Zululand – Lesser Noddy

Sugarloaf Campsite, St. Lucia

25th to 28th March 2023

Isimangaliso Wetland Park

On impulse, Sally and I decided to go to Cape Vidal to see the visiting Lesser Noddy. It had been present there for quite some time so we thought that we would take a chance. The speculation was that the Lesser Noddy – presumably from around The Seychelles – had been blown off course by Freddie – our unfriendly cyclone.

We headed to Sugarloaf campsite in St. Lucia for 3 nights – our Afrispoor Cheetah in tow.

We arrived late-afternoon and set up camp. Considering we had only made the decision to go at 09h00 that morning, this was not bad going as we had not even collected our Cheetah nor considered packing.

The next morning, we were up and on our way to Cape Vidal as soon as the Isimangaliso gate (Eastern Shores) opened. We arrived there at Cape Vidal about 06h20. We purposefully planned to get there early to coincide with all the reported sightings of the Lesser Noddy being reported around 06h00.

It was odd driving through the Park pre-dawn. And there was water everywhere. At one point there was water across the road with two Red-billed Teals enjoying an early morning dip.

Water, Water everywhere right up to and across the road in places.

Typical watery landscapes:

On arrival at Cape Vidal, there was only one other person present looking for the Lesser Noddy – Anton Kruger of “Firefinch” App fame. The tide was in, so no part of the reef was above water. After patiently waiting and scanning the beach, we believed that we should return later when the tide was out and the reef exposed. Anton told us that he had arrived the afternoon before and seen the Noddy but that it had flown off south soon after he had seen it. Our hopes subsided.

So off we went for a drive round the rest of the Park. We headed for the Grassland Loop to the south of Lake Bhangazi. And Lake Bhangazi was so full that it came right up to the causeway – something we had never seen before. Usually it was 50 to 100 metres distant.

Lake Bhangazi

And looking to the south (the other side of the causeway) – more water right up to your feet too.

The south side of the causeway – yes water.

The wind had a negative effect on bird and animal sightings. However, we did see several buffalo in the distance as we travelled the Grassland Loop. Here are some of the photos taken:

It turned out that we were following Anton around the Grassland Loop. At one point near the end of the Loop he pointed out a Lesser Moorhen swimming about in one of the many ponds.

We did find another later in the day on our way back to camp. It was on the Pan Loop road. We had checked the pond from the Amazibou hide and seen nothing. So we thought we would go to the hippo pond at the end of the Pan Loop. As we descended, we noticed that the water on our right was right up to the road and the road ahead was flooded. We were not going any further. As we were turning around we noticed a waterbird swimming through the reeds – another Lesser Moorhen.

Once back on the tar, we had not gone far when we came across the Martial Eagle – pictured below.

It was at the end of the Grassland Loop on our way back to Cape Vidal that we saw the imperious Martial Eagle shown above. And as we were watching, a carload of friends from Durban drew up alongside us. They told us they had seen the Lesser Noddy.

That was it. We decided it was time to get back to Cape Vidal as quick as we were allowed. As we passed Anton’s car we called out to him that the bird was there. And we set out together at pace. After a while I noticed that Anton was no longer behind us and assumed that he had slowed down for some reason. We continued.

Once at Cape Vidal, Sally and I headed for the now protruding reef.

Lesser Noddy-land.

As we approached the reef, we saw the Noddy flying over the rocks. Well at least we had seen it even if we don’t get close. But close we did get. The Lesser Noddy kept its vigil over the rocks and flew around in circles over them, sometimes landing but at times flying over us really close. Eventually it decided to pose for us and landed on the rocks less than 10 metres from us. What a lovely sighting – probably to easiest lifer sighting in our experience.

The reef over which the Lesser Noddy patrolled:

Setting the scene:

Anton appeared and we asked what had kept him. He told us that as we drove ahead of him, we disturbed a large male leopard which walked out in front of him. Stop they did for his wife and children to enjoy. If that had been us, I am sure we would have been in a serious quandary as to whether or not to stop!!

