10 – 12th July 2020
Last weekend as the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park had opened for day visits our family headed north and found the parks to be in excellent condition. During the lock down the roads have all been repaired and the honorary Rangers have done a great job working most weekends renovating the picnic spots and the toilets. The animals as usual were very obliging, although we didn’t spot any of the cats. Some visitor did report wild dogs in the Hluhluwe section, but most people just seemed excited to back in their favourite park.
The highlight of our birding was actually outside the park at the north end of the Lake Saint Lucia estuary where thousands of Lesser Flamingos forage – a truly beautiful sight at sun set! Pied Avocet were also present in abundance
In the park there were plenty of White-backed Vultures and Fly-catchers of every type- suggesting that the insect populations and general environment are very healthy. Raptors seemed scarce although we did see one Brown Snake-eagle, several Bateleur, a possible Wahlberg’s Eagle and a Long-crested Eagle.
Altogether, we identified 68 bird species, which will be added to once we have sorted out some of the LBJs. These included a flock of Crested Francolins with chicks, a pair of Wattled Lapwings, a Bearded Woodpecker, White-browed Scrub – robins and African Pipits. There were plenty of White-fronted Bee-eaters, Crested Barbets, Little Bee-eaters and kingfishers which added colour.
Cengeni gate, the hides and accommodation are all closed but you can purchase snacks and fuel. The gates open at 06h00 but at that time we encountered long queues taking about an hour to clear. The next day an hour later it took only a few minutes to complete all the usual Covid checks. Get a road report before you go because there have been a lot of service delivery protests in the area, with blocked roads etc.
Enjoy your visit.
Mike and Jill du Trevou
All photos: Mike du Trevou