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Birding at Waterberg Wilderness Reserve

19 April 2019 - Malcolm Timberlake
Over the weekend of 29 to 31 March 2019, a group of 7 vehicles and 13 members made their way North towards a new destination about 2.5 hours away from Joburg for a break away from city life. This little reserve of 860ha offers great walks along well marked trails and has two very picturesque gorges with water courses which run at various strengths depending on the rain. Two dams catch some of the water, and attract water birds from time to time.

All arrived the Friday evening, and after setting up camp, congregated around the campfire to enjoy each other’s company and a perfect evening under the stars. In the distance we could hear the Fiery-necked Nightjar.

The next morning we all set off for the easier of the two gorge walks, which departs from the reception area. The views and fresh air revived the soul. Birding, unfortunately, was not in abundance, however, the butterflies, in varying arrays of colours, kept our interest, as did a number of plants discovered along the way. The rest of the day folk were able to relax or take a drive on many of the well marked out trails. A number of animal sightings were enjoyed including giraffe, zebra, blesbok, nyala and wildebees.

Later that afternoon we all made our way to a look-out point to enjoy sundowners together, after driving Van Zyls pass, the only section of the trails requiring low range four-wheel drive. The cloud formation over the Waterberg rendered a spectacular sunset.

The next day a smaller group of dedicated birders made their way along the second of the gorges and was rewarded with sightings of the African Paradise Flycatcher.

The camping accommodation offered makes this a venue to enjoy either on your own or in a small group at any one of 5 private exclusive campsites or a larger group at the shared ablutions campsites. Some even took up the tented accommodation which gives one more luxury while still enjoying all the benefits of being in the wilderness. Ian Simpson brought his Sherpa camper van for the weekend, which certainly aroused some interest from other campers.

We all made our way back to the city in our own time with no doubt of a return planned, if not to bird, then to enjoy the tranquility of the wilderness.



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