A number of Sanderlings and a White-fronted Plover were also feasting among the rocks.

That afternoon, back at St. Lucia, we took a walk along the beach to the estuary’s mouth to the sea. We went to see the Terns and the African Skimmers which had been hanging around amongst the Terns for some time. And they were there – unfortunately on the other side of the estuary.

The next day we went to the Western Shores side of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park. A very cloudy, drizzly and windy day. Again, we saw little until much later in the morning on our way back to Sugarloaf campsite.

Despite the short visit and the adverse conditions, we managed to identify 92 different bird species – the list of which you can see by clicking on the download below.

As a matter of interest, the Lesser Noddy did a disappearing trick the day after we saw it. We were so fortunate.

Sally King and Paul Bartho

BirdLife KZN Forum – Spioenkop and Ingula

Sunrise at Spioenkop

Spioenkop Dam

17th to 21st March 2023

Sally and I have always wanted to see the birding reserve area around the Ingula Pump Storage Scheme, just north of Ladysmith in KZN. And when the BirdLife KZN Forum was to take place there, we leapt at the chance to see the area. No expectation of seeing the White-winged Flufftail.

Having registered to attend the Forum, we had the opportunity to participate with the guided bird tours in the area.

Where to stay? Our options were in and around Ladysmith in local B&Bs or hotels. However, we decided we would rather take our off-road caravan and camp – it being a lot cheaper, and we would avoid being in town with the EFF “March for Peace!!” on Monday 20th March.

But where to camp close by? Nothing closer than an hour’s drive, we learned. We had two choices – Weenen or Spioenkop. We chose the latter as one of the guided tours was planned to take place there. Also, it meant avoiding driving through Ladysmith to get to Ingula.

Our campsite in Spioenkop:

And looking back at a view of our campsite:

A view of our lonely campsite

Our views over the dam:

Spioenkop is not a large reserve, but it has a fair network of roads and even hides a vulture restaurant surprisingly.

Here are some typical views of the reserve as you drive around.

The power of water

Here are a variety of some of the birds we came across in Spieonkop. And even before we started to set up camp an African Fish Eagle came and settled in a nearby tree to show us what he was having for lunch.

One of the surprising things about birding in Spioenkop is that there is a “semi-private” vulture restaurant. It is a sizeable walk through the bush to get to it, so one has to alert for dangerous animals – like Rhinos. A couple of skinned Zebra carcasses were placed at the hide a day or so prior to our visit. Vultures were circling when we got there but unfortunately the dozens, we were hoping for, did not appear and the zebra stomachs remained bloated.


On our last day at Spioenkop, the thunder started early and lasted all day until it finally exploded above us with a special continuous firework display of lightning and thunder. Here a couple of short videos.

The start
A small sample of the lightning which lasted for hours before the rain set in.

And on to Ingula.

On the way to Ingula we travelled on some specially designed disastrously potholed roads. Fortunately, it was mainly a section of about 6 kilometres where cars and trucks took turns on either side of the road.

As we closed on the entrance to Ingula, more and more roadside water appeared. In one section of about 100 metres (possibly more) a roadside pond was inundated with Red-billed Teals, a few Blacksmith lapwings, South African Shelduck, a stray Grey-crowned Crane, likewise Malachite Kingfisher and an unexpected Wood Sandpiper. Even a Purple Heron made an appearance in one such pond – though spotting it was a challenge.

Even a Ruff was reported here tho’ we missed it.

The fence lines were stocked with Swallows and Martins – a lot of South African Cliff Swallows and Banded Martins – birds we were unused to seeing.

To enter the Ingula Pump Storage Scheme area, we first had to undergo an alcohol test before the permit was issued. We forgot to check if anyone can enter the area or whether you needed special permission. I got the impression it was the former – obviously as long as you were sober. From the entrance you are in the Ingula reserve.

On the first morning, we birded the area till lunchtime. Here is a map of the roads in the reserve.

