Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Hardeeville

The Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is a 29,175 acre National Wildlife Refuge located in Chatham and Effingham counties in Georgia and Jasper County in South Carolina. Of the total area, 14163acre is in Georgia and 15011acre is in South Carolina. The refuge was established to provide a nature and forest preserve for aesthetic and conservation purposes.The refuge is one of seven refuges administered by the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex in Savannah, Georgia. The complex has a combined staff of 31 with a fiscal year 2005 budget of $3,582,000.HistoryThe first European visitors to the Savannah, Georgia area arrived in 1526. James Oglethorpe established the city of Savannah in 1733. By the mid-eighteenth century, rice planters were farming much of the land that is now part of the refuge. The old rice levees, which were built by hand, form the basis for current impoundment dikes. Remnants of the original rice field trunk water control structures and narrow dikes are still visible in some places. Within the impoundment system there are 36 historic and prehistoric archeological sites which have been located and inventoried. On April 6, 1927, Executive Order No. 4626 established the Savannah River Bird Refuge and set aside 2352acre as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds. On November 12, 1931, Executive Order No. 5748 added 207acre to the refuge and renamed the area the Savannah River Wildlife Refuge. An additional 6527acre were assigned to the refuge on June 17, 1936, by Executive Order No. 7391. On July 25, 1940, Presidential Proclamation 2416 renamed the refuge the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.
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Savannah National Wildlife Refuge Reviews
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  • The visitor center here is a nature lovers paradise appealing to children and adults. The video is educational as are all of the displays. A 4 mile ride through the preserve will display various wildl...  more »
  • A cosy place to run around on. Many alligators turned out even though it was quite chilly. You had to go out of the car and walk in the area. When we run a bit, we meet on a nice American who tend to stay in the area. He advises us that there is a Bobcat female with two Cubs in the area, but that they move around mostly at dawn and dusk. Nevertheless, we must view on both the female and her two cubs when they ran out on a field next to the road. It was a great note.
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  • It was really nice we saw one small gator and we saw a lot of nice trees and it was worth going through the cold it was really nice and everyone will like it.  more »
  • We really enjoyed the 4 mile wildlife drive at Savannah National Wildlife Refuge! The grounds were lovely, but we didn't get to walk any of the trails because we had a dog. We saw 2 alligators sunning in the water, and so many birds! It's absolutely worth stopping here if you're in the area. We also liked the flexibility of the drive because it can be as quick or a slow as you'd like, and you can tune into a radio station for an audio tour along the way. The gift shop is cute, and the visitor center has restrooms and water fountains.
  • We enjoyed the wildlife drive very much. We saw lots of birds. No alligators since they are most likely hibernating now. But even though it was cold we had a great time driving through the awesome nature. I would love to come back in spring.
  • The wildlife refuge is one of the best in the area. The alligators and waterfowl are exhilarating. Some old slave plantation house and cemetery are visible. Part of old Fife plantation. Free to drive/ walk through. Nice nature trail but a few miles long. Pack accordingly for a hike.
  • Had a great time!!! The 4 mile drive actually took us 2 hours. We would stop and get out as others were as well. Took pics and saw many gators. Then went to visitor center and everyone was so friendly and knowledgeable!! Will come back many more times!!
  • We love spending the afternoon taking a ride through "alligator alley" as my family calls it. It's so peaceful and relaxing. If you go in May/June you will be lucky enough to see the Swallow Tail Kites feeding on dragonflies. We have even seen bobcats prowling the marshy swamps. Go slow and bring your camera! Watch out for snakes on the paths and enjoy the parts of the drive where you go under the mossy oak branches!

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