trip to South Africa

Subject: trip to South Africa
From: Niels Poul Dreyer <>
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 14:10:36 +1100 (EST)
Hi Ausibirders

I went to South Africa with a Danish group of birdwatchers arranged through
Rockjumper Tours by Jonathan and Sherran Rossouw. It was a great trip to a
much lower price than charged by for example Birdquest or any American tour
company. I decided to join a trip because I felt that the security in SA has
become more serious recently. Many residents there complained about crime
and J`burg stock exchange must move out, because traders refuse to go to
work! We read in the local newspaper that two farmers were killed near the
area we visited near Pietemarizburg. Maybe things will settle down soon I hope.

However the landscape, towns looks much like Australian infrastructure
(except near townships) and I suppose if staying away from major population
centres it would be safe to do it cheaply on your own. In Namibia it is very
easy to do a trip, hire a car and bring a tent. There are great campgrounds
in the National Parks. In Etoshia the wildlife comes to you. It is the most
arid of the parks and waterholes are maintained for the game. We saw 26
black Rinos, a very good record as so few remains in africa. Etoshia NP is
the strong hold for this endangered species. Unfortunally the 22000 km2 park
is fenced off so mammals do not migrate to the rivers to the north. This is
bad news for the Red-necked Falcon which needs Hyphaene petersiana palms
brought in by elephant doug when they were feeding on those palms near
Okavango river long ago. Lions are killed in the private hunting reserves
adjacent to the park as people lay bait out and the lions dig under the
fense. Nevertheless we saw 3 lions drinking. 

The top birds seen on the trip were the 49 Birds of Prey (my favourite group
after seabirds). Two species of banded snake eagle, red-necked falcon, all
sparrowhawks, great looks of the major  eagles. We nearly go larked out on
the trip (21 species but some are striking and beatiful birds). The
long-billed lark will be split into 3 species. There is a lot of taxanomy
going on in African larks. 

In Okavango we got great views of Pel's Fishing Owl (3-4 seen). at Shakawe
Fishing Lodge. However the delta is under threat as newcommers from Angola
starts to settle in the Caprivi strip and want to take water out for
irrigation. Foreign Aid has also assisted in the depletion of fish stocks in
the area. Consequently, Shakawe Fishing Lodge will be renamed to Shakawe
Bird Lodge. However we managed to see the Wattled Crane, Sitatunga, Red
Lechwe and Roan antilopes in the area. However the Slaty egret and Little
Jacana proved to be more elusive than desirable! The Jacana migrate to
Okovango later November so we did not have any chance for that anyway. As a
compensation we got a good view of the Sharp-tailed Starling and Dickensons
Kestrel on the way to Rundu - the starling's call is more destinctly
different than the bird. 

In South Africa we managed to spot Spotted Flufftail and Hottontots
Bottonquail on Hottontots Hollands Mt and Buff spotted Flufftail in Benvie
Private Farm (A great spot not to be missed and the only good place to se
Cape Parrot). At Waggastrom a female Red-chest Flufftail appeared in the
morning in a swamp. The way to see striped flufftail is to listen to its
call after sunset and then make a circle around it before slowly approaching
to the centre until everybody can see it running in the thick grassy heath
vegetation with a flashlight. It looks like a rufous, black mouse running on
long legs.

  We got all the endemics in Dragenberg and great birds such as 2 species of
Twinspots to the east in Mkutze and St Lucia areas. Mkuze also produced
African Broadbill and Narina Trogon. Unfortunally I missed the leopard
there, but got great view of Forest Copra instead (missed by the rest). We
did very well with the snakes and saw Horned Adda and Puff Adda plus many more. 

I will write a bird (600 + seen and a mammal report in WBPlus, but cannot
save it as a text file with comments. Consequently, it can only be mailed to
folks interested via the Australian Post system when the raport is finished.

Regards from Niels Dreyer

Niels Poul Dreyer
5/13 George Street
Pialba, Qld 4655

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • trip to South Africa, Niels Poul Dreyer <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU