What’s happening at Shondoro

It was amazing – Birding weekend report back

Posted on 2:22 pm in General News | 0 comments

Birding weekend – March 2016! Intro: Our guests started arriving on Thursday afternoon and while they settled in and met all the other participants, all enjoyed a cup of tea and met Joe Grosel, the presenter of the weekend. Joe briefed them on plans for the weekend and soon everyone was ready to enjoy a birding walk via some of the walking trails on Shondoro. Walking trail and first evening: Everyone was very excited to go on the first walk on the property to see what was on offer. On the afternoon walk we identified amongst others, a few interesting species including Lazy Cisticola, Shelleys francolin, White-fronted Bee-eaters and Cape Vultures.  The group returned to the main venue and enjoyed a lovely sundowner sponsered by the hosts.  Joe continued to entertain everyone with a wonderful presentation about the Waterberg, Vaalwater area, history of the area and about conservation, birds and other interesting animals found in the Waterberg and Limpopo.   Friday visit to Marakele: Early Friday morning we all departed to Marakele National Park and the birding and wildlife viewing was amazing.  Cape Vultures, Gurney’s sugarbird, Cape Bunting, Buff streaked chat, Cape Rock thrush and Malachite sunbirds were just some of the bird species we identified.  The picnic breakfast on the top of the look-out point ensured spectacular views and we could enjoy the vultures soaring past at close quarters. The evening ended back at Shondoro Mountain Retreat with potjieskos and some good South African wine! Saturday – Bird ringing! Bird ringing is always part of the birding weekends offered at Shondoro and this adds fantastic value for science as well as for the participants.  The Saturday was mainly spent enjoying the bird ringing, bird identification, walking trails, a visit to Vaalwater and ended with a fantastic sundowner on the farm at a beautiful spot with stunning views.  Here the leopard even greeted us with a view grunts…    Sunday – abundant birds! Early Sunday morning on joining the bird ringers (who were already frantically removing various species of birds for the nets) there was a bit of a panic with over 50 birds been  caught in less than 45 minutes.  The day was spent watching birds been ringed as this is a great contribution to bird research and data is sent to the University of Cape Town (Safring) to assist to establish information about movement and survival of all bird species. Everyone could get very close and personal with the birds that were ringed and enjoyed taking some lovely photographs.      Thank you to everyone who attended and thank you to Joe, Quinton and Marga for contributing this this great...

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UNIQUE BIRDING AND NATURE EXPERIENCE

Posted on 11:00 am in General News | 0 comments

A UNIQUE BIRDING AND NATURE EXPERIENCE IN THE WATERBERG! 03 – 06 March 2016 The Waterberg is at its best in the late summer and Eden Routes Specialised Eco-Tours in conjunction with Shondoro Mountain Retreat have put together this unique experience and birding event from 3 – 6 March.  Imagine sundowners, bonfires, stunning mountains, abundant birds and animals! Ecologist Joe Grosel will lead this self-drive tour which will not only concentrate on the Waterberg’s interesting birdlife but will also feature this region’s mammals, plant life, geology and fascinating history. With a maximum of 10 participants, an intimate and very exclusive event is guaranteed. Our base for the four days is the lovely Shondoro Mountain Retreat located in a ‘kloof’ at the foot of the Southern Waterberg www.shondoro.com. (See programme below) Evening campfire chats and a quiz with some fantastic prizes are on offer. The event tariff is R3950 per person sharing. This includes three night’s accommodation in en-suite chalets, one light and two full meals per day, guide and entrance fees.  Fuel, personal drinks and gratuities are not included. High-clearance vehicles are advised for the day-trip to Marakele. If you don’t have such a vehicle there will be enough free seats in any of the others. Please contact Joe or Lisa Grosel at joe@tembele.co.za on 0824155250 for more information or book directly through Shondoro Mountain Retreat. Rory and Yvette Muldoon can be contacted on 0828092228 or 0606613757 or e-mail yvettemuldoon@gmail.com.  Deposit and banking details will be forwarded on confirmation.   Itinerary  Thursday 03 March Guests can start checking in at Shondoro Mountain Retreat from 14h00. After settling in and enjoying a welcome cup of tea there will be a late afternoon birding walk along one of the trails on the property. Sundowners will be served at the main lodge compliments of our sponsors and before and during dinner Joe will entertain participants with an informative and colourful presentation about the Waterberg. After dinner there will be time for a chat and star gazing before hitting the sack. Friday 04 March The day starts with the traditional coffee and rusks before we depart in convoy for the Marakele National Park. The route there takes us via the Alma Valley and the impressive Rankin’s and Bakker’s passes. After entering the park we will take a slow drive through the dry Acacia woodland and head towards the mountainous eastern region were a paved track takes one to one of the highest points in the Limpopo Province. From this vantage point it is possible to see many cliff-soaring raptors at close range including Cape Vultures, Verreaux’s Eagle, Jackal Buzzard and Peregrine and Lanner Falcons. At the top of the Waterberg Massif with its attractive Alpine vegetation, dramatic views and crisp air some very special bird species can be seen including Gurney’s Sugarbird, Short-toed Rock-thrush, Malachite Sunbird, Buff-streaked Chat and Denham’s Bustard. A picnic brunch will be served at the lookout point before we descend the mountain and make our way back to Shondoro via the town of Vaalwater. The late afternoon will be enjoyed relaxing around the camp before our hosts treat us to another delightful Waterberg dinner and bonfire under the Bushveld stars.  Saturday 05 March After an early breakfast we set off for an exciting morning exploring the central Waterberg along some...

