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Birding at Emlanjeni

Barry Kurten - 04.09.19

On Saturday 31st August a number of club members were invited to bird at the Emlanjeni Game Reserve in the Bushmans River Valley at the Ngciyo Pans.

The day did not start well with miserable weather as we left Port Elizabeth in the morning. This improved progressively as we got closer to the reserve, although it remained very cold. Not good for birding!

We met our host Wendy Lynch at the reserve. She had spared no effort in making us as comfortable as possible. She made one of her houses available to us and provided us with as much tea and coffee as we required.

Once the introductions were over we set off along the designated routes in search of birds. Despite the cold they started appearing all over especially as the sun came out and started warming. I must add that all 3 of the large Ngciyo pans fall into the reserve. They are extremely empty at present and as a result that, with the exception of the odd black winged stilt and Kittlitz’s plover, nothing else was present in the pans. The drive along the river and the edge of the forest more than compensated for this and soon we were all ticking birds.

At about 10H00 we came back to the house for breakfast. Here we were met by John and the Emlanjeni Game Drive vehicle. Soon we were on our way to the far distant ends of the reserve ticking new birds all the way. This was a really awesome experience. Unfortunately half way through the wind arrived and the ice came with it making conditions difficult again. We moved off onto the floodplain to get out of the worst weather and soon we were ticking again. Great Egret, Secretarybirds, Eastern Golden Weaver, Little stints and a lot more. At 14H30 we finally arrived back in time for lunch and thank you’s then back home. All in all we counted 73 species on a miserable day. Not bad going.

Eastern Golden Weaver

Eastern Golden Weaver

Secretary bird


The facilities on the farm are fantastic there are 3 lovely houses 2 bedrooms, lounge, kitchen, bathroom and toilet. These have been made available to our members at R800 per night = R200 per person per night. When those pans fill these houses will be right in the epicentre of the activity.

There are buffalo and large numbers of buck on the farm while we were able to see Lion, Elephant, and more Buffalo walking in the Kariega Reserve, across the road, from the verandah of the bungalows. Because of the Buffalo, walking in the reserve is not permitted. This is not a problem as everywhere is accessible by car. They have a tame eland called Gus who dishes out kisses freely as well.

The diversity of the area must sustain a huge amount of bird life and I for one cannot wait to get back there for a weekend. Should anyone wish to enquire please give Wendy a call at 0846111020 she will be more than happy to assist.
Eastern Golden Weaver

PS. Did I mention the fishing in the river is excellent as well.



Through the club's monthly e-newsletters and bi-annual magazine, the Bee-Eater, we aim to stimulate continued interest in birds and their habitats.