above, the Champagne Valley
Earlier this week I returned from a wonderful trip to South Africa for South African Tourism. I spent a few days in the Drakensburg Mountains as part of their Through the Lens series. I have to say the Drakensburg were wonderful. I was expecting a cinematic, wide screen landscape. As you can see by the photo above and below it did not disappoint.
above, Cathedral Peak
But there were many surprises along the way.
above, Gamepass rock art panel detail
Another thing that was surprising was the bird life. Those large open skies are home to a huge variety of birds. There are dove, vultures, owls and most impressive, the Black Eagle.
This bird is HUGE. It has a wingspan over 6 feet. I photographed the eagle at a raptor rehabilitation center and I must have missed the part of the prep talk where the handler said that if the bird was flying straight towards me I should duck down. On this pass he went right over my head, hitting me with his tail. The handler said I was lucky he didn't land on my head!
As large as they are the Eagles are still harassed by crows.
As soon as this eagle would take off a pair of nesting crows near by would try attacking the much larger bird. It made for an incredible display.
We covered a lot of ground in a very little time in the Drakensburg. One morning flying over part of the range in a helicopter I kept looking down at places I'd like to return to. Every time we would cross a new hill there seemed to be a hidden valley that could do with some exploration.