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Late summer update

Posted on 10:23 am in Seasonal News | 0 comments

 February 2016: The heat is on! It’s been a cruel summer – with as many as 4 heatwaves between October 2015 and February 2016 and in the Limpopo area we have really learnt how to stay cool.  The Waterberg area in particular has been hit hard as well and during December a high of 46 degrees C was recorded at Shondoro Mountain Retreat.  It also seems that the rain has eluded us and although Nylstroom / Modimolle had some good downpours, we in the Vaalwater and Bushveld area have had only  60 mm since beginning of 2016. The highest temperature (before 2015/2016) was measured at 50.0 ºC on 3 November 1918 in the Sundays River valley but hopefully we have not seen that yet here in Vaalwater and surrounds!  However on 7 January 2016 Annette Venter – eNCA Meteorologist stated that after 2015 was recorded as the hottest year, 2016 has started much the same with extremely high temperatures throughout the country and that temperatures around 40 – 44 degrees C were expected, and indeed did hit us here in the Waterberg! The veld is dry and the grass and shrubs are taking strain under the continuous heat.  Although the walking trails are still a pleasure to enjoy with some veld flowers and amazing birding, it is clear that we are experiencing a drought in our Province.  The beautiful accommodation is however set under thatch and provides a cool, peaceful retreat for our guests.  The swimming pool has obviously been very popular as well and we could see our guests enjoying the coolness of the early morning (around 5h00) and going on the various walking trails on offer!...

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Summer Summer

Posted on 10:05 am in Seasonal News | 0 comments

Summer Summer 24 November 2015 Summer at Shondoro Mountain Retreat means afternoon thunderstorms, summer birds galore and new babies!  We have received wonderful rain after the devastating fire of 8 October and measured (up to date) 107 mm. The Woodlands Kingfishers arrived on Saturday, 21 November (14 days later than last year) and we are waiting for the impalas to lamb very soon.  December/January  is usually a busy time for our cottages and we hope all our guests will enjoy the summer atmosphere here between the mountains.          ...

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Walking trails and climbs…

Posted on 1:08 pm in General News | 0 comments

Walking trails and climbs…

  Feel like some amazing views, a climb and a leisurely Sunday walk? Here are a few photos from a recent walk at Shondoro in the Waterberg Area.  ...

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Civet spotted

Posted on 9:45 am in Animals at Shondoro | 0 comments

Civet spotted

A special visit from this beautiful Civet was recorded early September 2015!  Just before this photo was taken a large spotted genet took a dead bird for himself.  The Civet was sniffing to see what happened to this meal. Have a look below at the full picture below.  

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Spring is upon us

Posted on 9:00 am in Seasonal News | 0 comments

Spring is upon us

4 October 2015: A heatwave is predicted for the Gauteng and Limpopo Provinces and we can already feel it! 36 ºC and getting worse up to Thursday!  Well, lets all hope and pray that this will end with a few wonderful mm of rain!  Although we really need the rain, the veld looks lovely and green and green grass and trees with beautiful flowers and new leaves are everywhere. We will keep you posted!   Macaya bella and Small-leaved fluff-bush in bloom!  Just some of the many shrubs and trees that are displaying their beautiful colours! 12 September 2015   4 September We had our first rains last night. All of us, including the animals I am sure were relieved for the water. We measured a full 18 mm of rain in one evening. There were a few flashes of lightning but no real storm. We will update you on the process. The trees and shrubs are budding and new sweet green grass is sprouting everywhere. (Picture: Ochna pulchra (Lekkerbreek / Peeling plane in...

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Winter update

Posted on 12:24 pm in Seasonal News | 0 comments

Winter update

The last bit of the winter is upon us and the days are really getting quite warm.  We are experiencing typical August winds and we hope they will bring the rain soon.  We are enjoying the last flowering aloes and also noticed some shrubs starting to  bud!  The birds are certainly more active and we wait with abated breath for the first summer birds to arrive (around September).  As the seasons change we will keep you up to date on what is happening at Shondoro!

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Leopards at Shondoro

Posted on 12:14 pm in General News | 0 comments

Leopards at Shondoro

All staff at Shondoro Mountain retreat became aware of increased leopard activity around the cottages and facilities in the last month.  After speaking to specialist, Mr Ross Pitman who is doing research on leopards in the Waterberg and Limpopo, it seems we have nothing to be afraid of!  Our leopard population is established and happy in our area and although leopards move around and cover huge amounts of km2 as part of their territory, they may have been mating and even having cubs close by.  This means that our leopards know the area and feel at home.  It is only when we remove/shoot leopards that a problem is created, again by us as humans, and then rouge leopards and ones that may kill the cubs will move into the territory.  So we are happy to leave them in peace and enjoy their presence now and...

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Swimming Pool Upgrades

Posted on 7:07 am in Seasonal News | 0 comments

Swimming Pool Upgrades

The Waterberg can be a harsh environment and our swimming pool is a natural pool with a grey lining which is more suitable to the environment. We are constantly upgrading and maintaining Shondoro Mountain Retreat and therefore we are planting new grass seeds at the pool to ensure lush summer lawns for your enjoyment.  Please bear with us.

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