Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Verulam, KwaZulu/Natal
Republic of South Africa

January 02, 2008

Hello again and now officially Happy New Year!

Here in Africa, we ushered the New Year in very quietly without pomp and ceremony – but I’d be lying if I told you that a few Champagne corks were not popped. Indeed they were.

Now I am heading up the Dolphin Coast of this lovely Province toward the Elephant Coast and the Mkuze Falls Private Game Reserve where I will be on Safari in search of the Big 5 for the next three days. Part of my journey will bring me to the Lake St. Lucia area and particularly Cape Vidal, well known for its nesting turtles. Of course I will report as I move along.

But I wanted to share with you a most amazing phenomenon that I had previously heard of but never experienced. Last evening, January 01st, 2008, together with my family, we headed north toward the Dolphin Coast and in particular a tiny town called Mount Moreland. It was about 1 hour before sunset – our mission – to experience and witness first-hand the Barn Swallow roost, a phenomenon that is quite unbelievable but true.

During the South African summer months, an estimated 3 million barn swallows roost in the reeds on the Lake Victoria wetland at Mount Moreland. Just before sunset, the swallows return from foraging for insects and gather in great swirling clouds before dropping into the reeds, where they spend the night. Barn Swallows migrate from Russia each year to follow the warm weather and the insects they feed on are only around during the South African summer months. According to the Roberts Bird Guide, a distance of 7,057.5 miles was recorded when a swallow ringed in Mossel Bay in the Cape Province was found in Petrovsk, Russia. Flying only during the daylight, it took the bird 34 days to cover the distance.

Of course I have photographs to share with you and will the moment I return to the United States. They are not ‘perfect’ shots but astonishing nonetheless.

Seeing this swirling, swooping spectacle first hand was one of the most unique experiences I have ever had. You ought to experience it for yourself. The sad side to this tale is mans lust for modernization yet again. The King Shaka International Airport is being developed at nearby La Mercy. It could spell disaster for the roost site, which is the flight path for the proposed runway. Destruction of this major roost would have global repercussions and affect barn swallow populations not only in South Africa but also throughout the northern hemisphere, where they breed.

It is such a shame in my opinion that we’ll go to the utmost degree in our eternal lust for modernization paying no respect to the Earth and all its inhabitants. With my Lesotho experience behind me, I have come to re-comprehend the simplicity of life and how we constantly complicate this journey we call life!

Kenneth R. Hieber

For further information on this Safari or any other Safari in the ORIGINAL 2AFRIKA Collection, visit us on the web at

The ORIGINAL 2AFRIKA, INC. remains committed to Corporate Social Responsibility in Tourism.

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