Nature’s Rest – a birding experience:
This beautiful resort situated on the banks of a lagoon estuary in a sheltered valley less than 10km from East London. Leaving EL towards Port Alfred via the R72, you will travel for 2.8km before taking the turnoff to Cove Rock (signposted.) Travel for 4.2km on this road and you will see the entrance to your right.
“And a river runs through it”
The Zamnyana River cuts through the hills that encircle this jewel of a place, creating tall rocky cliffs and crystal clear pools below.
“It’s all for the birds”
The lagoon and surrounding reed beds can be explored by paddle boats and host a wealth of birds like Herons, Egrets, Night-Herons, Crakes, Ibis’s, Cormorants, Darters, Moorhens, Grebes, Plovers, Lapwings, Kingfishers, Whydahs, Bishops, Weavers, Warblers and so many more. The resident African Fish Eagle pair circles the sky above the lagoon and in summer Ospreys and Yellow-billed Kites join in the feast. African Harrier-Hawks provide for spectacular displays as they raid the Village Weavers’ (among other) nests while Long-crested – and Crowned Eagles, Jackal Buzzards and Sparrow-hawks enforces Nature’s rule of “survival of the fittest.”
The breeding pair of Spotted Eagle Owls offers clear views on the rocky ledge across the water and sometimes in the trees at one of the picnic sites – a mere 5m away from your lens. African Green Pigeons and Knysna Turaco’s offer close-up views when the fig trees next to the reception bear fruit. Nature’s Rest offers such a variety in habitat – you will not have a moment of boredom with your bino’s. Thrushes, Robins, Tits, Orioles, Sunbirds, Drongos, Flycatchers, White Eyes, Prinias (to name only a few) can be seen among the scrubs and bushes in and around the premises. You can reach the beach by following a mere 10-minute walk away, where you can find shore birds and – with some luck- also the odd offshore bird in flight. (Tip: get someone to accompany you to the beach because the walk away falls outside the protected fencing of the resort.)
Come summer and the place explodes with birds when all the migrants come to visit. Better book in advance as the resort is very popular in peak season. Don’t let it put you off though, because the birds are used to human traffic and won’t affect your sightings at all.
For the photographers among you, there are no rest at Nature’s Rest. Besides close encounters with the birds, there are so much more to snap at that you will fill one memory card after another. The macro photographer will get lost in a miniature world with an amazing variety of dragon flies, butterflies, spiders and all kinds of creepy crawlies. With enough patience you will witness the resident Water Monitor Lizard catching his prey.
You’ll want to wake up in a place like this. As with all good birding destinations, you will want to spend a couple of days, and their rates are reasonable enough for you to do just that.
Nature’s Rest offers 20 self-catering fully equipped rondawels (sleeping up to 5) and 35 caravan/camping sites on the river and lagoon’s edge. There are clean bathrooms, showers and toilets for the campers as well as a fully equipped scullery and an newly upgraded coin operated Laundromat.
Activities for the family include besides the paddle boats also table tennis, pool table, a volley ball court, swimming pool, trampoline and a playground for the kiddies.