A bald ibis photo taken at Amohela ho Spitskop Country Retreat, Eastern Free State.
The top stunning photo, a bald ibis, strange, beautiful, colourful, was taken here on the Amohela ho Spitskop Country Retreat & Conservancy, in the Eastern Free State. These ancient and fabled birds are returning in numbers to the Eastern Free State, where they nest, among other, in great numbers at Semonkong in Lesotho, on the cliff edges above the Maletsunyana River. In recent years these birds of ancient lineage were listed as critically endangered largely due to loss of habitat and agricultural poisons. Both the habitat and poisons problem persists, but fortunately breeding colonies like the one at Semonkong are protected and we are seeing large numbers, up to 40 birds at a time in some cases, locally on farmland and open grassland.
It appears, at present, that the Amohela ho Spitskop Conservancy is the only registered African Conservancy contributing to the Convention on Biological Diversity ( CBD) along with our "big brothers" National Parks and Private Nature Reserves. We here at Amohela are hugely inspired by the World Communities growing commitment to sustainable development, a dramatic step forward in the conservation of biological diversity.
We are also proudly providing data for the IUCN ( International Union for the Conservation of Nature & Natural Resources) Red Data listing activity. This is the worlds most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of wild species. All critical to protecting the natural resources we need to survive in the future. With our passionate love of and desire to protect the native plants and herbs of this beautiful country, especially those occurring here in the Eastern Free State, the disturbance of the natural regenerative process and pure seeding of native species, particularly in fragile eco systems, has become of huge concern, not only to us but worldwide.
Here in the scenically stunning Eastern Free State it is now mid winter and the splashes of orange, yellow and russet of some of the Sersia's ( rhus) in particular the dentata, ( pictured above) quite spectacular in the Spitskop mountain and local ridges and koppies. Its a beautiful time to visit the Eastern Free State and our cosy self catering cottages as well as our dinner bed and breakfast garden cottages are special and inviting. Walks, hikes, birding, this time of the year just absolutely the best, and skies filled with stars at night spectacular.