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Ken Borland

Kosi Bay 0

Posted on April 17, 2017 by Ken


The view over Kosi Bay estuary with the traditional fish traps

The view over Kosi Bay estuary with the traditional fish traps


The KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife camping site at Kosi Bay is situated in thick coastal forest close to the edge of the kuNhlange lake, the biggest of the four that make up the estuarine wonder at the remote north-eastern border of Natal.

Each camp site is secluded away amongst the mangroves, thereby providing ideal habitat – one of their favourite trees and close to water – for the special gem that is Blackthroated Wattle-Eye.

These busy little birds, that are somewhere between a flycatcher and a batis, are uncommon and easily overlooked, but they’re easier to spot when they pass through the trees in your campsite, as they did at Kosi Bay!

Other birds seen without having to venture far from the comfort of my camping chair were Pygmy Kingfisher (a pair had taken up residence on the road to the ablutions and were seen every day), Natal Robin, which was resident at my site and put on a superb performance of all its many calls, imitating tchagras, cuckoos, nightjars and even African Fish Eagle; Olive Sunbird, Squaretailed Drongo, Terrestrial Bulbul, whose presence I was alerted to by a loud tapping noise as it thumped a caterpillar on a branch; Goldentailed Woodpecker and Blackbellied Starling. I was also surprised to see African Hoopoe in such thick forest.

Kosi Bay is also home to an isolated population of the Red Bush Squirrel and there was an endearing family at my campsite, full of cuteness and a penchant for nibbling at my soap! Samango Monkeys kept to the treetops and were far more pleasant to live next to than their Vervet cousins.

Red Bush Squirrel

Red Bush Squirrel

One of the main attractions at Kosi Bay is the marvellous snorkelling that can be done at the Sanctuary Reef inside the mouth of the estuary. Unfortunately the tide was going out when I dived, meaning there was a strong current and with snorkellers encouraged not to put their feet down on the bottom due to the presence of Stonefish, it was hard work and not able to be maintained for very long.

Kosi Bay estuary - the mouth

Kosi Bay estuary – the mouth

Fortunately there is always birding to be done and there were several Common Tern on the bank of the estuary and the impressive Whimbrel was spotted coming over the sand dune as one approaches Sanctuary Reef. Even a Caspian Tern came flying over the aquarium-like waters.

Emeraldspotted Wood Dove were seen on the way down to the parking area.

Back at camp, a gentle stroll along the Samango Trail produced a pair of elegant Tambourine Dove and a pair of Brown Robin were also seen on a particularly thick, jungle-like portion of the trail, on the actual path. They are obviously not welcome in camp, presumably out-competed by the Natal Robin. Just to ram home the point, a Natal Robin pooed on the picture of a Brown Robin in the bird book I had left open in camp!

The trail also provides lovely elevated viewsites above the lake, with Purplecrested Lourie flying amongst the tall trees and Whitebreasted Cormorant flying, landing, diving and catching fish.

KuNhlange Lake itself boasted plenty of Pied Kingfisher, their lives made easier by the crystal-clear water, Yellow Weavers and African Pied Wagtail. A pair of Trumpeter Hornbill were seen in the morning flying over the 24.6km long lake and then again back across the water in the late afternoon, leading me to wonder if they were the same pair returning to the same perch?

The attractions at Kosi Bay are spread out over a large area, linked by confusing sandy tracks, and 4×4 and a local guide are essential.

The drive out to Black Rock, a promontory jutting out to sea, provided a pair of Whitefronted Plover on the landmark itself, while Gymnogene and Rufousnaped Lark were seen on the way there, along with Fantailed Widowbirds fluttering slowly about, in the grasslands that are around the Kosi Bay area.

Whitefronted Plover on Black Rock

Whitefronted Plover on Black Rock



Kosi Bay is at the north-eastern border of KwaZulu-Natal



Sightings List

Pygmy Kingfisher

Natal Robin

Olive Sunbird

Red Bush Squirrel

Blackthroated Wattle-Eye

African Hoopoe

Pied Kingfisher

Trumpeter Hornbill

Yellow Weaver

Squaretailed Drongo

Tambourine Dove

Purplecrested Lourie

Whitebreasted Cormorant

Terrestrial Bulbul

Southern Boubou

Goldentailed Woodpecker

Little Bee-Eater

Blackeyed Bulbul

Emeraldspotted Wood Dove

Common Tern

Fiscal Shrike

House Sparrow

Spectacled Weaver

Pied Crow

African Pied Wagtail

Blackbellied Starling

Samango Monkey

Familiar Chat

Lesser Striped Swallow

Common Myna

Blackheaded Heron


Hadeda Ibis

Rufousnaped Lark

Whitefronted Plover

Vervet Monkey

European Swallow

Redeyed Dove

Eastern Coastal Skink

Brown Robin


Caspian Tern

Yellowbilled Kite

Fantailed Widowbird


Border Bulldogs rolled over easily by Pumas 0

Posted on September 19, 2012 by Ken


The Border Bulldogs were rolled over easily as the Ford Pumas thumped them 41-10 (half-time 24-3) in their Absa Currie Cup First Division match at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday.

