The 13th Herpetological Association of Africa Conference 23rd – 27th January 2017

Bonamanzi Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa Click here to register



The 13th biennial Conference of the Herpetological Association of Africa will be held at Bonamanzi Game Reserve, northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa from 23 - 27 January 2017. Bonamanzi is a 4000ha reserve, adjacent to iSimangaliso Wetland Park (Lake St Lucia) on the subtropical Maputaland coastal plain. It is easily reached on main roads from King Shaka Airport, Durban (< 3 hrs) or from OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg (~6 hrs).


Don Broadley

This conference will be dedicated to the late Don Broadley (1932 – 2016), who played a leading role in the establishment of the Herpetological Association of Africa, and who contributed extensively to the body of knowledge and scientific literature on African herpetofauna.



The Venue

Bonamanzi is a 4000ha private game reserve. The reserve supports beautiful landscapes with a diversity of habitats, including dense woodland, grassland, wetlands and riverine habitats. Attendees will be free to drive or walk throughout the property. Bonamanzi falls within an area of high biodiversity richness. Large game is common and includes several antelope species, African Elephant, White Rhinoceros, African Buffalo, Leopard, Hippopotamus, Giraffe and Warthog. The property has a birdlist of over 400 species, including localised specials such as Pink-throated Twinspot, Southern Banded Snake Eagle, African Broadbill and Lemon-breasted Canary. Falling within the Maputaland coastal plain, Bonamanzi Reserve hosts high species richness of both amphibians and reptiles, with over 100 species of herpetofauna found within the region, providing for some good herping opportunities during the conference.



Bonamanzi has a number of conference facilities (with wifi), as well as a restaurant and bar, swimming pool and a variety of accommodation options (see Accommodation below).




Conference Programme
The broad programme for the conference is as follows:



Important Dates



Conference Rates



Attendees may choose to present one of the following presentations:

Full oral presentation, a speed presentation, or a poster.

Full oral presentations are only for presenting the results of research (with hypotheses and data) for 15 minutes with 3 minutes for questions. 


Speed oral presentations are for any presentations where the presenter has no/limited data. These could be a student proposals (Honours, MSc, PhD or other), opinions, comments or unfinished studies. These talks will be 5 minutes with 2 minute for questions or comments. 

Posters will be displayed in a dedicated poster session. 


Guest Speakers

We will have a number of top level guest speakers giving keynote presentations.


Student Awards

Each category of presentation will be judged by a panel of experts for student awards presented at the AGM. Remember to indicate that you are a registered student when submitting your abstract.  


Herpetophilia Auction

The herpetophilia auction will be held on 25th January evening. Proceeds will benefit the society.

If you have items to donate to the auction, special requests or need any further information, contact Bill Branch:


Photo Competition

Images should be printed to A4 (no bigger) and will be adhered to display boards with double sided tape (removal at your own risk). You can enter more than once, but please don't overdo it. 

The winning image will be chosen by a panel, and will be printed on the cover of African Herp News. To enter, simply bring your printed photo and a small information card (ca. 1cm x 3cm) with your name and a few words about the photo which you can stick up with the photo.


If you wish for your photo to ALSO stand for auction, contact Bill Branch (


Contact Persons


Registration: Buyi Makhubo -

General enquiries: James Harvey -




A range of accommodation options for all budgets are conveniently available on Bonamanzi. Prices range from ZAR400-R1400ppn for hutted accommodation, depending on the option chosen, and ZAR200ppn for camping.

Accommodation options include:

Tree Houses - 2-sleeper and 4-sleeper tree houses, all air-conditioned and complete with en-suite bathrooms, fully equipped kitchen, barbeque area and verandas.

Chalets – a variety of chalets with en-suite or shared bathrooms are available. Contact Bonamanzi for further details on the options available.

Camping - spacious sites that offer well-maintained ablutions, hot and cold running water and 220V power supply points. Each campsite caters for a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 6 people. The communal sites offer shared cleaning and braai areas for guests.

To book accommodation, please contact Bonamanzi directly. Please indicate that you are attending the HAA Conference when contacting them.


Phone: +27 (0) 83 634 0895 or +27 (0) 72 027 3452



Alternative accommodation

The immediate surrounding area offers several further accommodation options. We can recommend the following

Malala Lodge

Offers self catering or fullboard accommodation with chalets within forest edge. 3 km from Bonamanzi.

Bushbaby Lodge

Offers budget chalet and camping accommodation, with self-catering or fullboard options. 1.5km from Bonamanzi.


Several other accommodation options exist – for more options, see



Bonamanzi is in north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal Province, eastern South Africa. It is 235km north of Durban.

Bonamanzi entrance co-ordinates: 28°04'21.59"S, 32°16'58.77"E



From Durban

  1. From Durban, take the N2 highway north past Stanger, Richards Bay, Empangeni, Mtubatuba and Charters Creek.

  2. Approximately 20 km after Charters Creek take the Bushlands off-ramp and turn right at the top, across the highway.

  3. After approximately 1,5 km (onto a dirt road) you will reach a junction where you will turn left.

  4. After approximately 4 km you will see the entrance to Bonamanzi on the right hand side.

Approximate travelling time from Durban is 2.5 to 3 hours.


From Johannesburg

  1. From Johannesburg take the N17 east past Bethal to Ermelo.

  2. At Ermelo take the N2 south past Piet Retief, Pongola, Mkuze and Hluhluwe.

  3. 10 km past the Hluhluwe off-ramp you will take the Bushlands off-ramp and turn left at the top. After approximately 1,5 km (onto a dirt road) you will reach a junction where you will turn left.

  4. After approximately 4 km you will see the entrance to Bonamanzi on the right hand side.

Approximate travelling time from Johannesburg is 6 to 7 hours.


Other Attractions

Bonamanzi sits within a broader area that has a wide range of other exciting biodiversity-related attractions. Other attractions and activities in the surrounding area include:


Additional Information

Meals and shopping

Attendees will receive lunch and tea / coffee on all days, and attend two dinners. Outside of this, attendees may choose to eat meals at the Bonamanzi restaurant or self- cater.

The small town of Hluhluwe is 6km from Bonamanzi, and provides supermarkets, fuel stations, banks and other facilities.

Car hire

Care hire is easily done through all main car hire companies at King Shaka International Airport, Durban and OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, for those flying in for the conference. Bonamanzi is easily reached in a sedan vehicle.



The conference falls within summer at Bonamanzi, and weather can be expected to be warm – hot (typically 24-32oC during the day) and fairly humid, with occasional rain showers.


Health and Medical

There are doctors and a pharmacy nearby, in Hluhluwe town. A world-class hospital is available in Richards Bay, 1 hour away.

Malaria – Bonamanzi falls within a low-risk Malaria zone; no recent cases are known. You can safely visit with out using prophylaxis, but feel free to discuss with a travel doctor if you want.

Non-malarial mosquitoes can sometimes be a very minor irritation at night, and ticks may be picked up while walking in the bush, which can occasionally result in tickbite fever (this is very quickly and easily treated however). Bring insect repellent if you are concerned about either.


Organising Committee