About Collywobbles Vulture Colony

The sheer cliffs of the Mbashe gorge in rural Mthatha, on the Mbashe River, play host to a colony of Cape vultures who have apparently lived and bred here since the late 1890s.

Did you know? The Cape vulture is the largest raptor in South Africa and classified as vulnerable by the IUCN, making it one of the most exciting species to spot.

The colony, in this far remote corner of the Transkei, has been known to support up to 300 breeding pairs (1989), but on average you will spot about 200 individuals across 13 separate cliffs where they build their nests, particularly on Main, mSikiti and Ledger cliffs. It is still a large colony and spectacular at that – the cliffs soaring up above you.

The vultures use the rural grasslands and woodland south of Mthatha, but rely on the high cliffs for breeding. The Cape vulture (listed as vulnerable) colony has probably survived here as long as it has because of its position in amongst the rural lanscape, south of Elliotdale.

Where the colony choose to live, in amongst the cliffs, the Mbashe River flows in a series of sharp, convoluted twists that is quite something to see. The area is beautiful; the scenery breathtaking. But to reach it takes a concerted effort.

The area is known as Collywobbles, and you will find the colony roughly 5 km from the Collywobbles store, which also stocks basic supplies. A bird hide, erected by the Amathole district municipality, is now unfortunately in ruins.

Include the Bawa Falls whilst in the area.

A visit to the vulture colony is best done en route to the Wild Coast or Dwesa Cebe Nature Reserve, from Mthatha. Make sure you have directions to the gorge as the route can be tricky. Consult the Peter Slingsby Wild Coast map for details.

Need to Know

WhereCollywobbles Vulture Colony, approximately 5 km from the Colleywobbles store, Mthatha, Wild Coast, Eastern Cape, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Mthatha Accommodation, Eastern Cape


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