The Visitor Centre is located close to the Bramhoek Dam (centre of map above).

After lunch the Forum scheduled talks began and lasted for the rest of the day. It was interesting to hear that not all Eskom power generating units ran on coal. And that many were spotlessly clean. We had to leave early to get back to Spioenkop before dark.

The next day we went back to Ingula to join the guided tour around the reserve. We went to the Bedford Dam to meet the group, but no-one was there. So, we ended up birding the area on our own and came across quite a number of interesting bird species. However, it was the habitat which impressed us the most. Upper grasslands with barely a tree in sight and protruding rocky mountainous outcrops in every direction one looked.

In some ways it was fortunate that the meeting point had been changed and we could proceed at our own pace and not at what seemed a snail’s pace for the rest of the group. Here are some of the birds we photographed:

In all we identified 125 different bird species and really enjoyed seeing the highland grasslands and rocky outcrops. We made no attempt to find the White-winged Flufftail. It is obviously well protected.

Here is a list of the birds we identified – both in the Ingula and Spioenkop areas:

Paul and Sally Bartho

Sunset at Spioenkop

Karkloof Conservancy

11th March 2023

View of the wetland area in front of the Wattled Crane Hide

Sally and I visited Karkloof Conservany (close to Howick, KZN) for an afternoon of birding from their Wattled Crane Hide.

We arrived at 16h00 and stayed till closing at 18h30. During that time we recorded 34 different bird species – mostly waterbirds. A pair of Grey Crowned Cranes did a flypast and not to be outdone a pair of Wattled Cranes also appeared as we were about to leave. They were feasting on a newly tilled field. Even a Blue Crane was heard calling overhead. White Storks and Bald Ibises were seen in the surrounding fields.

Also visible on an irrigation system in a distant field were a pair of Lanner Falcons. Notable waterbirds included White-backed Ducks, numerous Cape Shovelers, South African Shelducks to name a few.

Here are some bird photos taken during our time there.

Here is our list of birds recorded.

Paul and Sally Bartho

Royal Natal National Park

Mahai Campsite

15th to 19th January 2023

Royal Natal National Park

We had four days of good weather while we were there. The campsite was virtually empty as the Christmas holidays had just ended for most children. During our stay, there were at most three other campsites being used. Finding a shady spot was difficult however. All the trees along the entrance fence line parallel to the road have been cut down. Having chosen a spot to camp, I hesitated to set up camp. I had noticed a small clump of trees near the fence and we agreed it would serve as good sun shade in the afternoons. And as we set up facing the clump of trees, we had shade for the mornings too.

The campsite was green and well maintained. The ablutions spotless with hot water aplenty. No power shutdowns.

Here are a few photos of the campsite and its surrounds.

Our campsite birds:

Here are some photos of the reception area and the mountains around it.

On the first afternoon there, we took a short walk from the campsite upriver to the Cascades. Sally wanted a swim. There were a number of people already there. Kids running around and having fun as they do. Still Sally managed to find a quiet corner to get wet.

The walk there along the river;

Cascades pools;

Looking down at the Cascade Pools

Swimming – too cold for me!!


On our walk to the Cascades pools we came across a small bird party of Cape Batis and a juvenile species we could not positively identify.

We had three full days there. The first day we decided to walk up to Lookout Rock (see map) then to Tiger Falls; back to Lookout Rock, over the Mahai river and head towards Tranquility Pool before heading back to camp on the opposite side of the Mahai River.

We had little idea how far this was until we got back. 15 km walk taking much of the day despite setting off at 06h30. Fortunately, we had mist hanging over the mountain for most of the way up to the highest point, then a forest to stroll through on the way back. The last long section was in the hot sun. We were glad to be back.

Some photos of the scenery on our walk.

Finding another rock pool, Sally needed to cool off.

