Skip to Content

Re: Golden Gate Vulture restaurant & Hide

Golden Gate, Mapungubwe, Marakele
User avatar
granjan
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 565
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2007 12:20 am
Location: cornwall uk

Re: Golden Gate Vulture Hide

Unread postby granjan » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:18 pm

Hi Son Godin, great pics!
There was no charge for the key but the receptionist didn't seem to know what was happening. After a bit of discussion, she gave us the key and we gave her our mobile number and said to phone us if she wanted the key back.
We didn't get a call so dropped the key back early the next morning. [we were staying at the Mountain Retreat.]
She did say that no decision had been made about charging but gave the impression that this was likely in the future.
They do need to sort this out. There was another chap in the hide who came through to the photography section after we'd opened it - no problem as we asked him if he wanted to - but I can imagine there might be problems if the rules aren't very specific. :(
Great facility though and hopefully will produce fabulous sightings in the future!

Wonderful bald ibis pic! No luck for me, I'm afraid.
We had a wonderful trip up the Sani Pass, but no bald ibis.

shortcourse
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:58 pm
Location: Pietermaritzburg

Re: Golden Gate Vulture Hide

Unread postby shortcourse » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:50 pm

As far as I am aware at present there is no charge and no charge is likely until they organise toilet facilities. There is no sign post to the vulture hide although it's the only turn-off on the Oribi Loop (other than to Highlands) so can't really miss it. Lots of jackal in the area now as a result of the hide - we had a quick look in to check it out - no vultures but lots of crows! Certainly a bit of a smell but looks very nice. SO commented that the hide was not the cleanest but I didn't really notice. The photographers section was unlocked when we went there so I took a couple of pics - the carcasses were quite far out so you need at least 400mm lens and even then probably need to crop a bit. The flaps unfortunately fall down onto your camera body so may need some safety pins / velcro to solve this problem but no major issue
Such a pretty area and a real bonus to have the vulture hide there - hopefully it will encourage vultures over time - I have heard that while the vultures may not necessarily be visiting the hide as frequently as one would like, it is benefitting them as for example the jackals will steal meat / bones from the carcasses and take it off elsewhere and the vultures obviously can then also access this source so hopefully the population will increase!

User avatar
JenB
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 18227
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:41 pm
Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.

Re: Golden Gate Vulture Hide

Unread postby JenB » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:36 am

Son godin, we found Bald Ibis on the entrance road to the Basotho Cultural Village.
Two weeks ago we found a couple in a field just before Harrismith so they are definitely in that area.
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France

User avatar
Imberbe
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 14505
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:28 am
Location: Pretoria, RSA

Re: Golden Gate Vulture Hide

Unread postby Imberbe » Sat Aug 31, 2013 2:38 am

Any time is a good time to visit. It has stunning views even when there is no wildlife around.

Visitors do not have the opportunity to scatter bones.

We have been there a number of times an twice had the privilege of seeing bearded vultures. Also jackal a number of times and smaller birds are almost always around.

The photography area is locked and you need to pay to use it. The key is at reception at Glenn Rheenen. The public area is however open and there is no fee.
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org


One positive deed is worth more than a thousand critical words.

User avatar
JDW
Posts: 242
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 7:47 pm
Location: West Sussex, England

Re: Golden Gate Vulture Hide

Unread postby JDW » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:57 pm

Imberbe
We are visiting Golden Gate in October.
What is the advantage of using the photography area over the public area.
Is food for the vultures placed daily or other specific times.
Regards
JDW
2015 - Jun/Jul - Scotland
2015 - Sep - North Wales
2016 - South Africa/USA/Canada?

User avatar
Imberbe
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 14505
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:28 am
Location: Pretoria, RSA

Re: Golden Gate Vulture Hide

Unread postby Imberbe » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:16 am

The two sections are part of the same building. When booking the photography area you will have exclusive use of this section. It is separated by a door from the rest of the hide. Both the public area and the photography area have one direction windows shielding you from view.

The photography area has sections cut in to the window through which you can place your camera lenses to eliminate shooting through a window. If I remember correctly there are three (?) such openings. These have canvas coverings which can be lifted.

Food is not placed daily and I don't know the exact schedule.

Remember that the one major attraction at this hide is the possibility of seeing the bearded vulture. Their main diet is the bones and the marrow it contains. So a fresh carcass is not needed.

It is the hide with the best possible scenery. It gives a magnificent backdrop to any photo and is worth a photo by itself.
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org


One positive deed is worth more than a thousand critical words.

User avatar
PNF
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 3337
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:09 pm
Location: In the heart of the Waterberg; Deep in Limpopo

Re: Golden Gate: Vulture restuarant

Unread postby PNF » Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:14 pm

Don't know when last a carcass was placed there but we were told in June by Reception at Golden Gate that feeding is totally dependant on donations of carcasses by the local farmers and that this is irregular - maybe once or twice a month. No carcass was placed during our one week stay in that area.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Benjamin Franklin

Us and The Ant:
Shingwedzi 20 - 24 Aug
Tsendze 24 Aug - 5 Sept

User avatar
Bwana_Kidogo
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:45 pm
Location: Gauteng, South Africa

Re: Golden Gate: Vulture restuarant

Unread postby Bwana_Kidogo » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:33 pm

I went to the hide this time last year (August 2013) and found it to be a wonderful addition to GGHNP. Sadly no recent carcasses being present and that which was there having been picked pretty clean. Parks staff could not tell me when carcasses would be delivered as it seems to be on an irregular donation basis by local farmers.
Anyway I sat for quite some time in the hide and made use of the photographic area with my wife and son and 2 friends. The door to the photo section was unlocked and we entered it without a problem.
I returned to the hide today (Aug 19 2014), a year later and was pleasantly surprised to see they had added a toilet facility and that two 3/4 day old zebra carcasses had been placed there, neither of which had been eaten much at all. A blacked back Jackal was feasting, however no raptors.
Sadly the photographic area door was locked, I couldn't get in! I could only use the general viewing which is not ideal for photography as this is a sealed windowed area.
I've trolled everywhere online to find out if there is now suddenly a booking procedure and with whom as the local staff at Glen Reenen GGNP know less than anything about it. I will stop past the GGHNP Hotel tomorrow at 8am and see if I can get any info there.

