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South Africa wildlife VII: Durban

Last weekend, I took the opportunity to travel with Dave, as he had an astronomy conference in Durban, on the other side of the country. South Africa is so huge that it takes 2 hours to fly from coast to coast, from Cape Town to Durban. We stayed at Umhlanga Rocks, a resort village just north of the city of Durban.

durban_from_cape_town

Cape Town is on the cold Atlantic Ocean, and Durban is on the warm Indian Ocean, so the climate is quite different. We’re in the middle of winter at the moment, and it can get pretty cold in Cape Town, but this is Durban’s weather:

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Not a horrible place to come for a winter weekend break! And waking up to this gorgeous sunrise over the ocean was quite nice too…

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While Dave was working, I walked along the promenade by the beach and hunted for wildlife. It’s amazing what you can find, when you really look. What’s that on the roof of that hotel?

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It’s a monkey!

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Vervet monkeys are common in Durban. We saw some from the car as we were leaving the airport, but I couldn’t stop on the highway to take photos, so I was secretly hoping I’d be able to spot one when I had my camera ready. I got lucky with this thoughtful-looking windswept monkey – doesn’t his fur look soft?

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I also spotted lots of birds that I recognised as being related to ones I know from Cape Town, but different regional varieties. I had to look them all up when I got home, like this stunning Spectacled Weaver:

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And this happy little guy is an African Pied Wagtail:

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A sunbathing skink:

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A handsome Dark-Capped Bulbul (the Cape Bulbuls I see in my garden have white rings around their eyes):

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And Common Mynas, which I didn’t expect to see in South Africa!

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I was amazed to spot this wild bee hive half-hidden beneath the leaves of an aloe:

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And very happy to see my first Speckled Mousebird (it’s hard to see in the photo, but its long tail feathers extend right down to the bottom left of the picture):

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But possibly best of all was when I spotted a pod of dolphins, swimming together in the sea!

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Although my photos don’t really capture the magic, it was just beautiful to watch as they came up to the surface and dipped under again as they swam…

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It was a lovely, if very short, getaway. My knee held up to a lot of walking, and didn’t hurt at all provided I stayed on flat, paved surfaces. So I’m definitely not up to hiking just yet, but I think I’m ready to cautiously resume my quest for wildlife. πŸ™‚

And I’m also consciously working to improve my wildlife photography skills – I don’t know if you can tell that from these photos, but I’m trying! I’ll only ever be an enthusiastic amateur in this area, and there’s a lot of luck involved in wildlife photography, but I’m happy that I managed to capture almost everything I saw last weekend in a fairly pleasing portrait. I think I’ll keep improving with more practice and trying to be more aware of lighting, surroundings, etc.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little window into some of the wildlife on the east coast of South Africa!

6 Comments »

  1. Carol Ann Hart said

    Thanks for sharing these amazing pictures. I am enjoying your trip vicariously! We saw howler monkeys on rooftops at our resort in Playa del Carmen years ago, and I was fascinated watching them.

  2. Cynthia Andre said

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your part of the world:)

  3. Martha Roseen said

    I really enjoyed your pictures I’ve tried to capture backyard and action wildlife also and I know how hard it can be. i think your pictures are good – lots of clear detail. It was interesting to see a different place than I will probably ever travel to; so thank for sharing with us all. ????????

  4. .: petrOlly :, said

    Impressive photos! Great detail (even on such small pictures) and descriptions. Isn’t it funny – in Europe you can see a sparrow or a magpie on a roof – exactly as you saw the monkeys πŸ™‚ It is always interesting to see what’s the life like somewhere else and as you happen to be so far away from where I live, it is even more exotic and thrilling πŸ™‚
    I’m very glad to hear your knee is improving! πŸ™‚

  5. Alicia said

    Love your wildlife photos. I’m not sure you are really an amateur! They always look professional to me. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Miriam said

    It sounds like it was a perfect getaway! And you certainly deserved it!! I love seeing your wildlife photos and in my opinion you do a great job with them. Thanks so much for sharing your trip with all of us!

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    June Gilbank

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