Dullstroom Bird Of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre

This past Sunday Joubert and I had the immense privilege of visiting the Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre a stone’s throw away from the small and historic town of Dullstroom on the Mpumalanga Highveld. Tripadvisor rates it as the foremost attraction in Dullstroom – no small feat considering Dullstroom’s fame among local and international visitors alike as a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts where visitors are spoiled for choice.

With tourism being the lifeblood of the picturesque town, restrictions on travel imposed in recent months, however necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19, had a devastating effect on the local economy. As a registered NGO receiving no government support, the Dullstroom Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre relies heavily on donors, sponsors and the visiting public to fund their very important work. Their tiny staff compliment is responsible for the rehabilitation of between 80 and 200 birds of prey every year, all of them injured by or negatively impacted in another way by humans, and then releasing them back into the wild when they’ve recovered sufficiently. Only non-indigenous birds, those whose injuries are too severe to permit a fully self-sufficient life in the wild or those that are hopelessly imprinted on humans remain at the centre permanently. The love and passion these people have for their job is absolutely inspiring. If you can’t visit them in person, please visit their website and, if you are able to, assist them in their efforts by making a donation (monetary or in kind). The way Libra, an immature Bateleur that was severely injured by a vehicle a year ago, seeks comfort from handler Magdali Theron in the picture below will leave you in no doubt just how vital the work of the Dullstroom Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre is.

Libra and Magdali

Apart from the fact that it was our first chance to escape from South Africa’s heavily industrialised Gauteng Province in almost six months or that we were able to marvel at the most majestic birds of prey from close quarters, the trip was both long-awaited and memorable for another reason: being tutored by accomplished wildlife photographer Hannes Rossouw in the art of taking photographs of birds in flight. Thanks to Hannes’ unending patience and skill as an educator we hope we’ll be able to have many more images like these gracing the pages of de Wets Wild in future.

As you can imagine, after spending most of the daylight hours at the centre, we came back to Pretoria with hundreds of photo’s. In the coming days we will be using those images to tell you the stories of ten of the Dullstroom Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre’s most charismatic residents. And be sure to look out for Joubert’s images in the mix; under Hannes’ expert tutelage his photographic skills have become even more impressive (I know, I am biased).

42 thoughts on “Dullstroom Bird Of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Dankie Dina! Die voels kruip almal so diep in n mens se hart dat dit moeilik is om te kies wie my gunsteling is. Klein Vinkeltjie met sy “ag shame” lyfie, Daphne met haar liefdevolle persoonlikheid, Hali wat so lekker roep en Ashanti wat so “diva” is.

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  5. puppy1952

    Fabulous photos. What an awesome place. Great opportunity for Joubert too. It is amazing what these rehab centres do for our injured birds. There is an excellent one at the Spier estate in Stellenbosch too. Always enjoy a visit there.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thank you, Helen! It is a sad reality that our species is having an enormous impact on the wildlife that share our country and planet. Least we can do is support places like this that try to undo a bit of our damage.

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  6. Anne

    What a fantastic way to spend your own first ‘flight of freedom’: in a beautiful part of the world, with beautiful birds – and learning how to take even more beautiful photographs than the two of you take already!

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  7. H.J. for avian101

    Hurray for Joubert! He’s getting the knack of the camera. He’s going to be your star photographer.
    The rehabilitation institutions are a great help for wounded birds, especially the raptors. Great post as always, D. 🙂

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thanks, H.J. Indeed, from that day he took his first photo at just 18 months old it was clear that Joubert has a knack for the photography hobby, and what a pleasure it is for father and son to share the same interests!

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Aasvoelrestaurante en rehabilitasiesentrums is broodnodig om die negatiewe uitwerking wat ons op hierdie manjifieke voels het te probeer aanspreek. Dankie tog dat daar mense is wat genoeg omgee!

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