We recently experienced a safari to the Okavango Delta. The planning and organisation of the tickets and all requirements was excellent and the journey from Cape Town to Maun and on to the Safari camps went without a hitch. Before taking the excursion, we told the organisers that our main requirement was bird watching and we asked if the guides were equipped for this; we were assured that this was the case.
We were booked in to two camps: Kadizora Camp and Saguni Safari Lodge for three nights in each. Kadizora: We were collected from the airstrip by Olathilwe Kamaga (“Navas”), our guide from Kadizora. At the camp, we were greeted by the camp manager, Greg Flaxman and his wife Sue. Staff members welcomed us by singing Tswana welcoming songs. Our experience at Kadizora was delightful. The meals were simple and nourishing, the tented accommodation more than adequate and the safari drives were great. Shirley found the food a bit over-flavoured for her taste, but appreciated the fact that an effort was made to provide vegetarian options for her. There were plenty of salads and fruit on offer. Another plus was the fact that we did not pay for drinks; a few glasses of wine and plenty of soft drinks in the evening. We were fortunate in that we had Navas to ourselves and, being an experienced birding guide, he took us to birding sites where we saw several “lifers”. While we were driving around, Greg and Petros Shimwe (“Pat”) – another guide, quietly went up the Selinda Spillway to reconnoitre for a special bird, the Pel’s Fishing Owl. They then took us along the shallow waterway, surrounded by curious hippos and crocodiles, to finally find the Pel’s Fishing Owl, which was very exciting. We are very appreciative of Greg’s above and beyond the call of duty action, it truly made our stay extra special.
Saguni: Safari Lodge: After a short flight we arrived at Saguni Safari Lodge where we were met by Luther Sianga (“Jinxy”), a very ebullient and vociferous guide. The accommodation and food were adequate, however here we had to pay for our drinks (including soft drinks). We wondered why this differed from Kadizora. We did the day drives in the company of a very pleasant American couple, but as far as we were concerned, very little effort was made to comply to our bird watching requirements. We soon discovered that our guide had one passion in life and that was lions. We spent many bumpy hours searching for lions, yes, we saw a few, but that was not why we were in the Okavanga Delta. To his credit, Jinxy gave us a very interesting and informative talk on the history and geology of the Delta. He was very likeable but not a bird guide. This was a big disappointment as we were promised a good bird watching experience.
The Kadizora experience was, to my mind, well worth it. The same cannot be said of Saguni.
We took hundreds of photos, a few are shared in this blog
This month Carin Malan will be talking to us about her experiences chasing the Pennant-winged, and other Nightjars in the Kruger Park. She will also provide insights into other KNP birding. Carin is a well-known local birder who, amongst other things, heads up the Overberg CWAC activities.
The event will kick off with a drink at 6:00 pm followed by the talk at 6:30 pm.
Ed Meyer has been asked if we can dispose of a collection of good birding books, the titles of which appear below. If anybody is interested in purchasing any of these volumes, please contact Ed at 082 880 7604 and make an offer.
BIRD BOOKS – I.A. HUNTER STANFORD
Painting of Norman Lighton for Roberts Birds of South Africa Bird Paintings C.G. Finch-Davies Edward Lear’s Birds Susan Hyman Vultures of Africa Mundy, Butchart, Ledger, Piper The Birds Around Us. Richard Liversidge, Jill Adams The Rare Birds of Southern Africa P.A. Chancey The Owls of Southern Africa Alan Kemp Simon Calburn The Complete book of South African Birds Ginn, McIlaron, Milstein Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Birds of the World Birds of Southern Africa Finch-Davies, Kemp Bird Life Jurgen Nicolai Shrikes Harris, Arnott Hunters of the African Sky Steyn, Arnott Waders of Southern Africa Hockey, Douie Herons of the World Hancock, Eliott Parrots of the World Foreshaw Birds of Prey Kinship Black Eagle Gargett Ocean Birds Lefgren Extinct Birds Fullen Birds in Southern Africa Purnell South African Birds of Prey Pickford, Tarboton Birdlife in Southern Africa Kenneth Newman Eagle Days Pieta Steyn African Eagles at the nest Birds of Prey of Southern Africa Steyn Birds of South Western Cape Frandsen
Eight club members participated in the bi-annual CWAC on Saturday 5 November. We covered the edges of the Klein river lagoon, but birding was not at its best, with the lagoon being very full and thus having no mud flats for waders. We did nevertheless, count a fair number of water birds and enjoyed a cup of coffee at Dutchies, where we compiled the final lists.
Ed received this invitation from Anton Odendal of Overberg Birdlife and asked me to publish it. The venue is not specified.
YEAR-END FUNCTION ON MONDAY 21 NOVEMBER – CELEBRATING BRILLIANT PHOTOGRAPHS AND STORIES: Kindly note that we have reserved the 28th as an alternative date in case of load shedding on the 21st. We will once again give our members the opportunity to show their favourite images taken during 2022 and tell us about it. This is always a very popular event and you are all invited to join us for a fun event. ARRANGEMENTS – DATE: Monday 21 November (with the 28th as an alternative). TIME: 17h30 for 18h00. SCHEDULE: 17h30 TO 18h30: Getting together and socialising. 18h30 to 19h30: First batch of images illustrated. 19h30 to 20h00: Supper – Please bring your own snacks and drinks and remember to bring your glasses. 20h00 to 21h00: Second batch of images illustrated. 21h00+: Socialising. COSTS: A cash contribution towards our costs will be appreciated. RSVP: Contact Anton at email@example.com or WhatsApp at 082 550 3347. NB: Please note that it is important to let us know whether you will join us just in case we need to re-schedule because of load shedding.
Birdlife SA is holding its Birding Big Day on 3 December. This is an opportunity to engage with your fellow birders and have a fun filled day birding in an area of your choice. Visit the Birdlfe SA website to see details of how to enter – there is no cost involved. Teams of up to 4 people choose a central point around which they can explore in a 50 km radius and identify as many birds as possible. IDs must be verified by one or two persons depending on the team size, and results should be entered on the free BirdLasser Ap which co-ordinates all the teams’ sightings. The event lasts for 24 hours, but we will be finishing up at Fernkloof at around 5:30 to 6:00 pm when we will have a picnic to celebrate our year end. Everyone is welcome and participants should bring whatever they need in the way of food, drink, utensils, etc. Whilst this is a competition for some people, we want it to be a fun day and an opportunity to see our local birds and enjoy the company of fellow members. We have only two teams so far, so…..
Sadly, the weather forecast for Thursday suggests that it would be madness to try to go birding at De Mond (or anywhere else in the Overstrand area) so our outing is cancelled and we will attempt to re-instate it in February next year.
Once again beautiful bird calendars are available from TBC at R100 per calendar. If you want to buy any, please let Ed Meyer know by WhatsApp and make payment to the HBC account by Wednesday 2 November, using you name as reference.
We have 35 members confirmed for the Namaqualand outing in August 2023, so there are still 7 places up for grabs. This is your last chance to secure a place on what will be a first for HBC, combining good birding, amazing flowers and great photographic opportunities – not to mention a fine social time! Contact me if you are interested, Ronnie.