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Review of Penwarn Farm Lodge, Southern Drakensberg

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

In the beginning of July 2020, I spent a three day weekend with my family at this farm in the foothills of the southern Drakensberg. Driving from the farm gate to the reception was quite a longish drive, but I got an idea of some of the habitats and birds that I would encounter. Being mid-winter, the grasslands were both dry and straw-like, or they were recently burned. Of course burnt grasslands actually gets birders excited, and I knew to look out for species that favour this habitat, particularly Red-capped Lark, Plain-backed and Buffy Pipit. What I did see on the drive down was a number of Cape Longclaws, Ant-eating Chats and Long-tailed Widowbirds.

Cape Longclaw
Cape Longclaw

The other highlight of the grasslands were the numerous plains game that the farm had. Lots of Zebra (which got my daughter excited), as well as Red-Hartebeest, Blesbok and believe it or not a solitary Springbok (a species very uncommon to see in KZN).

Continuing on to the reception, and the grasslands soon descended down a small cliff to the valley below. This led to breath-taking views of some of the farms numerous and pristine wetlands.

Wetlands, Southern Drakensberg
Pristine Wetlands in the Valley

After checking in at reception, we were assigned to a large A-frame cottage close to a nice children’s playground for my kid, and overlooking a small dam in the distance. The cottage was fully equipped with all modern appliances and essentials (essentials in July means electric blankets!)

The cottage also came with DSTV and, and was spotlessly clean. The one mistake they made was however that they supplied an enormous bag of firewood to use for braaing. Now if you know me, then you would know that I normally like to use all the charcoal and wood I can get my hands on when braaing. In the end though I had to restrain myself as I was surrounded by bone-dry grass and a thatch roof, and I thought I better not burn this whole farm down.

A-frame Cottage, Penwarn Farm Lodge
A-Frame Cottage

I decided not to do much birding the first day, and instead relaxed and had a braai (And of course I cracked open the bottle of Reyneke Organic).</