White Faced Owl Update

Our regular followers may remember that back in August 2010 we rescued a young white faced owl who had strayed from the nest and landed in a fire.

At first, he was a regular sighting at our sister lodge in Hluhluwe. However, for the last few months we have neither seen nor heard him, a few feathers have been found here and there by people walking along the trail, but no sightings.

But then, last night as we drove into the gate at Hluhluwe with Les Stroud, there he was.

Nocturnal birds of south africa
There he was sitting above us, and then when we stopped to look at him he turned his head to watch us.

 

Young adult white face owl sighitn in south africa
He waited patiently for us to get our shots and let him get back to his hunting

 

Kayak Exploration!

My! What a busyweek it has been, first we have a full lodge, completely packed out!!

Then we get our Kayaking concession from parksboard meaning that we can now explore not only the lovely blue lakes of Kosi Bay, but also the many winding channels amongst the reeds and sand dunes of the Kosi Mouth Estuarine system.

But, we had no photos of these areas! So, as disappointed as we were at pulling ourselves away from work, we went to do some exploring.

Check out the video below – don’t worry, no sound, so it’s safe for work!

Video – Snorkelling at Kosi Bay

Check out the snorkelling at Kosi Bay!

Green Amangwane!

The environment means a lot to us and we know it does to you too, so, as we are situated in the UNESCO World Heritage site of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, we thought that we would do our bit to help preserve it.

kosi bay estuary
Kosi Bay, part of iSimangaliso Wetland Park

So…

What have we changed?

The first thing we have changed is that we now run on solar power!

amangwane kosi bay, ecotourism, responsible travel
The new solar panels take pride of place atop the chalets
After a few years of planning we have now gone green!!

This means; no generator needed, no noise pollution, no waste of fossil fuels, no pollution and most importantly, no impact on the environment.

But, there is a downside…
…we do not have our fairy lights at the moment, we are working on a way to make them compatible though!

solar powered chalets at kosi bay amangwane
No trees were harmed in the installation of our solar panels

Each unit now has its own solar panel, this feeds to a USB charging point in each room – perfect for point and shoot cameras, mobile phones and anything else that charges via USB.
This solar battery is good enough to power not only your mobile phones, but also the room lights, all night!

Bright solar powered lights, kosi bay
Kosi Bay has no shortage of sun, so, no shortage of light!

Everything on the camp is now solar – from gate to boma.

We have also settled our Jo Jo (water tank) on a platform 5 metres off the ground – this means that (drum roll please!) we now have continual water pressure to all chalets 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and all without the need for any generators. These gravity fed showers are even better than they were before on generator power!

As if this wasn’t enough, we have been working like beavers to improve the facilities we already have at the camp. So far we have re-reeded most of the chalets to keep out the creepy crawlies and the kitchen has been extended, we also now have a second stove and sink so that our self caterers have more space. And now by the fire pit we have a brick built braai giving us some where to keep the firewood dry and enough room for 2 people to braai at the same time.
Pictures coming soon!

Find us at Responsible Travel.

Day 6 – Bye bye Kosi Bay :(

Time to say good bye to Kosi Bay as the boys set out at 6:30 am to head once more to their Hluhluwe accommodation at Umkhumbi Lodge.

But whilst we’re driving past Tembe Elephant Reserve, it would be wrong not to go in… wouldn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

Don’t let the name fool you, Tembe Elephant reserve is about much more than just Elephants! There are countless bird species as well as many different game animals. Although saying that, it is also fantastic for elephants, after turning a corner in the park whilst tracking down a bird they came across about 14 elephants just loitering on and to the side of the road.

They certainly had fun as they stayed in the park from gate open to gate close and arrived back at Umkhumbi Lodge just in time for a fantastic 3 course dinner under the stars.

Day 5 – Turtle Tour

An early start for Jason and Adam today as they head up to Ndumo Game reserve for a full day of fantastic bird and animal sightings.

Only one thing can top a great day, and that is going on a Turtle tour.
Sea turtles who usually live in the deep deep depths come on land between November and February each year to lay their eggs. Female turtles must climb from the water up the beach (the pure physical exertion as they make their way across the soft sand causes the bodies of these cold blooded creatures to radiate an astounding level of heat) before they dig their nests and lay their clutches of over 100 eggs! After this the turtle must then close the nest and then make her way back to the sea.