Has anyone a contact URL or link or a number I can call to find out how to book/unlock the area? I am at the park till Friday.

I'd be most grateful if anyone could reply ASAP as I am only here till Friday morning.

Many thanks.
-= Planet Earth is my Studio =-

User avatar
lion queen
Forum Assistant
Forum Assistant
Posts: 12983
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 5:03 pm
Location: Upington RSA

Re: Golden Gate: Vulture restuarant

Unread postby lion queen » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:32 am

Hi Bwana Kidogo,

Have a look at Bushbuddies Trip report..........here

This was one of his postings in there

Bushbuddies wrote:It is a really nice hide. I know they've got a seperate section in the hide (behind a locked door) for photographers - where you have space in the windows through which to put your lens. But they ask you R150 per person. Now over the 4 days we were there - we never got any vultures. My plan was to wait untill we see the vultures then race down to Glen Reenen to quickly go pay for the key and return for some good shots! :tongue: All my shots were actually taken through the window on the "commoners" side... :tongue:
SANParks Online Fans..........Where passion is pride!

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough - Mae West

User avatar
Bwana_Kidogo
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2010 10:45 pm
Location: Gauteng, South Africa

Re: Golden Gate: Vulture restuarant

Unread postby Bwana_Kidogo » Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:21 pm

Hi Lion Queen,
Thanks for the reply!
On Wednesday afternoon I managed to speak with a SANParks receptionist/manageress Bhulani at the Glen Reenen Camp reception who was very helpful. She had solid info about the hide, feeding times, access and hire and very pleasant and helpful.

Suffices to say if you want access to the photographic side of the hide (where your lens is not behind a sheet of smokey glass as in the main viewing area) go to the Glen Reenen Camp reception (on the R712 just beyond the GGHNP Hotel heading toward the Basotho Cultural Village Rest Camp / Harrismith) and pay a R150-00 fee per person (max 4 @ R150-00 each or R600-00). You will then be given the key to access the photo area of the hide. As I understand it you can make use of the facility the entire day and return the key in the evening.

No electricity, no cell signal at the hide :D but there is signal at the parking lot (+/- 250m from hide) in case of emergencies. There is a decent clean toilet (long drop) with TP. No running water so make sure you bring your own water or wet wipes. A spare roll of TP if you are spending the entire day at the hide would make sense :shock:

If there are physically challenged/wheelchair bound people in your party then there is another key that unlocks a boom to allow one past the railings at the parking lot for wheelchair access. The interior of the hide will cater for a wheelchair although perhaps a bit tight through the multi-door area...

I am still on the road and will update as soon as I get my pictures offloaded.
Regards
BK

(ETA: Glen Reenen Camp details and contact numbers on this page.)
-= Planet Earth is my Studio =-

shortcourse
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2007 12:58 pm
Location: Pietermaritzburg

Re: Golden Gate: Vulture restuarant

Unread postby shortcourse » Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:34 am

Have just returned from a quick weekend trip to Golden Gate. Stopped by the vulture hide - the first thing we noted when we tried to open the door to the building were the flies!!! The wall was covered in flies so much so that we did not even manage to sneak in. Apparently this was also an issue at the recent trail run which was held there. I did have a look round the side to see whether there was any action - no birds / jackal unfortunately although there was an old carcass - the flies really need to be attended to somehow. Surely other vulture hides have similar issues which have been addressed already?

User avatar
HermanPienaar
Posts: 73
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:00 am

Re: Golden Gate: Vulture restuarant

Unread postby HermanPienaar » Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:02 pm

I was one of the lucky ones to spot the Bearded Vulture ans Southern Bold Ibis at Golden Gate vulture hide in Sept 2014. Didn't use the photo portholes - shoot straight through the glass.
http://oi59.tinypic.com/21nfy95.jpg
http://oi58.tinypic.com/2cmluvb.jpg
http://tinypic.com/usermedia.php?uo=adkBqYNLltuxfJYKOvcS%2Foh4l5k2TGxc
Have you saved a tree lately?
To protect wildlife means to civilize humans ...

User avatar
Bushbuddies
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1460
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:22 pm
Location: Centurion

Re: Golden Gate: Vulture restuarant

Unread postby Bushbuddies » Fri Feb 06, 2015 4:47 pm

Wow - lucky you HermanPienaar! :shock: :thumbs_up: :clap:

We'll be back in a Golden Gate in 2 weeks. Hope we can get such good sightings! :pray:
12 Dec 2015 - Twee Rivieren
13 Dec 2015 - Nossob
14-15 Dec 2015 - Grootkolk
16 Dec 2015 - Nossob
17-18 Dec 2015 - Mata Mata
19 Dec 2015 - Twee Rivieren


Return to “Northern Parks”