After our time at Tembe we had planned to visit St. Lucia for a couple of days on the way home. However we had a call from my sister to say they were in Kosi Bay and why don’t we visit instead.
We took the opportunity and as there was no room in the Kosi Mouth TEBA cottage we camped instead at the Kosi Bay and Coastal Forest Reserve. Our campsite was in a very shady spot right at the lake’s edge.
Giant and Pied Kingfishers were constantly going back and forth over the water from one clump of bush to another. Three African Pied Wagtails also entertained us flying about chasing each other at speed over the water and through the camp. But probably the highlight was seeing a couple of Green-backed Herons flying around us.
At night we were serenaded by an African Wood-Owl as well as the hippos.
Most of the Saturday was spent at the cottage right at the mouth of Kosi Bay catching up with family. Here, we were fortunate to see a Palmnut Vulture flying across the bay and a Lionfish in a pool nearby.
Sunday we spend the early morning birding on the trails at the camp then my sister and husband came round to visit us. They were very impressed with the large well sheltered campsites and proximity to the lake.
In the short time we spent birding we identified 32 different bird species. Click here to view the list.
Celebrating our anniversary we decided to splash out and stay three nights at Tembe Lodge.
The lodge is run by the local community and more friendly and helpful staff would be very hard to find elsewhere in Africa.
The stay includes 2 game drives a day, early breakfast, big breakfast, lunch and dinner. The accommodation was a spotless safari tent well furnished with its own ablutions including an outdoor shower. It is well private from other residents and surrounded by African bush.
The day we arrived we went on a game drive and had a number of close encounters with “friendly” elephants. The evening was exceptionally cold and we were happy to get back to camp.
After that experience we decided to give the game drives a miss until the weather warmed up a bit. And that was not such a bad idea as there was little the others on our vehicle actually saw on their other drives. However they did have one encounter with a not so “friendly” elephant. Loads of posturing, blowing its trumpet and shaking up the dust. Back off, forward again and eventually the elephant had had enough. It ripped the tracker seat right off the vehicle as if it were swatting a fly. Our birding was a lot more tranquil!!
Our time was spend travelling round the park in our own vehicle – stopping where we wanted to and spending time with bird parties – the game drives were more focused on the big 5.
During the time we were there we identified 82 species – which was a lot more than we expected. Among them were: Rudd’s Apalis, Woodward’s Batis, African Broadbill, Gorgeous, Grey-headed and Orange-breasted Bushshrikes, Brown Snake Eagle, Crowned Eagle, Southern Banded Snake-Eagle, African Harrier-Hawk, Fiery-necked Nightjar, Spotted and Verreaux’s Eagle-Owl to name a few. Many were identified by their call. Click here to view our list.
Leaving Umlalazi we headed for Mkuze to camp for 4 nights. Having booked ahead we arrived at the campsite to find a very agreeable chap looking after the campsite. However the first thing he told us was that there was no water except in the Jojo tanks. The pump had broken down and so had their water tanker and the one they borrowed from Sodwana!!
Not feeling very happy about this we went to the office to get them to provide us with alternate accommodation. Everything was full and the best they could offer us was a 50% refund – I wonder if we will ever get it!!
Anyway we made the most of it and stayed in the campsite. Jojo water to washup and flush the loo. Showers in the rest hut communal ablutions.
Game viewing was hindered by the long grass from the rains they had had. We saw none of the big game in the four days we were there – just the usual GWIZ brigade – Giraffe, Wildebeest, Impala and Zebra – plus Warthog and Nyala. All the roads were in good condition and the new hides were a pleasure despite the cold and biting wind.
Birding was good for the time of year and we managed to identify 132 different species – click here to see the list. Some of the specials seen included: African Pygmy Geese, White-backed Ducks, Green Malkoha, Striped Kingfishers, African Cuckoo Hawks, Pink-throated Twinspots.
Sally and I were on our way up the Zululand coast to do some birding when we decided to stop at Umlalazi for a night with friends who were already there.
The campsite was not crowded. The ablutions clean and working. The sites nice and level with power and water. And it was cheap R144 for the site for the two of us.
Nothing much was done in the way of birding but we had a few nice birds to photograph. We did try to find the Mangrove Kingfisher in the mangroves but only saw a Half-collared Kingfisher instead. No African Finfoots either.