Baby sea turtles when they hatch have to break through the egg, dig out of the sand and make their way down to the water. What a lot to do on your first day in the world!

Jason and Adam were lucky enough to see three little hatchlings on their way to the water. One of them looked very weak, and was struggling to make it across the soft sand – law states that you are not permitted to touch them or help them in any way – and this troubled Jason and Adam. Using his torch Adam led them on their perilous journey down to the water, safe guarding them from any beach predators who may want to take advantage of these juicy little morsels.

It was quite an emotional moment for the boys as the last little hatchling dipped into the water, I am sure there was even a tear present in Jasons eye! The boys kept watching the water, looking just in case the little ones washed back to shore again, but no – they were ok and off to start their little life adventures.

Then, around the corner, 10, 20, 30, 40 hatchlings fresh from the eggs and emerging from the nest. It was like a motorway during rush hour as they made their way to the water. 50, 60 and still more were coming even as they walked a little further down the beach.

A little further along they found a female loggerhead turtle in the process of laying her eggs. Sitting nearby they watched her as she finished, filled the nest and made her way back to the water.

(Turtle tours can also be booked at our Hluhluwe Accommodation Umkhumbi Lodge)

Another perfect day to relax at Kosi Bay

The sun is shining, the fish are biting, the beer is cold and the kids are busy making sandcastles. Nothing else left to do except watch the sun go down – a good day!

Kosi Bay accommodation

Kosi Bay in the News

Amangwane is the place to stay if you are visiting the Kosi Bay area. This laid-back paradise is set in the most eastern part of SA, on the Mozambique border.  A long-standing partnership between Elmon Mkhonto and Anton Roberts, Amangwane (Zulu for octopus) has grown from 10 dome tents with one communal bucket shower and toilet to a comfortable lodge with 10 reed chalets and a lapa area where guests relax around the campfire.  This is rustic, folks, with generator, gas and limited electricity (you can charge your goodies at night) and no TV. Rooms are basic with two single beds in each chalet. For families, there are bunk beds for the kids. Each unit has an en-suite toilet and shower.  But itโ€™s not the facilities that make Amangwane cosy; itโ€™s the atmosphere. As we swept up the sandy drive past the chalets to the kitchen/common area, I envisaged doing as little as possible for as long as possible, preferably in a comfortable hammock.  However, it didnโ€™t turn out that way. Amangwane is in the dunes, about 3.5km from the beach โ€“ and what a beach! Pristine, unspoilt โ€“ there are many adjectives and superlatives to describe Kosi Bay and its hinterland โ€“ but you need to experience it to truly โ€œgetโ€ it.  That short distance to the beach is accessible only by 4x4 and takes a little longer than you might think through soft, deep sand. If you are a passenger, this allows you time to take in the stunning surroundings. A visit to the fish traps with Elmon is a great way to learn about this old fishing technique passed down over generations. The traps are set in tidal lakes in the clear water that Kosi is renowned for. This clarity also makes snorkelling โ€“ drifting on the tide over the array of fish and Moray eels which inhabit the protected reef within Kosi mouth โ€“ a treat. The fishing is something too, off unspoilt beaches that arch into the distance.This is a great time to witness something rare and special. You cross the lake in the early evening by boat and take a walking tour with trained guides in search of loggerhead and leatherback turtles on their annual nesting migration.  Tembe elephant reserve is a short distance away and there are plenty of other attractions not far off, including iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Jozini Dam.  If you like to do your own thing, Amangwane offers self-catering at R350 per person sharing per night for adults.  For a catered stay โ€“ traditional South African fare with Thonga flair, as well as trips to Kosi โ€“ it is R795 per person sharing per night.  Those aged four to 11 are half-price and under four stay free.  Allow about five hoursโ€™ drive from Durban. Be warned โ€“ you might not want to return.

Busy time!

We are jam packed at Amangwane Kosi Bay at the moment with everyone wanting to make the most of the sunshine on the beach at Kosi Mouth.

The braii has been going, there have been many sundowners and the turtles have been coming to shore to nest – there have been some fantastic turtle tours so far!

Why not join in the fun and end the school holidays on a high with a stay at Amangwane in January 2012! There is no TV, so bring your favourite games and books for real family time in the evenings after a day at the beach ๐Ÿ™‚

*splash*