Without any booking we drove up to Blouberg Nature Reserve. Blouberg is situated in the province of Limpopo in South Africa and is ‘known’ for its enormous population of Cape Vultures that are nesting here. This was the main reason for our visit to the nature reserve.
Just pick a spot
When we arrived they looked a bit surprised that we didn’t have a reservation but after a short phone call from the guy at the gate to some other person we were allowed to enter the reserve. The description of the location of the campsite was short and sound: go straight, turn to your left and just pick a spot. This is what we did when we were there and so it happened that we were camping at spot number five near the ablutions.
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A ‘relaxing’ sunset drive
When we were done with our ‘arrival ritual’ (unpack the chairs, fold out the table) we decided to make a short sunset drive. It helped that we had the site of Blouberg still open on our phone so we could download this little map that’s on there. With this tiny map we headed in the direction of the even smaller picture of a vulture: the nesting place of the vultures.
It was easier said that done. We started out great but we soon noticed that we had to go in between two mountains to get to the other side of the mountains. This wasn’t the Kruger National Park with it’s perfect offroad tracks. Although we made it quite far there was one road where the descent was so steep and rocky that we had to stop. Jolene decided to check out the rocks from a bit closer (she fell on the rocks) and the car only just managed to reverse on this steep road. Mission failed.
Time for a ranger at Blouberg
While enjoying our noodles we decided to go along with a ranger the following day. At 7.00am our ranger for the day, Ruan, arrived in his great Toyota Land Cruiser out of the seventies. Ruan told us that it would take about two hours to get to the vultures and that he doesn’t take the road that we took the day before. It was pretty pleasant to hear that ;-). We stopped to check out some smaller birds before we arrived at the Cape Vultures colony.
Over 2000 (!) vultures
As said before Blouberg is the place to go to if you want to see vultures. However we didn’t know that there were more than 2000 of them! The Cape Vultures nest along the steep cliffs of two mountains in the reserve. Ruan taught us that vultures only fly when the air is warm enough to ‘hover’. Vultures use these thermals to clap there wings as little as possible an move on from one thermal to the other. When we arrived at the cliffs we literally saw hundreds of vultures flying over the mountains. Very impressive! The photos that we took however don’t do right to the spectacular sight that this was.