Lammergeier hide at Giants Castle

Lammergeier hide at Giants Castle

The Lammergeier hide at Giants Castle experience

Lammergeier hide at Giants CastleIf you are an eager bird photographer and you have not been there then Lammergeier hide at Giants Castle then this should be on the top of your “have to go to” lists. Not only will you get to photograph the highly endangered Bearded Vultures (Lammergeier) but you will also have excellent opportunities to capture fantastic images of Cape Vultures, Jackal Buzzards and a variety of other endangered species. Also if you are into photographing more than just birds, plan some extra time to stay there so you can take in some of the dramatic landscapes and hiking trails too. The Lammergeier at Giants Castle has become a prized destination for both local and international photographers and delivers across the board when it comes to spectacular bird photography.

Lammergeier hide at Giants Castle

Lammergeier hide at Giants CastleThe renowned Lammergeier Hide at Giants Castle is situated in the Giants Castle Nature Reserve, Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park. This vulture hide is open all year for visitors to watch and photograph the endangered species of bearded vultures and other endangered bird species. The Lammergeier hid at Giants Castle offers unsurpassed opportunities for bird photography and bird viewing.

Details of Giants Castle Vulture Hide

Cape vulture at Giants Castle Lammergeyer hideThe hide itself is small and comfortably accommodates 3 photographers although many photo groups and even tour operators continually try to squeeze in a fourth or even a fifth photographer. This is not advisable at all as the extra photographers will end up with a photography window that is not optimally positioned to getting the really good shots. Giants Castle Game Reserve is reached by good roads from Mooi River or from Estcourt that have recently been resurfaced. Charges are R260 per person per day, with a minimum charge of R780 (up to 3 people) for use of the hide. This fee includes one bucket of bones per day and extra bones “may” from time to time be purchased from the front desk should they have extra available. The park forbids people bringing in their own bones and meat as it is a risk to the endangered species of vulture who have no assurance of where you purchased the meat or if the meat is poisoned or tainted in any way.

What to take to the Lammergeier Hide at Giants castle

Lammergeier hide at Giants CastleIt is advisable for groups to ensure they have flasks of coffee, tea, cool drinks, food and snacks for the day as you will spend the entire day from before sunrise until sunset up there. There is no electricity in the hide and no ablutions either. Make sure all your batteries are fully charged and that you have ample memory cards as you will quickly run out of memory cards even on an average day’s shoot at Giants Castle.

Photographic equipment

Lammergeier hide at Giants CastleYou will need a minimum of a 200-400 mm lens, 400mm prime and if your budget can afford it a 600mm prime lens. Having two digital SLR camera bodies, one configured with a 200-400 mm lens and the second with a 600mm lens is probably the greatest combination you could hope for. Anything from a 12 Megapixel SLR camera and upwards is advisable.

How to book the Lammergeier hide

Lammergeier hide at Giants Castle

Access to the vulture hide is by 4×4 vehicle only, you must have your own 4×4 vehicle as the reserve no longer offers taking photographers up to the hide. It is advisable to book well in advance as it is a very popular photographic destination. Bookings are made through KZN Wildlife central reservations +27 (033) 845 1000 Being open all year round now there is spaces available from time to time. Often photographers book and cannot make the trip so you can also find pre-booked weekends for sale on local forums and photography sites.