Misty morning and the birds were calling on the way up, less so on the way down in the hot hot sun. There were numerous Cisticolas and Malachite Sunbirds. Then when we were higher up, we found a group of Woodpeckers – Ground Woodpeckers. In the Mahai forest at the top of our walk, Sally noticed what she thought might be a Chorister Robin-Chat. However, it turned out to be a lovely White-starred Robin.

Our second day was meant to be more of a recovery day after the 15 kms walked the first day. However, we still managed an additional 10 kms. To keep it flat we decided to bird round the dam near the reception area. But this led us to take Ottos’s Walk through the forest as well. There were some nice birds round the dam including Giant Kingfishers, Malachite Kingfishers, Black-headed Herons and some other waterbirds.

Then we were into the forest walking alongside the river. The birds were noticeably quiet. Eventually we reached the road from the gate back to the reception. It was a long hot walk uphill most of the way back. Along the way we saw and heard a few small bird parties. Mostly nothing exciting until I saw what I thought at the time was a Sombre Greenbul – the angle of the sun deceiving me – fortunately. None other than a rather mobile Bush Blackcap as Sally pointed out. One of the specials we were hoping to see.

Later that afternoon we took a drive outside the Park and hoping to have dinner at the Tower of Pizza. It was closed – Mondays!!

Then we had another gander around the dam near reception. We encountered an active bird party. Spotted a pair of Bush Blackcaps and an Olive Woodpecker among others.

On our final full day, we took a stroll up to the Gorge. Supposedly 7 kms each way. Well, we never made it all the way. We got as far as the start of the boulders in the river bed. And that had taken us a good 4 or more hours!! We had stopped and birded in the forests as we walked – seeing some lovely birds. The best of which was an obliging Chorister Robin-Chat.

It was a very scenic walk following the Thukela River up towards the Gorge. As we traipsed along the river was well below us and it never seemed to get closer.

Eventually we got to a point where we decided we had had enough. The boulders were ahead of us, and we were close to the riverbed at last – still shaded in one of the forests. And there was a cool pool bubbling passed us. Not to be missed Sally took a dip and I took the opportunity to get my boots off and feet wet!

After a good hour’s rest, we tried to retrace our steps. Very quickly we were offline and stumbling through the forest. Eventually we found the path and slogged our way back. And this time we had numerous birds to stop for and photograph.

At last we near the bottom where we started from. But we are still above Thendele. And we started below.

Eventually after another 4 hour stroll, we reach our car – 22 kms trekking. So much for 7 kms each way!!! Started at 06h30 and got back at 16h00. A rather long day.

So, three days and 47 kms mountain trekking. Not to be repeated!! But pleased we made it as much as we did.

In total we recorded 70 different bird species in the 3 full days there. Our bird list can be downloaded here. The standout birds for us included: Bush Blackcap, White-starred Robin, Chorister Robin-Chat, Barratt’s Warbler (heard only), Olive Bushshrike, Groundscraper Thrush, Olive Woodpecker, Ground Woodpecker, Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler, Yellow Bishop, Malachite Sunbird, Common House-Martin, Drakensberg Prinia, Cape Rock-Thrush,

Paul and Sally Bartho

Zululand – Part 4 – Bonamanzi.

Bonamanzi Game Reserve, Hluhluwe

4th to 6th November 2022

Bonamanzi Game Reserve in relation to Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserves
Bonamanzi Tracks Network

Leaving Nyalazi we entered Umfolozi and then drove through the Hluhluwe part of the Park to the N2. Turning right onto the freeway we headed south towards the petrol station with all the lights lining the freeway at its entrance. Just before reaching the lights there is a bridge over the freeway and we took the exit to the bridge. Turn left at the top and drive 4 kilometres along the dirt road to a T junction, turn left and immediately right to the entrance of Bonamanzi Game Park.

The Bonamanzi Game Park was empty. We were one of a very few not only campers but also chalet guests. We set up camp on our own in campsite 21 on the opposite side to the swimming pool. Between reception and the campsite we recorded 3 specials and another at the campsite – all heard. They were the Gorgeous Bushshrike, the Bananabird – Green Malkoha – the Eastern Nicator and then the Narina Trogon in camp. Quite a start for our bird list. We went on to see all of them except the Eastern Nicator but only fortunate enough to photograph one of them.

