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Re: Golden Gate Vulture restaurant & Hide

Golden Gate, Mapungubwe, Marakele
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Re: Golden Gate Vulture restaurant & Hide

Unread postby DinkyBird » Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:53 pm

It is not far to walk to it from the road. A bit of a climb that is all. And no booking needed as far as I know.

It would be a good idea to ask the reception when they will be laying out a carcass again, so you time your visit there to when one is put out.

I went when there was not a carcass out, and had good vulture sightings anyway.

This pic was taken from the Vulture restaurant back to where we had parked.
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Re: Golden Gate Vulture restuarant

Unread postby Boorgatspook » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:02 pm

And no booking needed as far as I know.

Correct - no booking needed

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Re: Golden Gate Vulture restuarant

Unread postby Boorgatspook » Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:58 pm

It's a open area and not fenced in. The post by Guinea Pig will give you a pretty good idea. Have a look here.

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Re: Golden Gate Vulture restuarant

Unread postby DinkyBird » Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:41 pm

You do just sit in the open, on the ridge (no seating or bird hide structure), and have a good view down over the plateau in front of you and on a clear day can see the Mont-aux-Sources.

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Golden Gate Vulture Restaurant, any info?

Unread postby RayK » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:49 pm

Hi Forumites,
I'll be staying at the Mountain Retreat at Golden Gate NP at the beginning of November and have read just about all the information available. What I do find most interesting is the Vulture Restaurant but very little info is to be had. Is it always supplied with a carcass or just upon occasion? Is it a long hike to reach? Nothing is for certain but if I had an outside chance to see a Bearded Vulture up close I'd gladly make the effort. Thanks for your help.

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Re: Golden Gate Vulture Restaurant, any info?

Unread postby DavenJan » Wed Apr 06, 2011 8:35 am

We were by the vulture restaurant in September, there were lots of bones but we didn't see any fresh carcasses. Perhaps you should contact the Golden Gate staff.
We were lucky enough to to see a Bearded Vulture fly by though. :D
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Re: Golden Gate Vulture Restaurant, any info?

Unread postby Morkel777 » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:44 am

excellent!

anyone know how far of a walk is it, and is it suitable for photography? (ie is there a hide, can I carry my lenses up there?)
Planning the next trip already...

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Re: Golden Gate Vulture Restaurant, any info?

Unread postby DuQues » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:58 am

The distance is minimal, just a few (20~30) meters from the road to the places where you can watch them.
The vertical distance however is about the same! :)
You can park your car in several places, and just slog up the ridge. It can be steep(ish) here and there, but even people with a cane can make it up if they choose their route well.

Now when you get on top continue a little to stay out of the wind and search for a good place to set up your tripod. You are going to need it, the distance is great!
You will need well over 400mm lenses, so bringing a teleconverter is really recommended.

As far as I know the carcasses are donated by the local butcher and a few donators.

Don't expect close-ups from the feeding birds. You can move down (love GG, you are allowed to walk anywhere! 8) ) but I don't know how restless the birds are. When I was there there was no carcass, so the vultures were just wheeling around.
To your right will be a sort of ravine, looking out towards the Basotho village, that is possibly a way better stop for photography.

And mind you, keep your camera ready and at the right setting all the time! When we were crawling up the mountain to the Retreat a lammergeier flew right over the car, at low height!
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Re: Golden Gate Vulture Restaurant, any info?

Unread postby DavenJan » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:08 am

The Vulture Restaurant is situated along the Oribi Loop (from which you gain access to the Highlands Retreat) it is on a hillside next to the road. I did not notice any hides.

Oops see Duco came up with more info. That's what happens when you work and post at the same time.
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Re: Golden Gate Vulture Restaurant, any info?

Unread postby Morkel777 » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:18 am

thanks DuQues and Davenjan...

Duco - I currently have a 1.4x TC with my 300 f2.8 on a 7D, giving me effectively 672mm focal length
I have been contemplating getting the new 2x TC-III which would make it 960mm effectively. Would you say I rather need the 2x? :huh:
Planning the next trip already...

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Re: Golden Gate Vulture Restaurant, any info?

Unread postby Guinea Pig » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:25 am

Eish, Morkel777 and Highlands Mountain Retreat! Already looking forward to your photo's!! :lol: 8)
On a quest to visit 9 new National Parks in October. :dance:

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Re: Golden Gate Vulture Restaurant, any info?

Unread postby DuQues » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:43 am

Found some which were in JPEG format:

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This is looking back towards the loop, and gives an indication of the slog:

Image

300 on the 7D, and 100-400 on the 40D would be my setup indeed. The colours of the 7D are way better, and you have more pixels you can crop away to gain a closer view.
The 40D is less fast focusing, but with the zoom you are more versatile while still being able to bridge quite a gap.
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Re: Golden Gate Vulture Restaurant, any info?

Unread postby DuQues » Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:36 am

For those who wonder what it says on the board, here is the text:

The vulture restaurant in Golden Gate National Park is part of the international vulture conservation program in Southern Africa. This developing project strives to establish breeding pairs of Cape vultures and Bearded vultures in the park.

Due to the generous donation of a cold storage unit by the Honorary Rangers Kwazulu-Natal region with assistence from Ben Booysen Pty a regular feeding programme can now be implemented.


Birders: be on the lookout for the Bald ibis too!
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Re: Golden Gate Vulture Restaurant, any info?

Unread postby DuQues » Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:19 pm

She is out & about at the moment, but I can give you a link to the 2009 vacation album.
I even have some panoramic photos there, easiest seen if you download them.
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Re: Golden Gate Vulture Restaurant, any info?

Unread postby Bart47 » Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:06 pm

I was there thursday, friday and yesterdaymorning. Golden Gate is a beautiful place but for wildlife there isn't that much to see. For landscaping one or two days is enough, it is not a big place.
For hiking it is an excellent place and then you can spent more days.

I looked for the vulture restaurant and found the trailhead with the sign but indeed no hides so photographing them real close will be impossible i guess unless you bring a portable hide like a tent.
It is not like that place in Giant's Castle wich i still have to go to. ...
But i think they will start feeding in may.
Don't know if it is allowed to bring your own meat for the vultures.


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