea turtles through educational research and community participation. As with many conservation projects, the TCP welcomes volunteers who can help them achieve their vision of making Sri Lankan seas a heavenly habitat for turtles.
A 14-day, tailor-made tour of Sri Lanka, staying in 3 star accommodation, costs from £2,210 per person.
A few miles off the northeast coast of Zanzibar Island lies Mnemba Island. Here, green turtles nest at the top of the beach. Each time a turtle nests, the Mnemba Lodge staff mark the spot with a 'due date'. Then, at the due date a close eye is kept on the nests and guests can watch the young turtles hatching and making their way to the sea.
An 11-day, tailor-made tour of Tanzania and Zanzibar, visiting the Selous Game Reserve plus Zanzibar Island and staying in medium-range accommodation, costs from £2,495 per person.
Out of the seven species of turtle in the world, five reside in the waters off Kenya. The Lamu Marine Conservation Trust seeks to protect these turtles by treating the sick or injured and spreading awareness amongst tourists and local communities which will, in turn, help to reduce the number of turtle products on the black market. This trust is supported by Carol and Lars Korschen of Peponi Hotel in Lamu, a property that you can stay at on a trip with Audley.
A 14-day, tailor-made tour of Kenya, with time on safari and relaxing on the beach, staying in the best value accommodation, costs from £3,595 per person.
On Vamizi Island in Mozambique over 100 turtles nest each year. With four, full-time rangers and one marine biologist on hand, the turtles, all of which are listed as either endangered or critically-endangered, have their nests protected and hatchlings nurtured as part of a conservation effort. Vamizi Island can be visited on a tailor-made trip with Audley.
A 10-day, tailor-made trip to Mozambique costs from £3,095 per person.
Every summer along the northeast coastline of South Africa, hundreds of leatherback and loggerhead turtles emerge from the Indian Ocean to lay their eggs. In 1963 a conservation project was set up to help protect these eggs and this effort is still running today. During laying season nightly partrols are taken by staff to monitor the turtles and data is also collected to help understand the breeding patterns of these animals.
A 16-day, tailor-made tour of South Africa, staying in mid range accommodation costs from £3,060 per person.
Situated close to the better known island of Sipadan; Mataking Island is an island split in two by a sand bar and is home to nesting green and hawksbill turtles. Due to threats to the turtle’s nests posed by an array of predators, their eggs are put in a turtle hatchery. Once hatched, visitors can assist the conservation project as they release the newly born turtles into the sea.
An 11-day, tailor-made tour of Borneo, staying in standard accommodation and with some private guiding costs from £1,830 per person.
As well as being a fantastic place to stay, Lemuria Resort in the Seychelles employs a full time ‘turtle manager’ to record turtle nesting activity, monitor the dynamics of sand movement, manage beach front vegetation and generally ensure that guest activities at the Lemuria Resort are carried out in a turtle friendly manner.
A 13-day, tailor-made tour of the Seychelles, including two islands in mid-range beach properties, costs from £2,430 per person.
The TAMAR project protects around 50 kilometres of coastline around Praia do Forte, located on the northeast coast of Brazil. This work helps to maintain a healthy breeding ground for more than 550 nesting turtles and those visiting between September and March can see hawksbill, green, olive ridley and loggerhead turtle hatchlings.
A 14-day, tailor-made tour of Brazil, exploring the main highlights costs from £2,665 per person.
The 19,000 hectare Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica was created in 1970 in response to the endangered status of the green turtle. Between March and mid-October the 35 kilometres of protected beach are the nesting ground for hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback and green turtles. Visitors are accompanied by a guide during the twilight hours to witness the hatchlings in a responsible manner.
A 14-day, tailor-made tour of Costa Rica staying in mid-range accommodation, costs from £1,960 per person.
For a more hands on conservation project, assist the Aboriginal Rangers and Wildlife turtle population in the Cape York area, namely ghost nets left by irresponsible fishermen, and feral pigs who feast on the turtle’s nests. In addition, research in also carried out on the size, location and success of the nesting turtles. The work is carried out in the morning and late evening, allowing guests to relax and enjoy the stunning surroundings in the middle of the day.
A 13-day, tailor-made itinerary of Australia, staying in three star accommodation costs from £2,220 per person.