Bonamanzi has opened up all its roads to its guests for which there is a compulsory conservation levy of R150 per vehicle per day once off charge, definitely worth it as you are able to explore both the Game Area and Wetland Areas on your own and the numerous tracks as well.

A Bearded Scrub-Robin enjoyed the campsite with us.

Making use of our first afternoon there we headed to the Wetland Area. Fortunately, despite all the rain the tracks were doable. The floodplain area is very extensive and runs probably 2 kilometres alongside the canal.

That afternoon we had many waterbird sightings and some pretty unexpected birds too – one in particular in numbers.

Here are some of the birds we sort of expected to see.

Unexpectedly we saw several Brown-throated Weavers.

And then among all the Southern Red Bishops all along the wetland area by the canal were Red-headed Queleas.

At the Reception area and bungalows there is a dam with a comfortable overlooking hide. It was a good spot to sit and watch the birds especially when the rain appeared.

However, the surprise was not a waterbird but a Tambourine Dove seen walking on the lawn by the bungalows.

Here are photos of some of the other birds seen while driving around.

The highlight of our time there was to capture photos and videos of a very special bird – one that we had heard on arrival. On our first morning we took a walk along the road back towards the pool and nearby campsite. Sites 7-10. Chasing around following a number of birds we heard a strange call but suspected that it could be very special. Then we saw a female fly across the campsite – Narina Trogon. Then the male appeared at the place where the female had flown from. Shots taken for record, then can we get closer, closer still, will it let us? It did and sat chortling away not 10 metres from us. Totally unconcerned. I moved around and took videos and it stayed put. It only flew off after we left. Lovely sighting.

Narina Trogon

And so ended our couple of wet weeks in Zululand.

Please click on the following link to see our bird lists for each of the 4 areas we visited in Zululand.

In total we identified 215 different bird species.


Sally and Paul Bartho

Zululand – Part 3 – Nyalazi Camp

Nyalazi Camp

1st to 4th November 2022

Zululand. Umfolozi and Hluhluwe maps marked Map 1 and 2. Mkuze shown as Map 7.
Hluhluwe on the right and Umfolozi on the left.

Campsite 7

Nyalazi is a small and very popular campsite. It has 7 sites. During holiday seasons and the winter months it is very busy. All the campsites have been levelled and sand added to form a flat base – as you can see in the photo above. Most of the sites have a view over the Umfolozi fence and animals are often seen.

In the past we have seen Giraffe, Buffalo and Rhino wander through as well.

The overcast weather persisted during the 3 days we stayed there. During our time based at Nyalazi Camp, we went into both Hluhluwe and Umfolozi. Weather restricted our viewings although it has been at times like this that you come across the unexpected.

It is a short 300 metre drive to get inside the park. However, the entrance gate is a further 3 kilometres away. So, as you exit to the right from the campsite turnoff, you are on a main road running through the Park – the road from Mtubatuba to Nongoma.

This time we encountered herds of both Buffalo and Elephants blocking and crossing the road. Must be hellish dangerous at night especially for those not maintaining the speed limit.

In Hluhluwe we had a good drive around, checking the only Hide – Thiyeni Hide – as well as the picnic sites.

The Rubbing Post at Thiyeni Hide. It has been like that for at least 20 years. The Rhinos and baby rhinos – or as you know them, Warthogs – do enjoy a good rub.

At the picnic site closest to Hluhluwe’s Memorial Gate, we noticed this strange looking root system of a tree hanging over the Hluhluwe river.

Looks to me like the underside of a bird with two spindly legs holding the body in place.

In Umfolozi, we noticed a White-backed Vulture on its nest and at the Mpafa Hide the resident pair of Mocking Cliff-Chats paid us a visit in the Hide.

Here are some of the birds which posed for us as we travelled around.

