Birding on Paardeplaats

birding gurneys nest with chicks

The farm is covered by patches of a few different types of Protea, mainly the Silver Protea and Common Sugarbush. The Transvaal Bottle Brush is also quite common in the area and together with the Aloe Arborescence, they are the home and breeding ground for the much sought after Gurney’s Sugarbird, researched by Dawie de Swardt of the National Museum in Bloemfontein.

Paardeplaats’ Jesus Hill features on the international birding atlas and the Mpumalanga Nature Conservation Map as highly sensitive, because of the sugarbird’s association with these trees. The sugarbirds do not only forage mainly on the nectar of the Protea flowers, but also use the trees as their main nesting sites. Their nests are even lined with Protea seeds.

We have a bird-list of about 200 bird species which have been recorded in the Lydenburg area by Dawie in his years of research on the farm and surrounds.

The area close to the Anglo Boer War forts, because of its remote situation, is a popular breeding site for Denham’s Bustards in early spring.

bird list1Blue Cranes have a couple of favoured breeding sites on the farm in late spring, early summer.

The garden around the Miners’ Canteen and the bedrooms is home to a host of interesting, different birds – enjoy the early morning symphony. Species such as Barthroathed Apalis, Drakensberg Prinia, Cape White-eye, Cape Robin-chat, Redwinged Starling and Cape Rock Thrushes are resident here. In winter, look out for sunbirds (Malachite, Greater Double-collared and Amethyst) and of course the Gurney’s Sugarbirds visit the aloes on the nearby krantzes, in autumn and winter.

In the near future we will be setting up a “Vulture Restaurant” opposite the roosting site on the cliffs in “Masjienkloof”, with a hide, for research purposes. Watch this spot for developments!


Rescue team finds missing girl (7) unharmed

Volunteers responded when the alarm was raised after the girl did not return from a walk with her dog.

22 December 2012 | Mireille de Villiers

LYDENBURG – The family of a little girl who went missing at a lodge yesterday, had a restless night when rescue workers initially couldn’t find her on the rocky terrain.

They continued with the rescue operation and found the seven-year old girl from Potchefstroom in North West at Paardeplaats Lodge early this morning.

Mr Lloyd Turck, a training officer and volunteer with Off Road Rescue Unit (Orru) Nelspruit, said the alarm was raised last night when she went for an exploratory walk on the property with a dog. The animal returned without her.

The rescue team, comprising members of Orru, White River police’s dog unit, the SAPS diving unit, Phoenix Security and volunteers from surrounding farms, started looking for the girl at around 20:00 last night.

Conrad and Sanlie Middelberg with their daughters, Elizca (7), Karin (6) en Sané (2). Photo: Gerda Whitehorn.

When their search of the hills and streams proved fruitless, it was called off for the night at around 01:00 this morning.

Turck said they covered an extensive area during that time.

When the search resumed at first light this morning, just after 05:00, they searched the nearby canyon too.

She was found unharmed at around 08:00.

According to Turck, she was about four kilometres from the lodge, but in the opposite direction of where they had been looking until then.

He said a medical evaluation showed she was unhurt.

Lydenburg Accommodation

Looking for good accommodation in Lydenburg then look no further than Paardeplaats Nature Retreat.

Set on Long Tom pass you will truly start to feel the great outdoors associated with accommodation in Lydenburg, only 12 km from town on the Long Tom Pass.

The January Floods at Paardeplaats

The Lowveld was hit by floods in January 2012 and Paar

deplaats had our own fair share of water