Diana and David's visit to South Africa 2010 - Richmond

We picked Diana and David up from the new King Shaka International airport which is 30km north on Durban around midday and drove back to Richmond.

On Sunday we visited the African Bird of Prey Sanctuary (S29 40.630 E30 30.869) which is not far from Pietermaritzburg.( Pat and Colin visited the Sanctuary earlier this year and recommended it.)

An important focus of the Sanctuary is the rescue, treatment, rehabilitation and release of injured or orphaned birds of prey. These birds are not on show to the public as it's important that they do not become accustomed to people if they are to be sucessfully released into the wild.

There is a section of the Sanctuary on show to the public where birds that are either captive-bred or are non-releasable due to permanent injuries and are housed in large aviaries

We really enjoyed walking around and having a close look at the raptors on show. We bought a 'self-guided tour' booklet which gives individual information about the birds - their name and the reason they cannot be released. Here are just a few of them:

Bodecia, a bateleur eagle with a damaged wing and lives with Leo and Portia.

2 captive-bred marabou storks.. The one at the front has a deformed beak - the other stork feeds it!

Solo, a lanner falcon, was illegally removed from a nest. During his rehabilitation he became semi-imprinted on humans and so could not be released.

Mable is a cape eagle owl and was hit by a car. She is missing the tip of one wing so cannot survive in the wild


The Sanctuary also gives flying displays which lasted for an hour or so and was very interesting.

There were 5 different birdsflown, a cape eagle owl, a pale chanting goshawk, a yellow-billed kite, a barn owl and a peregrin falcon.

Shannon is in charge of the flying display and gives an excellent commentary about the birds - interesting and entertaining.

Pale chanting goshawks perch on trees and overhead wires seaching for insects on the ground. This one spent most of his display hunting on the ground and was reluctant to fly up onto Shannon's arm.

Barn owl.

Yelllow-billed kite.

We decided to 'adopt' a bird and chose Oscar-Wol, a wood owl - when we walked around 'Hoot Hollow,' where the owls live, he sat on this branch blinking and winking at us.

Oscar-Wol lives with 2 female wood owls, Squiff, who has a broken wing,and Co, who is blind.

After Oscar-Wol joined them Co promptly laid an egg, which she and Squiff amazingly incubated, hatched and raised together.. Co has recently laid another egg which she and Squiff are looking after.

On Monday we spent the morning packing the truck as we were leaving for the Drakensberg the following day and then we drove into Pietermaritzburg as we'd booked a meal at RJs steakhouse for all the family to celebrate Kevin's ... birthday - it was a public holiday on Monday so everyone except Des and Greg, who live in Johannesburg, was able to come.

1. Richmond.

2. Giant's Castle and Royal Natal Reserves, Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal.

3. Rorke's Drift, Isandlwana and Blood RIver battlefields, KwaZulu-Natal.

4. Hlane Royal National Park,, Swaziland.

5. Kruger National Park.

6. Arathusa Safari Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

7. Drakensberg Escarpment, Mpumalanga.

8. Johannesburg.

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