Therre was one camp bird that posed for us particularly well as he sang – a Diederik Cuckoo.

Sally and I debated about going home instead of our plan to visit Bonamanzi. In the end we stuck to our plan and were very pleased that we did.

We drove back through Hluhluwe to get to Bonamanzi.


Sally and Paul Bartho

Zululand – Part 2 – Mkuze


27th October to 1st November 2022

Mkuze Map. Campsite is immediately after the entrance on the left of the map.

Mkuze is a short 130 kms drive from Sugarloaf in St. Lucia. We stopped for diesel on the way and went through Mkuzi town to do some shopping. We arrived early. As the campsite is next to the entrance, we immediately set up camp before checking in at reception some 6 kms further into the park.

Like Sugarloaf the campsite was virtually empty, so we chose a site sheltered from the wind but out in the open so that if there was any sun it would warm up our Cheetah and our solar panels could charge our batteries. We were told that there was no power available anymore when we booked and the staff at the entrance confirmed this. But that was not the case. We had power every evening from 17h00 to 22h00.

Again, the weather was overcast and rainy on most days.

Kumasinga Hide is usually bustling with birds, however it was very quiet whenever we visited. That does not mean we saw nothing interesting. We watched Red-billed Oxpeckers bathing, a green snake crawling along nearby branches as well as a large leguaan stalking along the bank.

Red-billed Oxpeckers having a bath:

The Leguaan crawling up the bank:

And the Green Snake slithering along the dried branches by the hide:

Malibala Hide was also quiet but we did enjoy the Terrapin castles and the ever resident Three-banded Plover.

The swimming pool looked good for a swim – alas a tad wet and cold.

One of the sunny moments.

Camp birds were not too shy despite the need for shelter.

At the picnic site by Nsumo Pan we did observe a distant Squacco Heron.

Squacco Heron on the other side of the Pan

A few other creatures caught our attention:

And finally, a few bird shots as we circled the Park numerous times.

And that sums up the time we spent at Mkuzi. Our bird list will be available to see in our final Zululand Report on Bonamanzi.

Hoping for better weather we headed for Nyalazi Campsite close to the entrance of Umfolozi. Part 3 follows.

Paul and Sally Bartho

Zululand – Part 1

Needing a break from the Ambers, Sally and I took our campervan to Zululand for 2 weeks. We spent 4 nights in St. Lucia at Sugarloaf campsite; 5 nights in Mkuze; 3 nights in Nyalazi camp (2 kms from the Umfolozi entrance); and then 2 nights in Bonamanzi.

Bonamanzi is not shown on this map, but it is just SE of Hluhluwe town.

Most of the time it was wet and overcast which was a shame, but you take what you get and make the most of it. It certainly did not help with photography.

St. Lucia. Sugarloaf Campsite

October 23rd to 27th 2022

Sugarloaf campsite.

From a birding perspective, Sugarloaf is centrally located to visit a number of interesting birding sites in the immediate area. Both Eastern and Western Shores of Isimangaliso Wetlands are a short drive away; then there is the estuary and beach a short walk from the campsite – as well as the Gwala Gwala trail. An hour’s drive will get you into Umfolozi.

The campground has about 100 sites and 4 ablution blocks. The grounds are a birders paradise. On many an occasion we have recorded over 90 different species in the camp alone. And it harbours specials such as Green Twinspots, Tinkerbirds, Wood Owls, Livingstone’s Turacos, Wattle-eyes, Green Malkoha, Blue-mantled Crested Flycatcher, Narina Trogan, Brown Scrub-Robins, Shikra, Little Sparrowhawk, Hornbills, Woodwards Batis among many others.

This time we had an opportunity to take pics of the Green Twinspots and a very friendly Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird as well as a Golden-tailed Woodpecker within metres from our Afrispoor Cheetah.

Apart from monkeys there are buck, Red and Grey Duiker, Mongooses in particular Banded which form part of the attraction in the site. Monkeys were seen actually playing with a young Bushbuck – each playfully chasing each other.