The scoreline certainly did not lie in terms of the Pumas’ dominance as their powerful pack took firm control in damp conditions and their backline had more pace and precision than their Bulldogs counterparts.

The bonus-point win maintained the Pumas’ challenge for top spot, although the EP Kings are still in prime positon with an eight-point lead over the Mpumalanga side with two rounds of league play remaining.

The Pumas took a little while to settle in front of 14 305 people at Mbombela Stadium, but they opened the scoring in the 15th minute as star fullback Coenie van Wyk crossed for a thrilling try.

Border flyhalf Reinhardt Gerber pulled three points back for the Bulldogs with a 22nd-minute penalty, but the rest of the half was a cruise for the Pumas as they comfortably adapted to the wet conditions, thanks to their gritty forwards.

Scrumhalf Shaun Venter, who sparked numerous attacks, went over for the Pumas’ second try two minutes later and centre and captain JW Jonker showed his experience as he glided over three minutes later.

The reliable boot of flyhalf Naas Olivier accounted for all three conversions and the well-travelled 30-year-old also kicked a penalty in the 34th minute to ensure the Pumas reached the break in firm control.

Olivier also began the second-half scoring with a penalty, stretching the lead to 27-3 and, just two minutes later, the Pumas quickly spread the ball wide and wing Wilhelm Loock, who gave a typically passionate display, crossed for the try.

Despite looking all at sea for the last half-hour, the Bulldogs did manage to score a try of their own through centre Neill Jacobs, with Gerber turning it into a seven-pointer with the conversion.

But the Pumas rounded-off an action-packed display as Venter punched his way through for his second try and Mpumalanga’s fifth overall.

The Punas will go into their last two round-robin games needing to make up ground on the Kings to qualify for a home final.

The crunch game is next Friday against the Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, with the Pumas then finishing the league section against the Griffons back at the Mbombela Stadium.


FORD PUMAS – Tries: Coenie van Wyk, Shaun Venter (2), JW Jonker, Wilhelm Loock. Conversions: Naas Olivier (4), Carl Bezuidenhout. Penalties: Olivier (2).

BORDER BULLDOGS – Try: Neill Jacobs. Conversion: Reinhardt Gerber. Penalty: Gerber.

Well-drilled Kings take control in 2nd half 0

Posted on September 10, 2012 by Ken

The well-drilled EP Kings were in firm control in the second half as they beat the Border Bulldogs 35-19 (half-time 10-6) in their Absa Currie Cup First Division match at the Buffalo City Municipal Stadium in East London on Friday.

Credit must be given to the Kings management for their effective game plan and for keeping the team focused after a frustrating first half.

The Kings, physically superior to the gutsy but outmatched Bulldogs, used their most effective weapon, the rolling maul, well as eighthman Cornell du Preez scored a hat-trick of tries from that tactic.

Du Preez benefited because the Kings were without the services of marquee player Luke Watson, but he was not missed as the sheer physicality and forward power of Eastern Province always gave them the edge over the Bulldogs.
The home side were reduced to surviving on scraps of possession and their banditry did bring them a fine try by eighthman Theunis Lambrechts and four penalties in a brave display.

Border scored first through a seventh-minute penalty by flyhalf Reinhardt Gerber and the Kings only opened their account in the 17th minute when flyhalf Wesley Dunlop slotted a penalty.

The Bulldogs had their best try-scoring chance of the first half six minutes later when an up-and-under by Quinton Crocker was brilliantly claimed by wing Chumani Booi, who then fed the fullback up in support. But Crocker decided to cut inside instead of heading for the tryline as powerful Samoan wing Paul Perez came charging across in cover defence, leading to a ruck and a penalty for Border, which Gerber missed.

By now the Kings were using their dominance in the collisions to good effect and Du Preez scored their first try after 10 phases of driving play. Dunlop converted and, although Gerber cut the deficit to 6-10 with another penalty, the excitement was still upcoming as Eastern Province finally hit fifth gear straight after half-time.

Dunlop, one of the people to relocate to Port Elizabeth in the wake of the Kings’ promotion to SuperRugby, kicked a penalty soon after the restart and the Bulldogs were immediately pinned back in their 22 and desperately trying to defend a series of forward drives that led to a couple of penalties. Border were unable to defend the rolling maul off the lineout and Du Preez had his second try in the 45th minute.

