Tall grass and thick mist – a wonderful long-weekend retreat!
We recently spent a very relaxing long weekend at one of our favourite small wild places, the beautiful and little-known Chelmsford Nature Reserve in the north-west of Kwazulu-Natal Province.
The reserve must have received good rainfall during the summer, as almost the entire area was covered in tall, green grass, which made it difficult to get good sightings (and photographs) of Chelmsford’s star attraction: the oribi, a small and endangered species of antelope.
We spent three nights in our comfortable chalet, one of only eight at the Leokop Camp on the bank of the Ntshingwayo Dam. The reserve also offers shady campsites at the dam’s edge, and it is easy to see why so many people enjoy pitching a tent or unhitching their caravan in such an idyllic setting.
The reserve doesn’t have any dangerous large animals, allowing visitors to walk or cycle around among the game to their hearts’ content. Plains zebra, blesbok, springbok and black wildebeest were plentiful, and we also had numerous, if fleeting, sightings of smaller animals like the oribi, cape fox, and a number of mongooses.
Chelmsford is also a renowned bird-watching destination, and during our stay we ticked of more than 70 feathered species including a variety of raptors.
Surrounding a large body of water and with the mornings here in South Africa turning rather chilly now, it wasn’t surprising to find the reserve blanketed in thick fog every morning.
We’ve always found a visit to Chelmsford to be well worth our while and we will definitely return as often as we possibly can – a resolution our latest visit reaffirmed.
Have a look at an earlier blogpost of ours on Chelmsford here, if you’d like to read more of our impressions of this wonderful nature reserve. During our visit, we tried to post a daily photo as well, which you may not have seen yet: 21/03/2013, 22/03/2013 and 23/03/2013.