The barn swallows of Mt Moreland

On Friday we did something I’ve been wanting to do for a while – we headed out to Mt Moreland (just outside of Durban) and watched the barn swallows congregate around Lake Victoria and then swoop down to roost in the reedbeds of the lake.  They join up in large groups and circle around the lake for about half an hour before descending en masse to the reeds.  It was quite spectacular.  Not sure of the exact number of swallows but they were in their thousands.

We had some friends visiting from Ireland and, coincidentally, there was an Irish film crew there who are planning to follow the swallows back to Europe.

Lake Victoria Conservancy

Lake Victoria Conservancy

A barn swallow picnic

A barn swallow picnic

Barn swallows getting ready for the swoop

Barn swallows getting ready for the swoop

More on the swallows: The first Barn Swallows of Mt Moreland arrive at the begin of October and reach numbers of + 3 million and provide amazing displays every evening. Swallow watchers need to get there by 5pm – latest 5.30 pm – to see the display and watch the swallows go down at 6.15pm. Times vary with the sunset. Traditionally November, December and March are the best viewing months although sunsets in January, February provide a better backdrop.  There is no entrance fee but there are  swallow booklets and memorabilia available.  You need to bring chairs, drinks and snacks, anti mossie spray, binoculars. Toilets are available during viewing times over weekends and usually on weekdays.

Directions: From Durban go towards Umhlanga on the N2 and take the Umdhloti/Verulam offramp just after Umhlanga.  Turn left and then take the very next dirt road to the right. There are signs on that dirt road that will direct you to the swallows.

5 Responses to The barn swallows of Mt Moreland

  1. emme November 16, 2009 at 12:31 pm #

    spectacular! looks like a lekker reunion of sorts too, bunch of people who haven’t shared a picnic blanket in many years.

  2. mol-d November 16, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    wow! looks cool… i will have to check it out…

  3. smile November 16, 2009 at 7:02 pm #

    yeah, its well worth a visit. I can’t believe its taken me so long to get out there as its so close to Durban 🙂

  4. Louise January 4, 2010 at 9:36 am #

    We went to see the swallows for the first time on 1 January 2010. What a wonderful New Year’s Day treat!! I cannot emphasize enough that those who live in Durban and its surrounds visit this site. It is absolutelu awesome!
    I will certainly be going back before they leave this year!
    By the way, they do ask for an amount of R10 per car as payment, and books and badges are available!

  5. Esa January 28, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    Nice to see that Europaean swallows are giving you spectacular aerial shows. Also Finnish birds should be among the three million individuals. Do you happen to know when the spring departure takes place?

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