Strong running by Perez and centre Tiger Mangweni then displaced the Bulldogs defence in the 51st minute, leading to another Dunlop penalty (23-6).

But Border have their attacking routines well-rehearsed and a counter-attack allowed them to record their third penalty in the 57th minute, kicked by replacement flyhalf Jannie Myburgh.

Du Preez’s hat-trick try probably won’t make the season’s highlights reel as it came from yet another rolling maul, stretching the Eastern Province lead to 28-9 on the hour mark.

Bulldogs captain and flank Gareth Krause managed to latch on to the ball in a ruck and force a penalty, kicked by Myburgh, three minutes later, but the outcome was settled with the home side trailing 12-28.

The best two tries of the match followed in the last 13 minutes, with Mangweni scything through to add another try to his considerable album, before Border eighthman Lambrechts claimed a loose pass and then showed great deternination to grab his try, bouncing off Mangweni, eluding two other tacklers and then barging through replacement wing Siyanda Grey on his way over the line.

It was merely a consolation score for the Bulldogs but, to their credit, they showed little evidence of low morale after suffering their 11th successive defeat.


BORDER BULLDOGS – Try: Theunis Lambrechts. Conversion: Jannie Myburgh. Penalties: Reinhardt Gerber (2), Myburgh (2).

EP KINGS – Tries: Cornell du Preez (3), Tiger Mangweni. Conversions: Wesley Dunlop (3). Penalties: Dunlop (3).

Valke uphold finest traditions in hanging on 0

Posted on August 27, 2012 by Ken

The Valke hung on to beat the Border Bulldogs 38-36 (half-time 26-10) and uphold the finest traditions of Absa Currie Cup First Division rugby in their match at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park on Saturday.

The match between the two bottom teams on the log was a highly-entertaining affair and it ended with the Valke having stretched their lead over the winless Bulldogs to 12 points.

The Valke led throughout the match and always seemed in control, Border scoring three tries in the last 15 minutes to narrow the final scoreline from 38-17.

The Bulldogs battled to contain the powerful Valke pack and the home side’s forwards started superbly when they kept a rolling maul going long enough for eighthman Reg Muller to plunge over the tryline in the fifth minute.

The conversion from flyhalf Karlo Aspeling was good, but the Bulldogs were on the scoreboard 12 minutes later when flyhalf Jannie Myburgh kicked a penalty (7-3).

The Valke’s second try came via the pace of right wing Sandile Nqcobo, with the conversion from Aspeling stretching their lead to 14-3 in the 20th minute.

Elusive Border scrumhalf Lesley-Dean Luiter evaded the defence to score a try against the run of play in the 26th minute, converted by Myburgh (14-10), but the Valke then lay down the law with two more tries before half-time.

Replacement flank Jacques Alberts bashed his way over the line in the 34th minute, Aspeling missing the conversion. But the disappointment was only temporary as, moments later, fullback JW Bell was strolling over the tryline as well.

Aspeling’s conversion meant the Bulldogs started the second half with a 16-point deficit and they really needed to score first after the break.

But it was the Valke who grabbed the initiative and, nine minutes after half-time, Muller timed his supporting run to perfection and crossed for his second try.

Aspeling converted and now the Bulldogs were in dire straits with a 10-33 deficit.

Veteran Gareth Krause broke through the middle of the ruck from five metres out to rumble over for a converted try, but a sustained period of pressure in the Border half saw centre Hendrik Meyer score a try which gave the Eastern Gautengers a 38-17 lead.

With their whole bench now in action, the Bulldogs staged a gutsy fightback in the last 15 minutes. Replacement lock Tongs Nomani crashed over for a try in the shadow of the posts, converted by replacement flyhalf Reinhard Gerber.

Flank Brian Shabangu, who played very well to the ball the whole match, was then in support in the 75th minute to score the visitors’ bonus-point try and outside centre Ruan Jacobs closed the gap even further when he beat the defence with some nifty footwork to score the last try of the match.

Replacement wing Louis Kruger succeeded with the conversion so the Bulldogs could at least leave Kempton Park with some pride restored … and with two bonus points.



Valke – Tries: Reg Muller (2), Sandile Nqcobo, Jacques Alberts, JW Bell, Hendrik Meyer. Conversions: Karlo Aspeling (4).

Border Bulldogs – Tries: Lesley-Dean Luiter, Gareth Krause, Tongs Nomani, Brian Shabangu, Ruan Jacobs. Conversions: Jannie Myburgh, Reinhard Gerber (2), Louis Kruger. Penalty: Myburgh.

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