Collywobbles Cape Vulture Colony





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  1. #1
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    Default Collywobbles Cape Vulture Colony

    For anyone interested in a nice outing, Collywobbles Cape Vulture colony along the Mbashe river is home to over 200 nesting birds on the last count taken in September this year.


    The breeding cliffs are 36 kilometers from Dutywa in the Transkei, 5 kilometers along the N2 and the remaining 31 kilometers is reasonably maintained dirt road.


    The final kilometer was never drivable due to condition and gradient but over the past few years there have been significant signs of improvement in order to try and make life easier for locals that live beyond the cliffs.


    This is an area I have frequented most years to photograph vultures.


    During my first visit the cliffs were void of anything but recent years I have witnessed many dwellings being built accompanied by kraals and crops.


    This year was particularly disturbing regarding litter. Derrek, a local friend that assists environmentalists to collect vital data from these birds shared contact details with me in order report my concern to environmental affairs.


    Status quo is they will report my findings to a committee and will report back. Furthermore, they assure me that education is their main priority and will also make contact with local Chiefs hoping to prevent further settlements as eviction is out of the question.


    There are also plans to try and fence off what vacant land there is left and converting it into a conservation area.


    This initiative was unfortunately started too late hence why they are nowin such a predicament to try and save what remains.


    Attached are a handful of images I took from two trips that include directions and Derrek
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    Last edited by Roberto Betta; 2017/12/07 at 06:05 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Collywobbles Cape Vulture Colony

    .....
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  5. #3
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    Default Re: Collywobbles Cape Vulture Colony

    Some nice shots! Will keep the track in mind when visiting the area.
    Sent from my iPhone


  6. #4
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    Default Re: Collywobbles Cape Vulture Colony

    Awesome thanks, will definitely make a note of the track for a outing.

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    Default Re: Collywobbles Cape Vulture Colony

    Hi Roberto,

    Thanks for the info! I've heard about this colony from a friend and am planning to visit it next month. Could you provide any pointers on the following:
    • When is the best time to visit - morning or afternoon?
    • Do I need to contact anyone for access / booking beforehand or is it just arrive and watch?
    • Any costs to visiting the site?


    Any other relevant info would be appreciated. Thank you!
    Mooti

  8. #6
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    Default Re: Collywobbles Cape Vulture Colony

    We were there end of October. Awesome spot but unfortunately no decent camera.

    Access is open as the locals live right there. It's best to try and position yourself as close to the cliff edge as possible (we actually drove right up to the edge) as the vultures use the airflow/thermals up the side of the cliff face to glide on. They will pass literally within meter of you.

    Just be very aware of the locals. They will unfortunately surround you within minutes with the younger ones demanding sweets and money, while the older ones demand money and data. Everything you do is watched and turned into an opportunity. We had a self appointed car guard, despite the fact that we were sitting on the bull bar all the time. My wife picked up a feather that came spiraling down from one of the birds. Within 2 minutes we had hords of kids collecting feathers that they tried to sell to us.

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    Last edited by ghouwens; 2021/01/19 at 08:59 PM.
    Guy B. Vergoes Houwens
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  9. #7
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    Default Re: Collywobbles Cape Vulture Colony

    Good advice from Guy.

    To add, the best time to visit for photography in particular is in the afternoon as the sun will be behind you when looking at the cliff.

    The dam wall (visible to your left when you reach the cliffs) is also worth a quick visit. Interesting fact is a 1.4 kilometre tunnel was dug from the dam wall through the cliff to the power station (also visible to your right) on the other side diverting water and bypassing 34 kilometres of meandering river.

    You will enjoy it.

  10. #8
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    Default Re: Collywobbles Cape Vulture Colony

    Quote Originally Posted by Roberto Betta View Post
    Good advice from Guy.

    To add, the best time to visit for photography in particular is in the afternoon as the sun will be behind you when looking at the cliff.

    The dam wall (visible to your left when you reach the cliffs) is also worth a quick visit. Interesting fact is a 1.4 kilometre tunnel was dug from the dam wall through the cliff to the power station (also visible to your right) on the other side diverting water and bypassing 34 kilometres of meandering river.

    You will enjoy it.
    Do not trust the Google Earth or GPS coordinates. The ones I had led us to an area just outside Elliotdale, far from where we wanted to be.

    The snapshot below shows where you want to be. Park anywhere along the cliff indicated in green, but preferably on the far end closest to where the green arrow is pointing, which will be further away from the local's houses. The vultures circle and use the thermals along the orange spiral. The dam wall is indicated by the blue arrow, the route of the pipeline via the blue dotted line and the actual power station in the blue circle. Sadly, this power station is all silted up and no longer in use.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by ghouwens; 2021/01/20 at 06:56 AM.
    Guy B. Vergoes Houwens
    2014 LC76 4.5 V8

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