Barn Swallow Viewing Site - Lake Victoria - Mount Moreland
Hilary Vickers, Tina Hatting , Prem Gurney
In 2005 the number of Barn Swallow watchers
arriving at Mount Moreland had grown at a noticeable rate. Angie Wilken
had a vision to establish a Barn Swallow viewing site, the Mount Moreland Conservancy approached Tongaat
Hulett with the suggestion, Mr Prem Gurney, Manager of Umdloti Estate, in conjunction with Nic Odendaal, Tongaat
Hulett environment, and Mr Paul Russell, Tongaat Hulett Regional Manager; Agriculture, indicated approval for
the project and would assist with initial earth works and bush steps.
By 2006 events became formalised, a sponsorship letter drafted and submitted to Tongaat Hulett
Agriculture; site identified; site visits undertaken; Conservancy signed a lease for the site; designs and wording
for signs submitted.
Excitement grew. How to publicise the Barn Swallow viewing site was the next challenge. A Return of
the Barn Swallows Festival was decided upon, a date set, mass organisation and media releases. See Barn Swallow site opening.
Starting at the bottom of the chosen plot opposite the main Village Green, Prem Gurney and his men
created a sizable clearing among some rocks, a terracing effect, exposing the reedbed at eye-level and providing an
opportunity to look upwards from under the swarming Barn Swallows. Once levelling was complete, hand work began
until we had decent platforms ready for the swallow watchers to enjoy their picnic and sundowners.
Overall a valued contribution to the village of Mount Moreland the larger community and tourism.
Once the initial site was created, officially opened and tried out for a six month season it was realised that the site was indeed too small, we never could have imagined that so many people would want to come and witness the massing of
the Barn Swallows on an evening.
Another plan was drafted for an extension to the site was proposed, this was once again approved by Tongaat Hulett
and more terracing was done to fulfil our request and need for the extra space required. Thank you Tongaat
The Mount Moreland Conservancy improve, maintain and manage the Barn Swallow Viewing site
constantly with donations received from sponsors and swallow watchers.