A good friend of mine, Peter McKellar, recently paid a visit to the Vulture Hide at Giants Castle.
He sent me a few photos and after some research, Giants Castle now features high on my wish list.
Giant’s Castle Game Reserve is considered the home of the eland and the majestic bearded vulture. Giants Castle lies in the Central Drakensberg region of the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site.
The Vulture hide gives visitors a chance to see some of the impressive raptors that patrol the skies here. The most rare of all is the Bearded Vulture, once known as Lammergeier, a moniker which was wrongly attributed by farmers who thought that these birds caught lambs, and therefore did their best to poison these birds. Subsequent research has shown that these impressive vultures are in fact scavengers, and mostly prefer eating bones from dead animals. There aren’t many of them left in Southern Africa – there are only a handful of nests left, and all are restricted to the high mountains of Lesotho and South Africa.
Other birds that can typically be seen at the vulture hide are Cape Vultures, and a variety of buzzards, eagles and ravens. The best time of year to go to the hide is between May and September, mid-winter.
Giants Castle is one of the finest places in South Africa where one can consistently get high quality images of the endangered bearded vulture (lammergeier) as well as other magnificent raptors and has become a favourite place for keen bird photographers.
To read more see Insider’s Guide: Top Wildlife Photography Spots in South Africa by Shem Champion