Limpopo Province, South Africa. 2011 - 2012 - Chelmsford Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal

We spent a couple of nights at Chelmsford Dam on our way north and another 2 nights on our way back to Richmond. It's a lovely reserve with a couple of campsites next to the dam. The Reserve is run by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. It's quite close to the town of Newcastle so at weekends and holidays it's popular with fishermen and for watersports but during the week it's quiet.

There are 2 campsites, Leokop (S27 57.784 E29 54.713) and Sandford (S28 00.095 E29 53.207). Sandford is better maintained with 20 pitches next to the dam but Leokop is OK, just check the power points before you set up camp as some don't work. Ablutions are clean at both sites. A site with power cost R130 per night.

As it was summer, and therfore towards the end of the rainy season, the landscape was looking lush and green - so different from what it's like in the winter after months of no rain.

The Reserve has the largest population of oribi in Southern Africa. These small antelope used to be common in KZN but have lost much of their habitat (grassland) to farming.

Summer is also a great time for bird watching

This fiscal shrike had a nest at the campsite and was kept busy feeding 4 babies.

We saw this little grebe sitting on a nest at a small dam on the Reserve.

Summer is also the season that many animals have their young. As well a baby zebras we saw springbok, blesbok and wildebeest with youngsters. Much of the Reserve is grassland so it's very easy to spot the animals.

One evening it became overcast and very windy so we were glad to be able to sit inside the awning.

We could see thunderstorms all around us but there was no rain that evening so we sat and watched the wonderful 'son et lumiere' show. There was thunder grumbling all around us with occassional loud crashes overhead and there was both sheet and bolt lightening in several directions. We'd never seen anything like some of the bolts, one looked like a starburst, starting from one point and then moving out in several directions at once - amazing.

We saw lots of anteating chats which made good use of the ternmite mounds.


1. Chelmsford Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal

2. Marakele National Park, Limpopo

3. Mapungubwe National Park, Limpopo

4. Punda Maria, Kruger National Park, Limpopo

Diary (word document)


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