Vultures Of Lammergeier Hide

Posted On December 27, 2009 

Common Info:

Lammergeier Private Nature Reserve is located in the southernmost end of the Drakensberg Mountain ranges between Lady Grey and Barkly East in the Eastern Cape in South Africa. This picturesque reserve spread over 8,000 hectares of land has been awarded with several conservation awards and it is home to several endemic birds and animals.

Country Info:

Lammergeier Hide is situated in the Giants castle reserve in the Drakenberg. Lammergeier is the other name of the Bearded Vulture, an endangered bird of prey. Bird enthusiasts make prior arrangements to wait in the Lammergeier Hide to get glimpse of wide range of Lammergeiers, Black eagles, Cape vultures, Jackal buzzards, Lanner falcons and other raptors that are lured to feed on animal carcasses kept therein. Lammergeiers were believed to have gone extinct in South Africa even three decades ago.

Giants Castle Game Reserve:

Giants Castle in Kwa-Zulu Natal province features an exciting range of habitats. Besides the Eland and the Bearded Vultures, Eland antelope and Baboons are also commonly visible. Mountain Reedbuck antelopes are also occasionally spotted. San Art Museum is another major attraction here. Hiking and breathtaking views of the scenery here make the game reserve an ideal place for tourists. During summer, the reserve is open from 5 am till 7 pm while in winter, from 6 am till 6 pm.

Giants Castle Game Reserve

How to reach Giants Castle Game Reserve:

Reach the town of Estcourt, which is 50 kiilometres away and follow the signs to Giant’s Castle. Go west and the dirt road passes through a rural area into Bushman’s River Valley, crossing the river twice along the way, and finally turning up-river to the park gate.

What to carry:

A daypack or backpack is required while walking or hiking in the reserve. Also walking socks, boots, stout shoes, raincoat, hat and warm clothing are required. One needs to carry his/her own sleeping bag as well. Trout fishermen need to bring their own rods and flies

Bearded Vulture:

Bearded vulture is a shy but intelligent bird, which lives on remote mountains and cliffs (at an altitude between 1,600 to 13,000 feet) in southern Africa, Europe and India and Tibet. These vultures have even been spotted at an altitude of 24,000 feet. Take an instance of its intelligence. These vultures carry bones of the prey high up in the air and drop them on the hard rocks below so that they crack and they can reach out to the nutritious marrow inside that constitutes 90 per cent of their diet (it is for this characteristic that these birds are also called ‘Ossifrage’ meaning ‘bone breakers’). These vultures lay 1-2 eggs in mid-winter (mid-December to mid-February), which hatch within a month’s time. The infants take just over four months before they start fledgling.

The feeding season of the vulture hide is from May to September booking for which starts in the previous November (Tel: 036-3533718, fax 036-3533775).

Bearded Vulture

Physical features of lammergeier Vultures:

These birds, unlike many other vulture species, do not have bald head. They are generally 37-49 inches long with a wingspread of nearly 10 feet and weighs 5-8 kilograms. They also have long wedge-shaped tail feathers.

The adult vultures have a buff-yellow body and head. Their tail feathers and wings are gray in colour. The juvenile birds are overall in colour and take five years or so to attain full maturity. The Lammergeiers are generally silent but for the shrill whistles that they give from the breeding crags.

Attractions at lammergeier:
  • Birding
  • Vulture breeding sanctuary excursions
  • Mountain biking
  • Hiking trails (Day trails for 2-5 days)
  • Horse riding trails (Guided full-day trails)
  • Wild Trout Fishing
  • Ultra race named ‘Skyrun’
  • High altitude training
  • White water tubing
  • Witteburg Skywalk
  • Table Mountain Trail
  • Pelion Valley Walk
  • Stargazing (from May to September)
  • Wing Shooting and Hunting (in winters only)
  • Golfing (45 minutes from the reserve)
  • Bushmen Painting and Rock Art Excursions
  • Snow skiing trips during day
  • Visiting reverse railway tracks
Time to visit the Lammergeier Hide:

May to September is the best time to visit the reserve

Accommodations at Lammergeier:
  • Woodlands Self-Catering College near the Karnemelkspruit stream
  • Ossa Guesthouse
  • Mtombo Hiking Hut
  • Olympus Guesthouse
  • Pelion Farmhouse
Staying at Giants Castle
  • There is only one rest camp at Giants Castle that offers self-catering bungalows, cottages and lodge. Cooks are available on hand.

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One Response to “Vultures Of Lammergeier Hide”
  1. Nicolas says:

    When I really feel to reach high I guess this African mountain is the best place to be surrounded by.. Simply perfect for a mountainer and bird lover to enjoy the nature!

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