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.
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!
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.
What have we changed?
The first thing we have changed is that we now run on solar power!
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!
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!
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!
Armed with our mask and snorkels (no flippers/fins needed at this reef!) We crossed the estuary feeling the alternating hot and cold currents swirling around us.
The beauty of the snorkelling at Kosi Bay is that you swim across a channel and walk up on to the sand bank that runs parralel to the reef, walk along the sand bank, and lower yourself once more into the balmy waters of Kosi Bay Mouth.
But now is where the hard work comes… Ok, only joking – all you
need to do now is float with the current, cameras at the ready.
Effort free snorkelling gave us plenty of energy for posing under the water and playing with our cameras.
Carry on reading about this trip as Stephanie and Adrian go from place to place on their African holdiay.
But whilst we’re driving past Tembe Elephant Reserve, it would be wrong not to go in… wouldn’t it? 🙂
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.
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.
Armed with our goggles, snorkels and flippers we clambered into the Land Cruiser ready for Tommy to drive us down to Kosi Bay mouth estuary. It is possible to walk down, but after a long day snorkelling driving back up the hill is much nicer! when we got down to the water the tide was extremely high, obviously we had over-estimated quite how much time we would need to stop so Jason could take pictures of Cisticolas (only joking Jason, I know they were cormorants really…! 😉 )
The best part about getting down to the estuary when it is still high tide is that as the water recedes across the estuary mouth, islands of sand appear littered with the small sea-life that water birds class as delicacies. This brings water-birds flocking (pardon the pun) for an easy snack. The sand dunes were teeming with birds such as tern as we walked around the edges of the estuary mouth in search of crabs, snakes, birds, lizards and anything thing else that moved!
As quickly as the tide rises, it drops, so we didnt have to wait for long before we could wade across the estuary mouth to the reef.
At first glance the area of water containing the reef raises a few sceptical looks and raised eyebrows from all who have yet to experience it.
The best way to view the reef is to walk to the top and float down across the reef with the current, it is lazy snorkelling, no effort needed, the best kind of snorkelling!
Jason and Adam saw (to name a few – there are so many!);
– Black Mangrove seed pod
– Shoals and shoals of un-identified baby fish
– Pink Clawed fiddler crabs
– Ring Cowrie
– Ramshorn shell
– Honeycomb moray eel
– Occelated snake eel
– Bandtail cardinal
– Ninestripe cardinal
– Striped grunter
– one spot snapper
– Mussel cracker (juvenile)
– Big eye stumpnose (juvenile)
– small scale purse mouth
– old woman (juvenile)
– emperor angelfish (juvenile)
– double sash butterfly fish (juvenile)
– Boomerang trigger fish
– Spotted toby
And most importantly the lesser-spotted reef dwelling snorkel fish (losticus Jasonus).
After hours and hours of floating around in the estuary (it is surprisingly tiring, but well worth it) it was time to retreat back to Amangwane Kosi Bay for a braai (BBQ to us pommies) and bush TV (fire).
Steak and boerewors (sausage), pap n’ sous (local maize meal and sauce – tasty), potato salad (Africa style), coleslaw, fresh bread and salad. Needless to say we all went to bed on exceptionally full stomachs as it was too good to leave any!