The birds on Midway are like messengers, the canary in the coal mine. When the canary dies, the miners don’t run over and try to save the canary— they receive the message that bird just gave its life delivering, and then act quickly to save themselves. That approach resonates with me because it doesn’t view the birds as helpless victims that we passively observe; it places a duty on us to receive their message, and be changed by it (or not).
Rietvlei is a hidden gem in close proximity to Pretoria (18km’s) and Johannesburg (38 km’s from OR Tambo Int. Airport). The reserve covers an area of almost 3800 hectares (38km²) and can support between 1500-2000 head of game. Currently some 1,600 head of game, including blesbuck, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, eland, Burchell’s zebra, waterbuck, reedbuck, springbuck, mountain reedbuck, steenbuck and grey duiker can be viewed here.
There are other species but visit and find them for yourself From your own vehicle it is easy to spot these animals on the open endangered Bankenveld grassland plains. It is a relatively quiet unhurried reserve and well worth a full days visit. Rates are very reasonable.
The 60 km’s of tar and dirt roads in the reserve are fairly well maintained and serve for game viewing, park maintenance and for fire breaks in winter. Whilst a normal sedan can easily be driven around on the tar and most of the sand roads, there are some sections that require a vehicle with higher ground clearance. In the wet summer months I found that a double cab / bakkie with 4×4 or difflock capabilities allowed me to get into the odd area that I would not have gone with a family sedan due deep muddy ruts or washaways for fear of getting stuck. This is however the exception rather than the rule. Roads divide the reserve into 31 blocks and are well marked. A map, bird list and rules of the park are given to you when booking in. Rotation grazing is practised on the reserve by routinely burning blocks and using licks as supplementary feeding.
4 well located Bird-hides (2 on Rietvlei Dam and 1 on Marais Dam with the 4th one centrally located on marshland) and 2 main picnic areas with braai facilities are situated along these roads. There is also a very special river crossing called Otter Bridge with some wonderful wildlife (I won’t spoil it for you, go and check it out). (more…)
I’ve had the good fortune to travel around Africa on my photo tours/workshops and see many camps, lodges, parks, hotels, conference centres and the like. There are only a handful that are memorable and make you want to return time and again. Not just the scenery, wildlife, facilities and peacefulness but what really makes the difference is the people. Seokama is one of those rare places where you can relax with family and friends and truly feel at home.
At the beginning of, and throughout the summer I visit Dave, Monika, Peter, Ryan, John and Tepa. The Waterberg is one of my favourite bush-veld getaways. Whilst there are dozens of lodge choices in the area, I occasionally need some escape from the pressure of only chasing the Big 5 for clients and not focussing on the other wild and birdlife, scenery that Africa has to offer.
Seokama Private Lodge is this escape.
Lodge Building. Seokama Private Lodge.
Within walking distance from the lodge, 4 luxury canvas tents sleeping 8 on very comfy beds, each one with a covered verandah and an en-suite bathroom where the shower overlooks the bush at the back (just your head is visible!). A well appointed lodge with kitchen, lounge, bar and pool deck with views of the bush-veld savannah tucked amongst some beautiful mountains and landscape, a boma with Bush-Baby’s calling at night, has all one really needs to wind down. There is also a conference centre for hire, with facilities. Seokama has an abundance of bird life, especially around the summer rainfalls, as well as a good variety of game..
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