Monkeys come for food so don’t leave any temptations and they will soon stop bothering you.

Banded Mongoose.

On the first morning the sun was shining. We took this opportunity to walk down the beach to see the Tern roost next to the new estuary mouth.

On the way, we unexpectedly came across a couple of Eurasian Whimbrels in the dunes. Others were on the beach along with White-fronted Plovers.

Our timing was good as the tide was out. However, the numbers and variety of species was limited and of course IDing the birds was made difficult as they were on the other bank and we had no scope with us. It was still a treat as we were able to sit and watch the antics of the birds and get somewhat excited as new birds flew in.

So that was when the tide was out. One lucky afternoon the sun came out and I was able to go back down to the estuary and watch the tide coming in. Here is a video.

Tide incoming taking part of the bank I was standing on with it.

The rains came and came again most of the time there. However, we still took drives into both Eastern and Western Shores. Western Shores was very quiet and if I remember correctly it took us an hour to see our fist aminal. We came across the Martial Eagle’s nest with a chick on board. Otherwise, the rain kept all the animals and birds in shelter.

At one of the river crossings this Hamerkop remained fishing on the bridge as we crossed, and it let us stop and take a picture.


On one of our trips into the Eastern Shores we came across these three Zebra having a pow-wow. The picture of the three standing in the burnt-out bush looked unreal – as if they were placed there. More like a picture you might see on the cover of a jigsaw puzzle box.

On several occasions we visited the Amazibu Hide to search for the resident family of Rufous-bellied Herons. It was third time lucky but only one appeared. And it moved to a new location, the sun and shadows moved over it and gave it a remarkably blue appearance.

Here are photos taken in mainly the Eastern Shores side of Isimangaliso Wetland Park

At the end of this series, we shall include a bird list showing what we saw and where. From Sugarloaf we headed to Mukuze.

Sally and Paul Bartho

The St. Lucia Ski Boat Club is directly opposite to the entrance to Sugarloaf. We found it a great place to have fish and chips (and a beer) at lunchtime. In the evening the mossies can be bit off-putting.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – Part 4 – Twee Rivieren

21st to 24th May 2022

Eventually the time came for all of us to head homewards. We left Polentswa heading south via Nossob to the Two Rivers camp (Botswana side) at the entrance to the Kgalagadi.

We arrived at the Two Rivers campsite on a cold and windy afternoon. There was no water anywhere including in the ablutions and the campsite allocated to us No. 2 was probably the worst of an uncomfortable bunch.

Sally and I decided to go to Twee Rivieren instead where we had decent ablutions and hot water for showers. The others opted to stay in Two Rivers. The two camps are a short 2 or 3 kms apart.

On an early morning drive heading towards Mata Mata we had more success seeing animals than birds. We attributed this to the weather conditions.

On one occasion we encountered a rather twisted Ostrich.

We spent a lot of time birding inside the campgrounds with pleasant surprises- Black-faced Waxbills, Groundscraper Thrush, friendly Brown-throated Martins, Black-winged Kites, White-backed Mousebird and a Marico Flycatcher to name a few.

Also, in the camp we had a singing display by a Chat Flycatcher which then boasted its fly catching prowess.

Chat Flycatcher singing and feeding.

And so ended our visit to the Kgalagadi. We spent the next few days heading back to Howick, KZN via a stopover in Mokala.

Our bird lists for each of the places we stayed and in total can be seen in the following download. It does include our time in Augrabies – on our way to Kgalagadi as well as Mokala on our way home.

Augrabies and Mokala reports have previously been posted on the website.

Hope you have enjoyed our feedback and photos.


Paul and Sally Bartho

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – Part 3 Polentswa


15th to 21st May 2022

Polentswa campsite is only an hour’s drive north of Nossob. There are only 3 campsites – each taking a maximum of 3 couples. It is located in the Botswana side of the Park and each site has a separate shower, long drop but no water nor power. Take rubbish bags.

Campsite fire and braai.