Twin Falls, Karkloof, KZN

25th June 2020

Sally’s physiotherapist suggested that we visit Twin Falls to do some birding which has indigenous forest – a farm a few kilometres past Karkloof Conservancy near Howick, KZN.

As the name implies one wanders through indigenous forest following a stream up to two separate waterfalls. It is a South African Natural Heritage site No.68 and apparently is popular with birders.

Sally made the arrangements for our visit with Victor Shaw – Tel: 082 685 8106. On arrival at the farm we were met by Tracy who directed us to the start of the walk. The cost is R50 per person. Tracy opened up one of the cottages and told us that it had tea and coffee inside if we would like some at the end of our walk. There are 2 self-catering cottages on the property.

Tracy also offered us the chance to take a guide which we accepted – so Watson came along with us. He knew the way well but was not interested in the birds prefering to sniff his way ahead of us.

Watson

We crossed the “bridge” and followed the path alongside the stream. Fairly soon we were in the forest and were faced with several opportunities to cross the stream to follow the path. It would have been a good idea to bring a walking stick to steady ourselves as we ventured over shaky rocks to cross the streams.

As we crossed the stream for the first time we took the right hand path up to the first falls. The path had a few challenges but nothing too serious despite having to re-cross the stream several times.

Sally

It took us about an hour to reach the falls – mainly because we stopped frequently to search for birds. They were very quiet. We had left the bottom at 09h00 and when we reached the falls the sun was still behind the cliff face. It was only as we started back down that the sun came over and the birds started to chirp.

Our first Waterfall
Videoed Sideways but you can see it was flowing well.

We had not gone far when we met our first bird party. Cape White-eyes, Green-backed Camaropteras, Cape Batis, Collared Sunbird, Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler, Terrestrial Brownbuls, Dark-backed Weavers, Forest Canary, African Dusky Flycatcher, Greater Double-collared Sunbirds and a Bush Blackcap further down the path (enjoyed by Sally – unfortunately my eyes were elsewhere).

Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler

The path up to the second Falls was much the same and produced many of the same species.

On the way out we enjoyed Fork-tailed Drongos, Sombre Greenbuls, Bar-throated Apalis, Cape Batis, Dark-capped Bulbul, Bar-throated Apalis, Southern Black Tit, Amethyst Sunbird, Southern Fiscal, African Stonechat and a special sighting of several Blue-mantled Crested-Flycatchers.

Bar-throated Apalis

Altogether Sally atlassed 21 different species. It may not seem a lot but in the summer we believe that there will be many more birds and some special forest birds too.

Talking to Tracy afterwards – when we took Winston home – she mentioned that it was possible to drive up to the top following a definite 4×4 track starting behind the cottages.

As we were driving out we were treated to a pair of African Black Ducks.

Paul and Sally Bartho

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