Updated: Oct 19
Following on from Part 1 of my Zululand Spectacular. Dave, Brad, and me arrived at Bayala Nyala Breeders on the afternoon of the 10th October.
Upon entering the property you could see it was a really good habitat for birds. The farm consisted of mainly acacia woodland, as well as some grassland areas. An immature Bateleur was seen in a dead tree before we got to the accommodation. We then met up with the rest of the crew for the weekend, which consisted of Roger Hogg and his family, as well as Mervyn, Stewart and Nols.
Roger was the first to greet us, and he casually told us that one of the trips target birds, and a bird I honestly didn’t think we would see, was a mere common “garden” bird at the lodge. This was the Bennet’s Woodpecker, which is a pretty difficult bird to come across in KZN. He was sitting at a table on the lodge’s expansive verandah with his laptop editing some award winning photos of the Bennet’s that he had already photographed, as well as a real skulker, that being a Gorgeous Bushshrike.
So I don’t even think we had time to pack our bags in our rooms, before we were all running off into the woodland area in front of the verandah to find the Bennet’s. As it happened we found it quickly. It posed for a while, and I quickly got some habitat photos, but nothing like the stunning close-ups that Roger had achieved.
We then relaxed for a bit, before the whole group went off for a birding walk of the property. The weather wasn’t great (windy again), but we got to see a good number of species including Burnt-necked Eremomela, Brubru, Grey-headed Bushshrike, Common Scimitarbill, White-winged Widowbird, Long-tailed Paradise Whydah, Wahlberg’s Eagle, White-backed Vultures and Grey Tit-Flycatchers to name a few.
There was also another species we saw, and one that followed our every move a mere 5 meters behind us at times. This was one of the farms tame Ostriches, although I was still a bit scared of it.
We of course also enjoyed the beautiful game on the farm, which as the name suggests mainly consisted of very friendly Nyala.
In the early evening we relaxed on the expansive verandah overlooking the pristine bushveld, and Roger was kind enough to give me half his bottle of red wine (I think it was Warwick First Lady) Thanks Roger.
After that it was off to the Baobab Inn for a delicious meal. I downed a whole large pizza while observing the very lively table next to ours.
That concludes Part 2 of my Zululand Spectatcular. Although this part is fairly short, I decided it needed a separate mention, as Bayala Nyala is a truly special lodge, with a very comfortable and luxurious feel, all while offering very reasonable rates. It is also situated in the absolute ideal spot in the heart of Zululand. It is a mere stone’s throw from the Manyoni Private Game Reserve, while also being the ideal base to explore other Zululand birding destinations e.g. Pongola, Mkhuze, St Lucia, and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi.
It was an absolute pleasure staying there. If you would also like to visit there, then why not check them out, as they are now featured in our very own Accomodation Directory which is targeted at the avi-tourism industry. https://www.thebirdinglife.com/bayala-nyala-breeders
Look out for Part 3 of my Zululand Spectacular which will feature the Manyoni Private Game Reserve. A big thank you goes out to Roger Hogg for letting me use his stunning photos for this article.